Archaeological Survey recovers 40 original stones of Kedarnath temple

Archaeological Survey recovers 40 original stones of Kedarnath temple

Archaeological Survey recovers 40 original stones of Kedarnath temple

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) restoration team has retrieved more than 40 original architectural stones of the Kedarnath temple washed away in last year’s flash floods in Uttarakhand.

“Some of these original architecture members (stones) were recovered from the spots located more than a kilometre away from the temple. These original stones will be reused during restoration of the temple complex,” Culture Ministry sources told Deccan Herald.

As of now, the work force has been deployed in removing debris at the site. The temple restoration team, which resumed the work after reopening of the Himalayan shrine in May this year, has so far managed to remove nearly 10,417 cubic feet debris from the western side, despite bad weather.

Removal of debris is on from the northern side and the rear of the temple, sources added. The ASI has also brought 25 stone carvers from Rajasthan for cutting and carving to size locally available gneiss stone, the material used in the construction of the temple.

“Carving and cutting of these locally available stones are a tough task because of its hardness. Sometimes chisels don’t work on them,” sources said. The major works that the ASI has targeted to complete by October 20 this year includes packing of the stones, matching their original profile and design wherever it is missing and furnishing wooden flooring within Mandapa inside the temple.

Cleaning the temple’s interior and exterior, preserving its stone surfaces as well as repairing its steps and stone plinth are other works the ASI would undertake. Once the rain is over, the ASI will start work to stop seepage from the temple walls.

A systematic scanning of roof joints will be conducted to plug all holes and loose joints to ensure that there is no leakage inside the temple.

“The ASI will start sealing of the joints at the temple to stop seepage once the rain is over. We have to complete this task by October 20 as the temple will then be closed,” sources said.

Scientific cleaning of the walls, columns and ceiling inside Garbhagriha of the temple, which is almost complete, has revealed 16 donatory inscriptions on the walls and columns inside the temple.

A team of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai, is conducting a scientific probe at the Kedarnath temple to assess the impact of the flash floods on the temple’s foundation.

The ASI would begin work on strengthening the foundation based on the team’s observations and recommendations.

“They are yet to give their report. Most probably, the ASI will take up foundation strengthening work, if required,  next year when the temple reopens,” sources said.