The gold-plating of the walls inside the sanctum sanctorum of the famed Kedarnath Temple in Uttarakhand is facing opposition from priests who feel it amounts to tampering with its centuries-old traditions.
Pilgrimage priests (teerth purohits) are not happy that the use of big drilling machines in the process is damaging the temple’s walls.
The four walls of the temple were covered with silver plates which have been removed to replace them with gold plates.
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The gold-plating of the temple’s walls is being done after a Shiva devotee from Maharashtra volunteered to make an offering of gold for the purpose and his proposal was accepted by the Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee with permission from the Uttarakhand state government.
“The gold plating is damaging the temple walls. Big drilling machines are being used for the purpose. We cannot tolerate this tampering with the centuries-old traditions of the temple,” a pilgrimage priest named Santosh Trivedi said in Kedarnath.
However, the priests are divided on the issue with some senior priests favouring the renovation work currently underway inside the temple’s sanctum sanctorum.
Senior priest at the temple Shrinivas Posti and former president of Kedar Sabha Mahesh Bagwadi said the temple is a major centre of Sanatan faith and gold plating of its walls is in keeping with the Hindu beliefs and traditions.
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The Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee (BKTC) president Ajendra Ajay said opposition to the gold plating of the temple walls is not justified as it is being done in accordance with the traditions without tampering with the original structure.
“Renovation and beautification of the temple from time to time is a normal practice. A handful of priests may oppose it but their representative bodies never opposed it. Decades ago the temple ceiling used to be made of grass and twigs. As the times changed it began to be made of stones and later of copper sheets,” he said.
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The BKTC president also termed the protest as part of “opposition propaganda”.
“Hindu temples all over the country are symbols of grandeur. Decorating Hindu deities with gold and jewellery have been part of our traditions. I see nothing wrong in covering the temple walls with gold plates,” Ajay said.
The BKTC took due permission from the state government before going ahead with the gold-plating of the temple walls, he said.
(With Agency inputs)