The famous Manikarnika Temple on the banks of Bhagirathi was swept away by the swirling waters of the river in the wee hours on Friday even as fresh attempts were launched to trace Almora SDM Ajay Arora, who slipped off a makeshift bridge and fell into the Mandakini river.
Manikarnika Temple, a favourite destination for devotees during the month of 'Shravan' was swept away by the waters of Bhagirathi as incessant rains lashed Uttarkashi on Thursday night, officials said.
However, no one was hurt as the temple was empty at the time of the incident, its priest Suresh Shastri said.
The temple was built after the 1991 earthquake in Uttarkashi which had killed a large number of people.
As the weather slightly improved in Rudraprayag district, fresh attempts were launched to search for Arora with a 14-member team of trained PAC divers flown beyond Sonprayag to scour the Mandakini in a bid to look for him, district disaster management officer Meera Kaintura said.
NDRF personnel are also assisting in the search operation, she said.
A low-flying aerial recce over Mandakini conducted by Garhwal commissioner Subardhan, DIG Amit Sinha and Rudraprayag district magistrate Dilip Jawalkar had not yielded any results on Thursday, she said.
Police have been alerted and asked to comb the river close to the banks in search of the official who fell into the river while returning from the Himalayan shrine of Kedarnath to Garurchatti base camp on Wednesday afternoon.
The weather across Uttarakhand was generally cloudy with no fresh spell of rains, state disaster management and Mitigation Centre said.