CHIKMAGALUR: Heavy rains, coupled with hailstones and strong gales, lashed Balehonnur and surrounding areas on Saturday evening, damaging several buildings of Srimad Rambhapuri Mahasamsthanam Mutt. The loss is estimated at `50 lakh.
Dark clouds gathered around the town in the afternoon, followed by thunder, lightning and strong winds. The intensity of the gale was such that it swept away roof sheets of the Gadduge (cemetery) where 15 pontiffs were laid to rest. Zinc sheets, reapers and beams were blown to a distance of 200 yards and strewn all over the Mutt premises and adjoining fields. The roof of the Sivananda Jyothi Yatri Nivas had also collapsed and walls of some buildings caved in. Roofing tiles on the staff quarters and front of Sri Mutt were blown away by the strong winds.
Public relation officer of the Mutt Prabhudev Kalmatha told Express over phone that such strong winds was unprecedented and it was a providential escape for people as they had remained indoors. Luckily, there were no causalities. Sri Veerasomeshwara Shivacharya Swamiji, head of the Srimad Rambhapuri Mahasamsthanam Mutt, is on a tour of North Karnataka. The whole of the Mutt has plunged into darkness due to power failure, which may take two days to restore. On Sunday afternoon, too rains lashed Malnad but Chikmagalur experienced light showers.