Puja at the Kedarnath temple is set to resume on September 11. However, the yatra to the battered shrine would not resume this season.
A decision on the resumption of puja was taken at a meeting of the Kedarnath-Badrinath Temple Committee, the governing body of the two shrines, on Friday. The meeting was presided by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna.
The state government has already prepared a blueprint for resuming the puja at Kedarnath and restoring the pristine glory of the shrine, located in the Garhwal Himalayas, at a height of 3,583 metres above sea level.
Last month, the government had signed a memorandum of understanding with Engineering Project India to clear debris and extricate dead bodies from the Kedarnath area.
For this, Engineering Project India, considered to have expertise in excavation, would depute 500 trained personnel, along with heavy equipment.
Though bad weather has hampered the exercise so far, the process of clearing the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine has been completed.
Ganesh Godiyal, chairman of the temple committee, said the yatra to the Kedarnath shrine wasn’t possible this season. The yatra was suspended after flash floods in the region on June 16-17 led to widespread devastation.
"For starting the pilgrimage to Kedarnath, you need road connectivity, hotels, water and electricity supply and other essential infrastructure facilities. For rebuilding all those facilities, you need time," Godiyal said.
The government has set a September 30 deadline to resume pilgrimages to the shrines of Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Godiyal added that the government would think of resuming the pilgrimage to Kedarnath in the next season, starting April-May 2014.
The Kedarnath shrine remains snowbound during the winter, during which the puja is held at Ukhimath in Rudraprayag district.
Senior government officials said the government, along with the army and the Uttarakhand Space Application Centre, was trying to find alternate routes to the Kedarnath shrine. Plans are afoot to restore road connectivity between Gaurikund and Kedarnath. Restoring basic infrastructure facilities may take two to three years.