Kedarnath, Sept 11 (ANI): Three months after ravaging floods left over 400 people dead in Uttarakhand and its adjoining areas, a grand puja marked the re-opening of the historic Kedarnath Temple on Wednesday.
Chief priest Rawal Bhima Shankar Ling Shivacharya unlocked the portals of the temple and stepped into the sanctum-sanctorum to perform the puja at 7 a.m.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, who was also scheduled to attend the prayers along with some of his ministerial colleagues, could not take off from Dehradun due to rough weather.
The Puja began with a 'shuddhikaran' (purification) of the temple and 'prayashchitikaran' (atonement for prolonged suspension of prayers at the shrine).
However, the resumption of prayers at the shrine is of a limited nature, as no pilgrim is being allowed to visit the temple.
A meeting is scheduled to be held on September 30 to decide the date for the resumption of the yatra to the famous Himalayan temple.
In June 2013, a multi-day cloudburst centered in Uttarakhand, especially in the hill districts of Rudraprayag, Urttarakashi, Chamoli and Pittoragrh, caused the devastating floods and landslides in what has been described as the country's worst natural disaster since December 26, 2004 tsunami.
As of July 16, 2013, according to figures provided by the Uttarakhand Government, more than 5,700 people were "presumed dead." This total included 934 locals.
Pilgrimage centres in the region, including Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, the hallowed Hindu Chardham (four sites) pilgrimage centers, which are visited by thousands of devotees, were also heavily damaged by the natural calamity. (ANI)