Nature & Wildlife

After floods, mainstay of religious tourism in danger of drowning


The earth movers on the banks of the Assiganga, a medium-sized stream flowing into the Bhagirathi (the major tributary of the Ganga) never rested after monsoon 2012. The scenic Assiganga valley, popular with nature lovers, became scarred forever on August 3, 2012. A freak cloudburst (sudden intense local precipitation usually lasting less than an hour) swelled the Assiganga a thousand-fold, obliterated the village of Sangamchatti, and came within inches of tearing into the large town of Uttarkashi, one of the hubs of the Chota Char-Dham Yatra (Yamunotri-Gangotri-Kedarnath-Badrinath). The valley, when visited in early summer 2013, resembled a moonscape, with vehicles having to crawl through the devastation to reach the three buildings still standing at Sangamchatti. Now, nothing remains of the meagre recovery by the earth movers, and it looks like the event was just the teaser before the big opening.

While 2012 saw an isolated cloudburst, monsoon 2013 marked its early entry into Uttarakhand around June 14-15 with a devastating spell of very heavy rainfall in less than 48 hours. Official data on how much rained in the higher altitudes are not available; however, the state capital recorded 340 mm in a 24 hours.

Full report here Business Standard

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