New Delhi: Clearing of tonnes of debris from the Kedarnath shrine premises, badly hit by last month`s devastating floods, may still take some time as bad weather has prevented temple committee`s 15-member team, which is supposed to take part in cleaning operations, to reach there.
This may also delay the beginning of formal puja in the revered shrine, as it will take place after cleaning and sanctification of the premises.
"We have not been able to reach Kedarnath due to bad weather. Chopper operations are also stopped due to the fog," temple committee`s executive officer Anil Sharma told PTI over phone from Guptkashi.
The team was to reach Kedarnath a fortnight back to clean up the premises, after which sanctification and formal puja was to be performed.
"Right now, no one from the temple committee is there. PWD, NDRF and security forces are clearing the debris in Kedarnath. We are camping in Guptkashi." he said.
A 61-member team of PWD and police personnel was dispatched to Kedarnath yesterday to remove tonnes of debris lying there.
Kedarnath bore the maximum brunt in the floods and landslides triggered by the deluge in the hill state on June 16.
The 8th century temple and the sanctum sanctorum, however, are safe.
"We will clean the temple premises within a week after reaching there. All the bodies have been removed but debris are still there. As soon as the cleaning work is over, there will be sanctification puja under the guidance of temple priests," Sharma said.
There are reports that the state government is now
exploring ways to reach the Kedarnath temple on foot via the 30-km-long Chaumasi-Kalimath route. The road from Gaurikund to Kedarnath via Rambara was washed away in the floods.
"If such a way is found, we are prepared to march on foot also. We want the puja to begin as soon as possible," Sharma said.
Meanwhile Gangadhar Acharya, priest of Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath, has denied reports in some section of the media that the Kedarnath puja will be performed in Doleshwar Mahadev temple in Bhaktapur, Nepal.
"These are baseless reports. Puja will be performed in the Kedarnath (premises) only once the sanctification is done. There was a puja in the Nepal temple but that was for those who have died in Kedarnath, so that their soul may rest in peace," Acharya said from Ukhimath.
He said that the idols of deities Shankar, Parvati, Ganesh, Bhairav and Shaligram have been brought from Kedarnath and it has been a tradition to bring them down during winters.
When asked about the security of valuable idols and ornaments of deities, Sharma said that security forces are taking care of that.
"We had requested state government for the security of idols and other assets of the temple, and security forces have been entrusted with this responsibility." Acharya said.