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After 16 June cloudburst: Hemkunt Sahib shrine now closed for the season

June 22, 2013 | By

Chandigarh/Punjab (June 22, 2013): It is learnt that after the June 16 cloudburst, the Hemkunt Sahib shrine has been closed for the current season. Hemkunt Sahib is located at a height of 15,200 feet in Chamoli district of Uttrakhand. As per media reports the Hemkunt trust managing gurdwara at Hemkunt took this decision on June 21.

According to a news reproted by Hindustan Times (HT): “[a] trust member told HT over the phone that the scale of damage on the way to the shrine is so severe that it may not be possible for the shrine to open even in the next season. It is for the first time in 50 years that the shine was shut in between the season since 1960s when the pilgrims started visiting the shrine every year”.

It is notable that Hemkunt Sahib is opened for pilgrims every year for four months from June 1 to October 5. The Hemkunt shrine has not suffered any damage but Gurdwara Gobind Ghat on way to Hemkunt Sahib has suffered severe damage and needs reconstruction.

“Saroops of Guru Granth Sahib would be brought down and a few sewadars and other staff members would also come back soon,” treasurer of Hemkunt Sahib trust Madan Mohan Singh Chawla reportedly told HT, adding that there were no pilgrims in the Hemkunt Sahib Gurdwara.

Gobind Ghat gurdwara, 23-km downstream, has been devastated after the Alaknanda river caused damage to the gurdwara. Serais, parking lots, main bridge and roads leading to Gobind Ghat gurdwara were damaged. The local authorities were yet to start the work to reconstruct and repair the damages.

“At present, the priority is to evacuate stranded pilgrims, then to recover bodies and then clear debris and start re-construction,” a trust member reproted said.

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