Monday, 1 June 2015

Kedarnath Door Opening Ceremony 2015 – Part 2

Bus is going upward through a narrow road between thick jungle.  On the way, I saw few parts of huge and historical Chandrapurgadi King’s palace. Many small settlements coming on the way and temperature are still down. Adi Badri is another settlement, which is famous for historical and ancient temple. It’s chilly here. Passenger sitting next to me says - This is coldest area. Only few days ago it was a snowfall here. Soon bus reaches Karnprayag, which is confluence of River Bhagirathi and River Alaknanda.  River Alaknanda is vast and huge rapid’s river…

Karnpryag is pilgrim city. Old Karnprayag has remained sign of traditional time like traditional market, traditional house, traditional roads but New Karnprayg is combo of concrete jungle and bursting traffic. Through the beautiful and warm road bus reach Rudraprayag in 2 hours and I walk 1 km. for bus station. After finishing lunch, I get share taxi for Vishnuprayag. 70 years Wrinkle faced, baldhead man sitting next to me. He start saying– I come here every year for door opening ceremony. I want to know about devastating fled flesh year 2013. He says – I was not here but my known family was witnessed that. Road going along with river Alaknanda and I can see the fled marks, which are showing velocity and volume of fled. All huge constructions near to river have been vanished and river level came up because of silt. I reach Vishnuprayag in 3 hours. Here it’s drizzling, which is increasing wrinkles on my face. Here again I ask bus for Gaurikud. Vishnuprayag is main Pilgrimage city but locals are not seeing excited. I go to teashop and wait for taxi. Teashop guy tells me – we are not yet interested in pilgrimage but let see how it goes in May and June…

I get bus for Saptakund after long wait. Shanta is my co passenger. I ask her – why not locals are showing interest in pilgrimage ?  She replies adjusting her bag – all are still in trauma of 2013 fled flesh. We are still struggling for our lives. Many families have lost everything in fled. Many people are still lost. Houses, lands, and shops everything has destroyed badly. However, Government gave some relief but that was not enough to reestablish. Light drizzle makes people terrified though they are recovering but it will take time.  Her voice start trembling and she keeps silence. I also left her with her silence…


I would have to walk 6 km from Saptkund to Gaurikund but police officer stops me to go due to security and safety reasons. When I explain I am journalist he let me go but before leave, I had to make biometric card. Meanwhile procession of goddess comes from village, which will also move to Kedarnath on 23rd.  I start walking and now River Mandakini and labors, working on road, are accompanying me. Though Mandakini is very calm and slow river but that fled night river become horrible. One labor says –Human bodies, animal bodies, cars, buses, mud & stones were flowing in water. River changed the direction and swallow whatever and whoever come in front of her way.  Awful scenario. I even don’t want to talk about it. Don’t Know how many bodies are beneath this road. He back to his work and I starts walk…




Huge JBC machines and workers are working hard to make journey possible. Walking along with river, I reach Gaurikund in 2.30 hours. Crashed buildings debris welcomes me here. I can visualize where would have been water level that day. Apart from these, Gaurikund amazed me because I was thinking here I will get pile of debris only and would have to spend night in tent but 15-16 year old boy surprise me to ask if I want hotel. Hotel room astonish me again coz room is decorated with double bed, one table, two chairs, TV in corner and charging plugs. Bathroom is also clean and comfortable. Just opposite from Gairsain hotel. I take bath with hot water, which needed badly. After getting fresh, I went to Goddess Gauri Temple. Temple is anciently architect with white walls, blue wooden windows and doors…



 I met an old man who works in hotel. My straight question to him -  Are you here that fled night ? Yes. I was here that night. My son called me, who was at Kedarnath, and said – Its heavy rain here. All buildings have been damage and water coming down vigorously along with mud and stones. Go to safe places. I alerted all in hotel and went to upward. One family, whom I alert, has husband wife been in room but kids were outside. Husband left her wife in room and went to search kids but when I saw after few days wife has been dead in room. Thousands of Dead bodies were all around. He stops after this. Few minutes later, he smile and says – I am lucky my son back to home safely. He invites me to attend temple worship at 6. I went to see natural hot water pond known as Gaurikund but this also has been vanished. River Mandakini change direction in opposite side. Huge buildings are now heap of debris. Don’t know how many bodies are under my foot. This thought is killing me. I goes to market where again I can see the fled marks in broken shutters and walls. Many shops are still closed. Man sitting here says - Road had been damaged so we have walk till Gaurikund for every little thing…



Around 6 P.M. I reach temple where priest has start worship. Ringing bells echoing inside tiny dark room and aroma of sandal is all over. Priest has oil lamp in his hand which he moving circularly. This went till 20 minutes and then priest gives me flower petals as blessings.  I went to tea-shop where 19-20 years old guy welcomes me. He serves tea and says - you are only girl whom I am looking here in this season. Are you alone ? You are not scarring here alone? Reply his questions I ask him – are you here that fled night ? No. I was not here but when I back, I was shocked to see everything. Debris was all over. My shop had damaged and filled with silt and three dead bodies. It was difficult for me to clean everything. Bodies spoiled badly so not able to recognize them and who are alive, was surviving for the life coz nothing remain to eat. We get food from village to help them as much as possible but our village was also suffering from shortage of food and government was nowhere to help us…

Heartbreaking stories are coming one by one. I back to hotel and sit in verandah till late night. I am still thinking about moments, which made Kedarnath into a ghostly place. Suddenly sounds of new film songs hit my eardrums. I saw men and women are dancing and enjoying a marriage party. This brings me back into life. It feels good that people are enjoying their life in this ghostly place. Suddenly I feel hunger coz I haven’t eat anything since morning. After dinner, I back to room and lie down…

Continue… 

20 comments:

  1. Well done Vineeta, and I love the woman chiseling a stone, fantastic.

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  2. Thanks for the wonderful travelogue. Another thanks for sharing these beautiful photos. You have brought in front of my eyes the devastation caused in 2013. I feel very sorry for those people.

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  3. The beautiful pictures tell a tragic story...

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  4. I am fascinated by your reportage and amazed by the beautiful images. My compliments for your great and unusual blog!

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    1. Thanks for your motivating Comment VP

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  5. That looks like a beautiful place but the devastation is amazing. We had terrible floods in my state a couple of years ago, wiping towns off the map.

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    1. This sort of scenarios are always heartbreaking AL...

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  6. You are a great storyteller and the images are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  7. What a remarkable post. Its an incredible story.

    Stewart M - Melbourne

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  8. Very well written. Thanks for showing us the current status of the area.

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  9. Local costumes are so colourful and beautiful.

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  10. Well written and pic too. Thank you

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