Pilgrims thank their luck, rescue efforts

Their purpose was to set out on a religious sojourn, but for these families, it ended up being a disaster that they and their coming generations would remember and shudder.

These are the pilgrims from Gujarat who have fought against all odds and managed to and escaped the wrath of nature. “We did not initially realise what was happening. There was water all around, and no escape route,” Amrish Patel, said one of the pilgrims who was back with members of his family, who had come to receive him at the Ahmedabad airport on Friday.

“It was like panic all around, and no help and no clue whether we would survive,” said Sidhaben Valan, another pilgrim.

She said that her only solace was that she was with her husband. “We were without food and drinking water, but we managed with the dry fruits we had carried in our luggage,” said Valan. She added that they also managed to save some food they had carried on their way from Ahmedabad.

She said that as it was vacation time for her other family members, they had decided to visit the Char Dham, and this was not one of the seasons when one experiences landslides. “Had there been any such indication, we would definitely have not made any plans,” said Kishorbhai Valan.

He said that once the rescue operations started, they began feeling more secure. “Till then we were just holding on to hope. Everything looked disconnected,” said Valan.
He said that for him and his family the only solace was that the husband and wife were together.

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