TriNetra Online

Disaster in Uttarakhand in Pics

The devastating flash floods in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have left a tale of devastation behind with damaged properties and dead bodies. The northern parts of Uttarakhand have been particularly ravaged by the floods. More than 62,000 pilgrims and tourists are still stranded in the calamity-hit state. While 11,000 have been rescued, over 150 people have been reported dead.

Kedarnath temple in the district of Rudraprayag in Uttarakhand, one of the Char ( four ) holy dhams for Hindus, has been one of the worst hit in the flash floods. According to reports, while the temple is safe, the outer compound has been damaged and the town around the temple has suffered massive losses as it felt the full force of the rising waters. The shrine, situated at an altitude of 3593 metres (11760 feet) in Rudraprayag district, is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and among the most revered Hindu pilgrimage sites visited by thousands of devotees every year during the Char Dham Yatra undergoing at the time when the floods hit. Thousands of pilgrims who were attending the trek are believed to be stranded and according to the IAF, Kedarnath remains the worst hit area in the floods.

It is believed that Kedarnath has been named in honour of King Kedar, who ruled in the Satya Yuga. The land is around the temple is named Vrindavan in honour of King Kedar’s daughter. There’s also a legend that says this is the temple where the Pandavas finally found Lord Shiva in order to seek forgiveness for the sin of killing their cousins. The Kedarnath temple shrine is thousands of years old.

The lingam or shivling at Kedarnath unlike the usual form is pyramidal and is regarded as one of the 12 Jyotirlings. Kedarnath is highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas. The trek to Kedarnath can only be made by foot or you can take a helicopter service.

The major cause of devastation of Kedarnath town is said to be the breaking of the Kedar Dome, a glacier-like body that led to a rupture in the Charbari lake reservoir. The town is located near the Chorabari Glacier, which forms the head of the Mandakini river. This closeness to the glacier also made it the worst hit due to the incessant rains which eventually led to the flash floods.

Carrying photographs, people are running from one hospital to other in Dehradun, in desperation to get some news about their relatives and friends as their patience ran thin due to passage of almost a week since the tragedy struck in Uttarakhand.

Family members and friends of those, who are stranded or missing in the hill state, have come to Dehradun and are desperately searching hospitals and camps to get some news about their loved ones. Another man alleged apathy on part of the government officials and said that “priority is being given to foreigners while Indians are left behind to die”.

“My children have been stranded there for the last eight days without food and water. They are borrowing phones to call us, but we are helpless. Authorities are doing nothing, foreigners are being given priority in rescue and relief work while Indians are being left behind to die of hunger,” he said. “No Uttarakhand officials or any public representatives have reached here. No credible information has been given to us by anyone or from anywhere,” he added.
Another youth whose relatives are stranded in Gourikund said that his relatives told him that around 2,500 people are stuck there with them.
“I can’t understand why despite unprecedented devastation, the tragedy has not been declared a national calamity so far. 2,500 people are stranded in Gourikund with my relatives and it’s impossible to evacuate them at the current rate as one chopper is bringing just 10-15 people at a time. Government should press in more helicopters immediately,” he said.
Sharan, who along with his family was rescued from Badrinath and brought to Chamouli relief camp yesterday, said, “The situation is pathetic. Had the army not been there we had no chance of coming back ever. I reached there on 15th and that’s the time the rain started pouring in.”

“Till June 18, by the time army stepped in, we had no information. We were told that roads will be cleared in two days but the army came and told us that roads cannot be cleared for 30 days at least. That came as a shocker to me,” he said.

Meanwhile, the ruling party Congress on Friday evaded queries about party vice-president Rahul Gandhi's absence at a time a major tragedy has struck Uttarakhand, saying the top leadership, including chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, were monitoring the relief and rescue operations in the flood-hit hill state. As the state of Uttarakhand lies ravaged by nature's fury, there are reports that the Chief Minister of the Congress ruled state Vijay Bahuguna could be flying to Switzerland next week.

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