Saturday, 22 June 2013


Shankaracharya samadhi swept away

Shankaracharya samadhi swept away
Punishing rains lashed the Kedarnath temple complex and the surrounding areas all through Sunday.

Ravi Bhatt, a 34-year old priest at the eight century AD Kedarnath temple, recounts his encounter with fear, terror and death to TOI's Pankaj Doval.

Punishing rains lashed the Kedarnath temple complex and the surrounding areas all through Sunday. But at night, the downpour got fiercer. Around 8.15pm, we heard a loud bang followed by screams of terrified people. We could also hear the angry gush of the swollen Mandakini river. It was as if the mountains around us were falling apart.

I briefly stepped out of my room which is located in a complex at the back of the Kedarnath temple. I saw people running for their lives. The eighth century samadhi of Adiguru Shankaracharya couldn't withstand the nature's fury. Two statues of Shankaracharya, a sphatik linga and a Hanuman statue were swept away. What remains are just some remants of the structure. Several nearby ashrams were also washed away. We ran inside the temple complex to save ourselves. Around a dozen of us took shelter there till mid night. After that I walked to a senior priest's room located outside the compound.

The next morning was far more terrible. I came to the temple complex and saw bodies strewn all around. Some were being eaten by dogs and vultures. Every thing around the temple had been destroyed. I managed to call my family around 6.15am and tell them that I was alive. The destruction started again at 6.55am as gallons of river water began gushing down the mountains. The Mandakini was swallowing nearby areas.

People were again running around in extreme desperation. I was among the hundreds of helpless people running around, asking for help as water enveloped everything around. Many of them were just swept away or crushed under boulders hurtling down the mountains. Almost everything in the area was reduced to ruins, except the main temple structure which houses the divine Shivling. It was like witnessing a zalzala (an earthquake), or more accurately, Lord Shiva's tandava or dance of death.

I fled to a nearby double storeyed house. But when it appeared to be collapsing, I scampered towards the near by Bhairon temple. I jumped into a stream that locals call the Saraswati river. I waded through the ice-cold water for almost 2-3 minutes. At that point, I thought it all was over for me. But then, somehow I gathered strength, managed to cross the river, crossed to the other side and reached the Bhairon temple. Some good Samaritans helped me reach a helipad near the Bhairon valley where we were airlifted and rescued by an army helicopter on June 18.

Now as I recuperate in my village near Rudrapryag, which has also faced the wrath of nature, only one thought keeps hovering in my mind: "Who will take care of my Lord Shiva in the temple? Who will light the diya? Who will offer the bhog to the Lord?"

From The Time Of India

No comments: