Dehradun : The meticulous gold plating of the sanctum sanctorum of the revered Kedarnath temple was completed on Wednesday, a day before the shrine is to close for a six-month winter break on Thursday. The work was done around Diwali. Eigh teen ponies were used to carry 550 gold sheets to the shrine and 19 workers did the gold plating under the supervision of two senior officials of the Archaeological Survey of India ( ASI ).
The initial work — taking measurements, preparing the stone walls for fixing the gold sheets, etc – began about one – and – a – half months back.
Around a week ago, a six-member team from Roorkee-based Central Building Research Institute, IIT – Roorkee, and ASI inspected the shrine, and based on their recommendations, the gold fitting was done.
Incidentally, in 2017, the sanctum sanctorum walls were covered in silver, for which around 230 kg of the metal was used. In the initial phase of gold plating work, the silver plates were removed and the temple interior was cleaned. Thereafter, copper fitting was done to get the actual size of gold plates required. The surface area covered by gold is more than what was covered by silver.
Four pillars, Jalhari ( boundary wall on all four sides of the inner Shivling ), Chhatra ( canopy ), ceiling, and the interior wall of the sanctum sanctorum, were covered in gold.
Authorities didn’t reveal the exact quantity of gold used or money spent. About a week back, these gold sheets were brought from Delhi to Gaurikund under tight security. The entire gold has been donated by a person from Maharashtra whose identity has not been disclosed. Chairman of Shri Badrinath Kedarnath Temple Committee ( BKTC ) Ajendra Ajay ” At the time of gold fitting, two officers of ASI were present. “
The team and workers had to battle inclement weather conditions and altitude to get the work done on time. We appreciate their effort. ” In August, BKTC had sent a letter to the secretary of religious affairs in Uttarakhand, Hari Chand Semwal, seeking the government’s nod for gold coating of the temple interiors.
When work started, some priests opposed the move, saying it was against tradition and tampered with the centuries-old structure.