Snowfall, landslide disrupt yatra to Kedarnath, Badrinath shrines

Incessant snowfall since Monday night in Uttarakhand’s Kedarnath and Badrinath, coupled with rains and landslide in Lambagad disrupted pilgrimage to the Himalayan shrines, with the authorities preventing devotees from moving beyond Linchauli and Bhimbali.

However, as the weather cleared up towards the evening, the trek route to Kedarnath was opened for the devotees, Rudraprayag District Magistrate Mangesh Ghildiyal said.

Over, 4,000 pilgrims safely returned to Gaurikund by the trek route after paying obeisance at Kedarnath despite bad weather, he said, adding that over 400 pilgrims are still stranded at the shrine.

Nearly half a dozen Congressmen, including former chief minister Harish Rawat, the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Pradeep Tamta and local MLA Manoj Rawat were stranded at the shrine throughout the day as the weather was not conducive for flying choppers on which they were supposed to return, Rudraprayag SP Prahlad Meena told PTI.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat over phone to take a stock of the situation and offered all help in case of an emergency.

Continuous snowfall since morning at Kedarnath disrupted the yatra to the shrine for several hours. The pilgrims were asked to stay put at Linchauli and Bhimbali till the weather clears up, the SP said.?

The state disaster management authority here said snowfall at Badrinath has blocked the road at Kanchan Ganga.

Rubble from a landslide triggered by rains at Lambagad about 15 km from Badrinath kept the highway enroute the shrine blocked till 4 pm, with vehicles carrying pilgrims stranded on either side the boulders laying on the road, Chamoli district police said.

However, the route has now been opened and efforts are on to first let the vehicles stranded between Badrinath and Lambagad pass. After that vehicles, waiting in long queues near Joshimath, to go to Badrinath, will be allowed to move, it said.

The Rishikesh-Yamunotri national highway was also blocked by huge boulders falling from a hill at Dabarkot, leaving hundreds of pilgrims stranded for around four hours, a report from Uttarkashi said.?

Accompanied by supporters, Harish Rawat began his trek to the shrine on Sunday to pay obeisance to Lord Shiva and to test what he termed as the truth of BJP’s claims over reconstruction work carried out at Kedarpuri, the township around the temple.

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