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Old 1st July 2013, 09:44   #31
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Default Re: To Yamunotri & Gangotri: Witnessed Landslides, Cloudburst, Floods & Traffic Jams

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Originally Posted by himadrimondal View Post
The decisions to hurry back, cover as much distance as possible, forecasting a threat coming with technologies at hand, all added to your safe return.
Thanks himadrimondal. Travelling to such remote places with family , one needs to plan for contingencies. It has been a habit since long to track weather when on hills. Also i make sure to interact with locals and taxi wala just to keep you updated. It has its on advantages as well as disadvantages too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace F355 View Post
V&V sir, it was distressing to know your travel timings and it is equally heartening to know that you and your family have made it back safe. The scale of destruction in that state due to Mother Nature's fury is so vast that it can't even be explained in words. I had my family visiting UK this month and they returned home on 16th June. Really sad to see those thousands who could't, on time!

I have donated some amount I could afford to UK CM Relief Fund and hope UK people kick back with Normal life ASAP and the help reaches the needy as quickly as possible.
God Bless.
Thanks Rohit. Its a long way ahead for UK people to get back. Still they are reaching to villages which are cutoff since 16th. Lets hope the funds donated actually reaches the affected families.
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Old 1st July 2013, 15:30   #32
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Default Re: To Yamunotri & Gangotri: Witnessed Landslides, Cloudburst, Floods & Traffic Jams

That was a close shave and happy to note everyone in your family is safe. I was driving down from Nainital to Delhi on Saturday 15th noon. Clouds had enveloped the entire town and good 10 kilometers after it. Not that rains are unusual in hills, but what I was witnessing was something I never saw on hills before. It was too thick and too persistent. As if the entire town has gone up in white smoke.. nothing visible not even the bumper of the car in front. It would be in next 24 hours that I would know why I was getting such an uncomfortable feeling.

I had kept an extra day to extend our stay and go further up in uttarakhand in my initial plan, but for some reason decided against it and checked out from the hotel on Saturday itself while wife kept asking what is the rush tomorrow is a Sunday. It was that uneasiness that suddenly engulfed me on Saturday morning and I ,despite the sorrow on the faces of wife and kids, decided to climb down. Divine intervention you would say?

Last edited by New.Novice : 1st July 2013 at 15:31.
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Old 2nd July 2013, 17:11   #33
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Default Re: To Yamunotri & Gangotri: Witnessed Landslides, Cloudburst, Floods & Traffic Jams

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Originally Posted by New.Novice View Post
I had kept an extra day to extend our stay and go further up in uttarakhand in my initial plan, but for some reason decided against it and checked out from the hotel on Saturday itself while wife kept asking what is the rush tomorrow is a Sunday. It was that uneasiness that suddenly engulfed me on Saturday morning and I ,despite the sorrow on the faces of wife and kids, decided to climb down. Divine intervention you would say?
Thanks New.Novice. It was good that you drove back on 15th. Had you been there for a day more , then you would have been struck in massive jam on Sunday. You were really lucky. Ya like divine intervention or an intuition that something bad is going to happen.


Continuing with the log..

Day - 4 - 16 June - Sunday - At hotel Shivlinga - Uttarkashi


We all got up late , Gangotri drive was tiring both mentally and physically. I could hear the roar of Bhagirathi river and was also raining. Went to the balcony and was taken aback by the swollen river. It doubled its size what we saw on Saturday morning. There was a small canal besides the room, it too was overflowing. I knew it had rained heavily overnight. We were still unaware of the disaster happened , i told wify we need to checkout by 11 so that we reach Rishikesh by evening, hence get packing.

View from Balcony. Bhagirathi was just half on Saturday morning"
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Hotel view. We were on the other block which was even more nearer to river
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I took the camera and went to the other side to take pics. The moment i was there i was shaken by this house which was on the verge of collapse. I distinctly remembered that this house was a good 10 feet away from the river there was a small garden and 3-4 tree in-front.

Took some pics, i could see the soil eroding and people were still evacuating their luggage. Took some pic and went back to the room.

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By the time the boy who came to serve tea told "Sir ji baad aa gayi hai. Gangotri me badal phata kal raat ko. Raste band ho gaye hai". Still i did take it seriously i thought it would be again some minor landslide like the yesterday one.

After about 40 minutes we went to the restaurant, i told manager about checkout by 11, he laughed and said " Kidhar Jayange checkout karke ?, Uttarkashi to cutoff ho gaya hai.." Minimum 10 days you all are stuck here.

There has been heavy damages right from Gangori (which is about 2.5 kms from hotel), Maneri(15kms), Batwari(30kms), Harsil and Gangotri. Also the roads towards Rishikesh has been damaged at many places. Also told the bridge in the town which connects to the other side of the river and the road goes to Kedarnath too has been washed away. Many houses and hotels too has been washed away yesterday night.



