IEP Dehradun September 17
A section of Teerth Purohits have strongly objected to the Badrinath Kedarnath Temple Committee (BKTC) fixing gold plating on a portion of the wall in the Garbh Grah (sanctum sanctorum) in Kedarnath temple. Alleging that this is against religious beliefs and amounts to tampering with ancient traditions, they have threatened to undertake an agitation if the gold plating is fixed on the walls of the sanctum sanctorum. On the other hand, the BKTC has stated that talk of the sanctum sanctorum being tampered with are part of the opposition’s propaganda. He said that traditions and religious beliefs are being honoured while fixing the gold plating donated by a devotee. For this purpose, the silver plating that was fixed in 2017 has been removed from portions of the wall. The Teerth Purohits in Kedarnath have objected to gold being coated on a portion of the walls, four pillars and other items inside the shrine. President of Kedarnath Teerth Purohit Samaj Vinod Prasad Shukla said that Kedarnath temple dates back to the Mahabharat era but its traditional aspects are being tampered with now. He said that there is no need to decorate the temple with gold as this shrine is a place for salvation and not opulence. Teerth Purohit Santosh Trivedi said that god is also believed to reside in the four pillars inside the temple, However, powered drills are being used to bore holes inside the sanctum sanctorum. “Kedarnath is Mokshdham and Kaliyug is known to be present in gold so placing gold inside the shrine places Kaliyug in the sanctum sanctorum. Such actions will not be allowed in the shrine,” he said. Meanwhile, BKTC chairman Ajendra Ajay said that the advice of archaeological experts, religious beliefs and traditions are being followed in the work of gold plating in the Garbh Grah of the temple. On the proposal of a devotee from Maharashtra, the BKTC got permission from the State government for gold plating inside the shrine. The silver plating installed earlier has been removed and only minimal additional work will be required to fix the gold plating. Terming objections to this step as baseless, he said that religious beliefs and traditions are not being tampered with for this. He said that Hindu temples have been a symbol of grandeur since ancient times. “Those objecting to the gold plating being fixed in the Garbh Grah in Kedarnath are citing the scriptures to spread some misleading facts on social media. Necessary changes in religious sites are natural with time. Till some decades ago, the roof of Kedarnath was made from grass and straw called Khadu in local language. Some fields were also allocated for growing khadu for the temple’s roof. With time the thatched roof was replaced by stone slabs which were replaced by tin shed which in turn was replaced by copper sheets,” said Ajay.