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Priests worried over threat to Gangotri, Yamunotri temples
Ajay Ramola
Tribune News Service

Mussoorie, June 17
Away from all the attention being focused on the temple towns of Kedarnath and Badrinath, temples at Yamunotri and Gangotri, which compete the ‘char dham’ pilgrimage, are facing a serious risk.

The damaged ghats in front of the Yamunotri temple; and (right) debris in Bhairon Jap Nullah adjacent to the Gangotri temple.

The damaged ghats in front of the Yamunotri temple; and (right) debris in Bhairon Jap Nullah adjacent to the Gangotri temple. Photos: Abhyudya Kotnala

The temple committee and priests say a disaster waiting to happen. Cracks have appeared on Kalindi Parvat just above the Yamunotri temple triggering landslides. Boulders hitting the main structure of the temple are giving anxious moments to priests and devotees, says Purshotam Uniyal a priest at the Yamunotri temple.

The situation in Gangotri is the same. The temple here is facing persistent threat from the rubble in the Bhairon Jap nullah. Priests here are staying overnight during the yatra.

“The Yamunotri temple is facing a double threat — debris falling on the structure from Kalindi Parvat and the exposed ghats of the river due to last year’s flashfloods,” secretary of the Yamunotri temple committee Purshotam Uniyal said.

“Landslides on Kalindi Parvat and boulders hitting the temple since 2004 have weakened its structure. The Yamuna has also changed its course posing a threat to the temple’s foundation,” added. Purshotam Uniyal.

He said the administration has failed to install a railing that was damaged during floods last year. The danger of Yamunotri temple being washed away is imminent if the sidewall to prevent the river from entering the temple is not constructed, added Uniyal.

Harish Semwal, a temple priest at Gangotri, said rainwater enters the temple complex due to the expansion of the Bhairon Jhap nullah. In winter, snow covers the temple resulting in cracks in the main structure. The Bhairon Jhap nullah is full of debris due to last year floods posing a threat to the shrine, he added.

The road across the temple near Kedar Ganga and the bridge over it were damaged during last year’s flood leading to massive erosion on the embankments of the Ganga.

Harish Semwal said that years of rains and snow have resulted in cracks on the temple structure. Though the temple has been repaired, adequate measures are needed to protect the shrine from all sides, added Semwal.

“We are left at the mercy of Goddess Ganga every time it rains,” said another priest at the temple, Suresh Semwal.

Uttarakhand Urban Development Minister Preetam Singh Panwar, who is also Yamunotri MLA, said: “The assessment of the damage has been done and officials have been instructed to start restoration work. There is no dearth of funds for such projects with Gangotri and Yamunotri being the mainstay of the economy.”

Hemkunt Sahib yatra picks up
Pilgrimage to Hemkunt Sahib Gurdwara is picking up. Shri Hemkunt Sahib Management Trust has been able to clear the debris that had covered the gurdwara at Govind Ghat. The Trust has also started the community kitchen (langar) for devotees at Govind Ghat. The shrine was damaged during flashfloods last year. "The process of stocking food has been completed," said Sewa Singh, head sewadar, Shri Hemkunt Sahib Management Trust. He said arrangements had been made for around 6,000 pilgrims for their stay the Govind Ghat gurdwara.





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