With the Kedarnath temple premises in Uttarakhand cleared of all dead bodies, shrine authorities are preparing to clean the area and conduct sanctification process, hoping to resume formal pujas after about two weeks.
Kedarnath bore the brunt of floods and landslides triggered by the deluge in the hill state on June 16 although the temple, stated to have been built in the 8th century, and the Shivling are safe.
A ten-member team of temple committee members will reach Kedarnath on Friday to clean the premises after which sanctification and formal pujas will be performed.
"The formal puja under the guidance of priests has not begun as of now. We have to clean the debris first and for that the temple committee is sending a new 10-member team, led by Anil Sharma, executive officer Kedarnath, tomorrow by helicopter," Ganesh Godiyal, president of Badrinath Kedarnath temple committee and MLA from Srinagar, said.
Godiyal, who will be reaching the shrine on Saturday, said all the dead bodies have been removed from temple premises.
"Shiv Ling has gone down about 1.5 feet but is intact. There is no harm to the Ling or any other idol. Temple staff and NDRF removed some debris from there but a lot remains to be done," he said.
He also said that many of the temple staff have gone missing since the tragedy and therefore a new team had to be constituted.
"Many of our staff are missing since the calamity and we have formed a new team now that includes executive officers and temple engineers," he added.
"As soon as the cleaning work is over, there will be sanctification puja under the guidance of Shankaracharyaji and Rawalji( Bhim Shankar Ling Shivacharya, chief priest Kedarnath). Cleaning will take 15 days," Godiyal said.
When asked about media reports that pujas have been resumed at the temple, he clarified it is not the formal ritual.
"No puja is being performed in the presence of temple priests. People who survived after the disaster are just offering flowers...and incense sticks," he said.
Bagesh Ling, the head priest at Kedarnath, said thatno puja can be performed before sanctification of the temple.
"Sanctification is must as we have seen dead bodies lying in the temple premises. No puja can be performed before it.
We have brought the movable idols in Ukhimath which we normally do during winter. Shivling is there and proper puja will be performed after sanctification," said Ling, who was present inside the Kedarnath temple on the fateful day and had a miraculous escape from the gushing waters which claimed many lives.