Uttarkashi: Nature`s fury has devastated the once serene region encompassing the majestic Kedarnath temple, which has been submerged in about 10 feet of debris, turning the area into a ghost town, but the sanctum sanctorum and the shrine bell are safe.
The temple, though seemingly resilient from outside, bore the brunt of the rampaging flood waters as its ground floor is almost completely submerged below slush.
Where pilgrims once sat and sang devotional hymns and offered `aartis` at the 8th century shrine devoted to Lord Shiva, dead bodies are now strewn around in a maudlin manner.
The temple bell, the `Shiv Ling` and other idols are safe but under several feet of mud and silt, officials said on Sunday.
What was once a spot for devotees to seek the Almighty`s blessings has now become a washed-out river bed, with mud and silt covering practically every surface and submerging nearby buildings and structures under layers of debris.
The floods destroyed buildings and reduced many of them to rubble, with many feared still buried under debris.
Noting that Kedarnath town has suffered the worst damage, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has said, "It`s very tragic that so many people have died in this calamity. It will take a long time to rebuild Uttarakhand."
There will be no Kedarnath Yatra for at least next two years, he said.
"It will take another 15 days for the rescue teams to evacuate flood victims as the roads leading to the affected areas have been damaged badly," Bahuguna said on Friday.