In Uttarakhand, a pilgrimage of horrors

On 14 June, when constable Kuldeep Singh Mehra of the Uttarakhand Armed Police reached Kedarnath, teeming crowds of pilgrims had taken up every inch of space in the temple town. The lodges were bursting, and the tide of people going up the 14km trek route—by foot, horse, mule or on the back of porters—was relentless. In season, 10,000-12,000 people visit the area every day.

Mehra, 27, squat, square-jawed and with large forearms, was back in service after a month’s holiday to celebrate the birth of his first baby. That night he called his wife, heard his baby crying, and went to sleep content.

The next morning, when the first rains fell, Mehra was pleased—it would offer some respite from the push-and-shove of the pilgrims, cool things down a little, perhaps even stem the flow of yatris.

Full report here Mint


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