NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 14, 2013 (New Kerala): The thoughtful construction style of the Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand saved the 11th century structure from any serious damage during last month’s devastating floods, says an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) official, adding that a barrier would be constructed to protect the shrine from any future calamity.
“The safety of the structure despite this calamity is because of its orientation and style of construction. The domes of the temple are interlocked with each other using iron clamps; that is why they are intact. Only loose and cracked stones of the temple have come out,” B.R. Mani, ASI additional director general, told IANS in an interview.
“Another aspect of this temple is its north-south orientation. Mostly temples face east or west. But this temple is facing south, which is a rare phenomenon. It may be possible that in the 11th century the people had thought of the stones rolling down from the north or such calamity; hence they structured it like this,” he added.
The “Himalayan tsunami” last month killed hundreds of people and thousands are missing. Thousands of houses were uprooted, hundreds of bridges and roads washed away or destroyed in landslides and gushing rivers. Amidst this devastation, Mani says, on a scale of hundred the temple is 99 percent safe.
Standing majestically tall at an altitude of 13,000 feet above sea level, the Kedarnath temple has been built in the Rekha-Sikhara style with three different horizontal divisions. Despite the fact that the Kedarnath temple doesn’t come under ASI-protected sites, due to the religious sentiments attached with this holy shrine, restoration has been entrusted to them.
“Conservation is a slow process. It is not rebuilding a structure but it is conserving the structure as per the original. For that we have to use the same material to keep it close to the original. We would also be using more iron than mortar,” Mani pointed out.