Dehradun/Kedarnath: As the clock stuck seven on Wednesday morning, the chief priest of Kedarnath stepped into the sanctum-sanctorum of the 6th century shrine to resume prayers, 86 days after ravaging floods destroyed the temple town and left hundreds dead.
Amid chanting of Vedic hymns and blowing of conch shells, Rawal Bhima Shankar Ling Shivacharya led team of 25-30 priests first carried out “shuddikaran” (purification) and “prayashchitikaran” (atonement for prolonged suspension of prayers at the shrine) and then resumed the prayers as per rituals associated with Kedarnath shrine.
After the deathly silence of 86 days, positive energy reverberated through the Kedar valley even as it remained enveloped in thick fog since morning.
September 11 was chosen as the date to resume prayers as todays “Sarwartha Siddi Yog” was considered to be auspicious.
Due to inclement weather condition, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, who was also scheduled to attend the prayers, could not take off from Dehradun. However, his ministerial colleague Harak Singh Rawat is present at Kedarnath.
A large number of media teams, which had to come to cover the ceremony, are stuck in Guptkashi, some 22 kilometres, due to bad weather.
However, the resumption of prayers at the 13,500 ft-high shrine is of limited nature, as no pilgrim is being allowed right now to visit the temple.
A meeting is scheduled to be held on September 30 to decide the date for resumption of Yatra to the famed Himalayan temple.
Prayers at the shrine were suspended after the flash floods wreaked havoc in Uttarakhand, especially in the hill districts of Rudraprayag, Urttarakashi, Chamoli and Pittoragrh, leading to the death of over 600 people as per official figures, and leaving more than 4,000 missing.