New Delhi: A team of experts of Archaeological Survey of India has found that the north eastern outer wall of the sanctum sanctorum of Kedarnath temple was slightly damaged at some places.
"The northeastern outer wall of the sanctum sanctorum has some damage," Additional Director General of ASI, B R Mani said.
"Also, there is minor damage at places where stones struck the temple structure. It is more visible at either side of the eastern, western and southern entrances of the mandap (a structure inside temple)," he said.
The five-member team headed by Janhwij Sharma, Director (Conservation) of ASI, studied the structure on August 2 and 3 along with representatives of Geological Survey of India (GSI) to assess the damage to the structure after the June calamity in Uttarakhand.
"Now, that the spot assessment is done, restoration work is all set to begin soon," Mani said.
"There are challenges like weather. However, the work will start soon. The government of Uttarakhand has to facilitate logistics. Men and material have to be moved," Mani said.
On allocation of funds, he said the Union Ministry of Culture has to allocate it. "We are preparing the estimate," he said.
Mani said a few sculptures were found during inspection after debris and silt were removed from the temple premises.
"Since this temple is not a protected monument, we will not be in a position to say if any sculptures are missing. We need to cross-check if they were previously documented. If yes, we can verify and come to a conclusion."
On the role of GSI, he said the geology experts studied the foundation, the type of soil and construction, and if the moraine and stone deposits had to be removed. "They will give opinion on these factors."
Asked if the "divine" rock at the rear side of the temple would be removed, Mani said, "It depends on the GSI`s opinion. Their opinion is important."
"Now, it is part of history. If it helps in preserving the temple, let it be there. It is evident that the huge boulder, which is 10 feet high and little over 30 feet in length prevented the flow of moraine and floods into the temple premises. It acted as a barrier.
"However, I cannot say if it is a divine rock or not. It is for the devotees to decide," he said. Mani said it has been corroborated that the Ishaan temple was washed away in the floods.
Asked if the temple structure could withstand floods and earthquakes in future, he said the place of worship had withstood the fury of nature since the 11th century.
In July, rains had stalled relief operations and the removal of debris in Kedarnath. During the preliminary assessment in July, ASI officials had ruled out threat to the structural stability of Kedarnath temple.
A month after the calamity hit Uttarakhand, the state government had prepared a road map for clearing tonnes of debris left over by the destruction at Kedarnath temple.
The government had recently announced that regular prayers at Kedarnath shrine, which were suspended after the natural calamity in June, will be resumed on September 11.