DEHRADUN: Discontent is simmering among priests at Kedarnath who said that they would hold a protest and fast every Monday against what they called was “distortion of the original Vasthu (architecture) of the temple” by officials of the Kedarnath Redevelopment Authority. The priests said that officials have changed the basic architecture of the temple’s entrance by increasing the length and breadth of the nine stairs which are symbolic of nine planets in astrology. The stairs were widened as part of the Kedarnath redevelopment project, which is being personally monitored by PM Narendra Modi.
The priests are now demanding that the stairs be restored to their original state. Of the 100 priests at the ancient temple, 30 will go on protest each Monday and will not perform puja at the temple for devotees, who are referred to as ‘yajman’. This is likely to cause inconvenience to pilgrims on Char Dham yatra, for many of whom the visit is incomplete without a special puja at the shrine. At present, the average daily footfall at the shrine is over 6,500 devotees each day.
The priests claimed that the original architectural design of the stairs offered a view of the temple gates at every step but the new steps have been built at an angle which distorts that view.“Based on the concept of nine planets in astrology, the original architecture had nine stairs built in a distinct style. They have been lengthened, widened and rebuilt at a different angle which has changed the view of the temple from the stairs,” said senior priest Raj Kumar Tiwari.
The priests are also upset at a 100m flat surface being converted into several stairs that lead up to the shrine. “There was no need to convert the flat path into stairs. It is difficult for elderly pilgrims to climb the stairs. The architecture of the access route to the temple should not have been changed so radically,” said another priest Anil Bahuguna.
Kedarnath MLA Manoj Rawat claimed that the Kedarnath Redevelopment Authority failed to consult local stakeholders on any renovation that was carried out. All decisions about the redevelopment works were taken by the authority. I wrote to the state government about this but it fell on deaf ears,” the legislator said. Rawat added that the state government has also not fulfilled its promise of giving land and houses to priests who lost their property in 2013 flash floods.The state government, however, said that local representatives were consulted before work was carried out in Kedar Valley.
State government spokesperson Madan Kaushik told TOI, “The government has consulted priests on all matters and redevelopment work in the region was started only after they were informed.”
Courtesy : Times of India