Panic grips pilgrims as avalanche stops short of Kedarnath temple

The avalanche persisted for an extended duration. Nonetheless, avalanches are not unusual on this mountain and occur at regular intervals.
Snow comes down a cliff during an avalanche after a glacier broke down as devotees offer prayers at Kedarnath dham, in Rudraprayag district, Sunday, June 30, 2024.
Snow comes down a cliff during an avalanche after a glacier broke down as devotees offer prayers at Kedarnath dham, in Rudraprayag district, Sunday, June 30, 2024.Photo | PTI

DEHRADUN: A massive avalanche hit the Gandhi Sarovar located four kilometres above the Kedarnath Dham early Sunday morning. Devotees who went to the temple this morning captured the avalanche, which occurred around 5 am near the Chorabari glacier, on their mobile phones. According to the information available, no damage of any kind occurred from this avalanche, even though avalanches occasionally occur on this snowy peak.

Environmentalists are expressing concerns about this avalanche incident from an environmental perspective regarding the fragile ecosystem of the Himalayas.

The District Disaster Management Officer of Rudraprayag, Nandan Singh Rajwar, shared information received from Sector Officer Kedarnath with this daily, stating, “On Sunday morning around 5:03 am, an avalanche occurred near Gandhi Sarovar on the mountain behind the Kedarnath shrine. The snow from the mountain came down quite a bit, although the distance of this avalanche from the temple to the summit of Sumeru mountain near Gandhi Sarovar was about 5 kilometers.”

As per reports from the Rudraprayag District Disaster Management Office, following the avalanche incident, snow began cascading down the mountain, creating a commotion in Kedarnath. The avalanche persisted for an extended duration. Nonetheless, avalanches are not unusual on this mountain and occur at regular intervals.

Snow comes down a cliff during an avalanche after a glacier broke down as devotees offer prayers at Kedarnath dham, in Rudraprayag district, Sunday, June 30, 2024.
Massive avalanche hits Gandhi Sarovar in Kedarnath

Speaking to the newspaper, environmentalist Jagat Singh Jungli expressed deep concern regarding the incident, emphasising the importance of addressing the ongoing occurrences in the Himalayan region. He highlighted that these incidents are a direct result of construction activities and frequent helicopter flights in the area. Jungli stressed the urgent need to take proactive measures to safeguard the Himalayan region before irreversible damage is done.

Referring to scientific data, Jungli told this newspaper, “Helicopter flights cause significant damage to glaciers, and such incidents are on the rise in the Himalayan region.” It is fortunate that there was no loss of life or property, but the emission of heli-fuel and companies operating helicopters in this area are destroying the plant wealth of this region.”

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