He also added , there is no power since 11.30 pm yesterday, dont expect it for another 4-5 days as many poles has been uprooted. Fuel sales has been stopped (Only one pump on Town) and finally "Aap log to hotel me safe ho, Hazaroo log raste ma phase huai hai". "Wait kariye jab thak road nahi kuhalte"

it was a sinking feeling hearing all these. I knew what he is saying is true then we are stuck here. I was still not ready to believe it. Still insisted for bill and went to restaurant for breakfast.

Last edited by v&v : 2nd July 2013 at 17:17.
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Old 2nd July 2013, 18:35   #34
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Default Re: To Yamunotri & Gangotri: Witnessed Landslides, Cloudburst, Floods & Traffic Jams

V&V, Thanks for a wonderful narration of the trip with beautiful photos. I really feel as if i am witnessing the disaster in person through your photos and experience. Keep it coming .
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Old 3rd July 2013, 09:37   #35
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Default Re: To Yamunotri & Gangotri: Witnessed Landslides, Cloudburst, Floods & Traffic Jams

As i entered the restaurant, it was full with tourist and buffet breakfast was set. I asked one of the waiters why buffet ? He said Sir Ji , Ab se fixed menu khana hi milega. Pata nahie kitne din aapko yaha rehna pade". Bijili, Pani aur dejal nahi mil raha hai". It was so frustrating that i didn't say anything. Every one there was discussing the same topic. Some of the was watching the building which could fall any time.

While having breakfast, i came to know from other tourist that Maneri had landslide at about 8.30 pm on Saturday. So the road was closed since then. By 11 the roads at Gangori washed away which is about 3 kms from our hotel.

Now i was trying to accept the news around me. I also met a Dr family who were in adjacent room. They too looked very worried lot. They had been here on trekking trip to Dayara bugyal. They could not leave on Saturday due to landslide at Dharasu. He had some local contacts and confirmed that its bad and we are stuck here for at-least 3 days for sure.

Some more pic i took on sunday morning..

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There were about 30-35 tourist in the hotel. Two groups were on their way to Gangotri and got stuck here. One set was from Delhi & other from Karnataka. 3rd Group was from Gujarat , they were on their way to Kedarnath. Had to travel on Sunday.

I tried 1077 (Disaster control), 108 (emergency) and the local police station numbers just to find out what the exact situation. None of the three numbers were answered. I decided once the rain stops , i will visit the local PS and find out.

In the mean while my son who was watching the house on the opposite bank called me , Dad "Ghar girne wala hai..." , I rushed to the window, before i could focus , portion of the house plunged into the river. I felt so sad, it takes a man life to build a home & i saw it getting swept away in matter of hours.

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Last edited by v&v : 3rd July 2013 at 09:46.
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Old 3rd July 2013, 12:56   #36
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Default Re: To Yamunotri & Gangotri: Witnessed Landslides, Cloudburst, Floods & Traffic Jams

My God! Going by the pictures, you were in the middle of the destruction and really lucky to have come back all in one piece.

Great.

Regards,
Manjunath
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Old 3rd July 2013, 16:26   #37
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Default Re: To Yamunotri & Gangotri: Witnessed Landslides, Cloudburst, Floods & Traffic Jams

Whoa!, Will you be posting the next few shots of the falling house ?
How sad. Pray that these people recover soon.

Candid pictures anyway sir.
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Old 3rd July 2013, 18:40   #38
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Default Re: To Yamunotri & Gangotri: Witnessed Landslides, Cloudburst, Floods & Traffic Jams

As there was nothing else to do we all were at the restaurant and that house has become everyone attention. I could see the soil eroding further. I knew the whole house will be swept away soon.

After about 2 hours the entire structure started trembling. I had never seen such a horrific scene live. Could capture the tragic scene.

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After this incident i was feeling very low. I was praying for the other two houses to be safe. Slowly every one started dispersing. We too went to our room. I was getting a little nervous with the developments around. It was raining continuously and water in Bhagirathi was still rising , what will happen if the breaches the bank in our side too. Only we and Dr family were in the other building and it was quite close to the river bank. We both request the manager to shift us to the main building. He promised will do it by evening.

Further we all were stuck in our rooms for the whole day. Evening we shifted to main building. Also parked our vehicles on the road instead of their parking. Another day passed on.

Last edited by v&v : 3rd July 2013 at 18:43.
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Old 3rd July 2013, 19:31   #39
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Default Re: To Yamunotri & Gangotri: Witnessed Landslides, Cloudburst, Floods & Traffic Jams

Vinod, those pictures are shocking.
And to witness this devastation could have taken a huge toll on you, words can't describe.
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Old 3rd July 2013, 20:29   #40
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Default Re: To Yamunotri & Gangotri: Witnessed Landslides, Cloudburst, Floods & Traffic Jams

V&V - It is heartening to know your family and you are back safe and unhurt.

My heart goes out to all those who lost their lives or near and dear ones.

...And the last set of pictures which capture the house collapsing... well, a picture always says a thousand words!! Can't combat nature's fury
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Old 4th July 2013, 09:54   #41
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Default Re: To Yamunotri & Gangotri: Witnessed Landslides, Cloudburst, Floods & Traffic Jams

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Originally Posted by laluks View Post
Vinod, those pictures are shocking.
And to witness this devastation could have taken a huge toll on you, words can't describe.
True laluks, i was very edgy seeing these thing happening all of a sudden. Luckily the weather post Sunday evening started improving and we were able to know the extent of damage was a big relief.

