An 11-member team travelling from Kalady to Kedarnath with the aim of reconstructing Shankaracharya’s samadhi mandir

Months after Adi Shankaracharya’s samadhi mandir near the holy Kedarnath temple got swept away in the devastating flash floods in Uttarakhand last year, a group of spiritual exponents have embarked on a nationwide journey in a bid to reconstruct the structure.

The New Delhi-based Faith Foundation started its journey from Kalady in Kerala, the birthplace of Adi Shankara, on February 14 with the aim of reaching Kedarnath on June 16, the day the tragedy rocked the Himalayan region last year.

‘Mission Kalady to Kedar,’ a road journey touching holy centres associated with Adi Shankara, including Jammu and Kashmir and Assam in India and Pashupati Nath in Nepal, will collect holy soil for the recreation of the Shankara Samadhi Sthal and re-installation of two idols with spiritual dignity, Col. (Retd.) H. Ashok Kini, who heads the 11-member team, told The Hindu during a visit to the Nithyananda Ashram here as part of the mission.

Ahead of planning their journey, the team members had last year visited the four Maths (monasteries) — Sringeri Sharda Math in Karnataka, Govardhana Math in Odisha, Jyotirmath in Uttarakhand, and Dwarka Math in Gujarat — set up by Shankaracharya.

They also met the Chief Ministers of Uttarakhand and Kerala twice to brief them about their travel plans, Col. Kini said, adding that the leaders had lauded their initiative.

“Our endeavour is to accord a spiritual touch to the Samadhi Sthal and support the Uttarakhand government initiative by giving assistance to rebuild a befitting memorial for the great sage of our nation and create awareness of resuming the pilgrimage to help contribute towards the State’s economy, which relies on pilgrim tourism,” Col. Kini, who was part of the IPKF operations in Sri Lanka and took part in the Kargil war, said.

“We should give due importance to the planning of the entire Himalayan region by involving scientists, environmentalists, and spiritual leaders, and invest money in such a way that takes care of both the pilgrimage and the tourism,” Col. Kini, who hails from Kanhangad, said.

The team was arranging visits to schools and colleges during the journey to impress upon the students the need to plant at least one sapling on their birthday, besides delving into the philosophy of Adi Shankara, Col. Kini, who was former comptroller of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, said.

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