Had it been the other-way, then i would have looked at desperate measures like chartering helicopter for airlifting to Dehradun leaving our safari behind. If fact Sunday evening, the hotel manager had informed that helicopter service is available for 2.5 L for 4 persons to Dehradun.

Luckily non of these measures were required.
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Old 4th July 2013, 12:03   #42
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Default Re: To Yamunotri & Gangotri: Witnessed Landslides, Cloudburst, Floods & Traffic Jams

Day 5 - Monday - 17 June - Hotel Shivlinga , Uttarkashi

Got up lazily as noting was there to do. It was cold outside as i went to the balcony. The rain has stopped or rather shoud say slight drizzel was there. Sky was clearing up. Water level was still the same or rather felt as if it has started receding. The best thing both the houses were still intact. What i could understand is the debris altered the flow which saved both the houses.

To Yamunotri & Gangotri: Witnessed Landslides, Cloudburst, Floods & Traffic Jams-img_5513.jpg

To Yamunotri & Gangotri: Witnessed Landslides, Cloudburst, Floods & Traffic Jams-img_5515.jpg


As usual we all were at the restaurant by 09:30 am. Now the news from other parts of UK started trickling in. We also came to know that there has been landslide at Kedarnath too. Many people are stranded on this route too. Still we were unaware of the scale of damage there.

After our breakfast we decided to visit Uttarkash Town (which is 1 kms from hotel), Check diesel availability as i had only little above half tank, inquire status at local police station and also checkout the extent of damage in town area. We left around 11ish , it was still drizzling. Picked up 2 umbrellas from hotel.

Roads were flooded , there were multiple mini waterfalls all around. Traffic was almost nil.

About Vishwanath Temple

Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva , i was told by pujari ji that its a swayambhoo Linga. There is a reference of this temple in Skandapurana. The temple also has a huge trishul opposite to main temple which is about 12 to 15 feet. The entire area was very calm and was feeling very nice visiting. Prayed and spent about 30 minutes in the temple.


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As police station was nearby we walked leaving safari at temple to get update on situation. Only two police constable were present and rest were on patrolling. Got feedback that it would take a minimum of 4 to 7 days for restoration work. BRO was working on the roads but progress was slow due to rain. He also told there was a landslide immediately after the tunnel (This tunnel is the gateway to Uttarkashi town), another at Matli which is about 5 kms ,road has washed away at Dunda, then at Dharasu Bend, at Chinyalisaur and somewhere near Tehri too. He also said the rain has to stop for the work to speed up. Hearing this we all were feeling so helpless. All we could do was prey.

After PS inquiry we walk further towards the bridge which was washed away on Saturday night. The first sight was the furiously flowing Bhagirathi river. We were 2 meters away from it. Other side i could see about 15-20 feet of lands has been breached along with road , 3-4 hotels & many houses vanished. Also half of the bridge too was missing. Spoke to locals, they said 3 hotels of 40 to 60 roomers was washed away on saturday night. Many more houses are on the verge of collapse. It was a horrible scene to see so much devastation.


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Last edited by v&v : 4th July 2013 at 12:05.
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Old 4th July 2013, 17:22   #43
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Default Re: To Yamunotri & Gangotri: Witnessed Landslides, Cloudburst, Floods & Traffic Jams

I must this was lucky v&v. It just reminded me of my trip to Hemkundsahib way back where we too had to wait for hours after a landslide and crossing them at the mercy of taxi drivers was something i will never forget. But this one is way beyond anything happening recently so massive in memory. My heart goes out to all who were a victim of this disaster.
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Old 4th July 2013, 17:43   #44
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Default Re: To Yamunotri & Gangotri: Witnessed Landslides, Cloudburst, Floods & Traffic Jams

Epic! Keep it coming, and I must say this report truly qualifies to be on a news page... I am sure you must have had an epic adventure in this trip!
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Old 4th July 2013, 21:07   #45
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Default Re: To Yamunotri & Gangotri: Witnessed Landslides, Cloudburst, Floods & Traffic Jams

All these pictures and words make me sad for those who have lost their lives. I cant' even imagine the pain and the suffering that people must have gone through. May their souls rest in peace.

However, the calamity simply goes on to prove that if humans don't respect nature, they can never escape its wrath.

Holy places not only Kedarnath or Badrinath, even Mathura, Hardiwar etc. suffer from the same issues.

There are no proper rules or guidelines on traffic management, rampant building of hotels or guest houses, restaurants, expansion of markets, parking lots.

All these things lead to deforestation making the soil weak with no trees to hold the ground together.

Sadly, this tragedy was in the making for many, many years.

Coming to your write up-- it was detailed and captivating. I felt as if I was there in UK witnessing everything first hand. Brilliant job V&V.

More important, kudos to you for putting up a brave front in the face of such a massive disaster. After all, your family was looking up to you and you didn't lose hope.

Finally, I am happy that you guys are safe and sound.
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