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Alaknanda's fury gives scare to Badrinath devotees in Uttarakhand

The sudden rise in the water level of the Alaknanda washed away the debris deposited along its banks as a result of the ongoing excavation under the Badrinath masterplan, the priests at the temple said.
Last Updated : 02 July 2024, 07:17 IST

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Gopeshwar: The ongoing excavation work along the banks of the Alaknanda River created a flood-like situation late Monday with the water briefly submerging the Brahmakapal and reaching up to the boundary of the Taptkund close to the Badrinath temple causing a scare among the devotees.

The Alaknanda River flows just a few metres below the Himalayan temple.

Located between the Alaknanda River and the temple, the Taptkund is a group of hot sulphur springs rich in medicinal qualities in which devotees take a bath before paying obeisance at the temple.

Brahmakapal is on the banks of the Alaknanda River where devotees make offerings in the memory of their ancestors.

From 4 pm on Monday till late evening, the Alaknanda River was in spate in this area. The furious currents of the river terrified the devotees, eyewitnesses said.

The sudden rise in the water level of the Alaknanda washed away the debris deposited along its banks as a result of the ongoing excavation under the Badrinath masterplan, the priests at the temple said.

"For a long time we have been requesting the local administration about the possible danger to the Badrinath temple and especially Taptkund due to the construction work being carried out under the master plan," president of the teerth-purohit association Praveen Dhyani told PTI on phone.

"I have personally requested the district magistrate twice to do something about this danger, but no attention was ever paid to it," Dhyani said.

Dhyani, who has been associated with the organisation for the last 40 years, said it was for the first time that he saw the water level of Alaknanda rise like this. The water level started rising at 4 pm and continued till about 8 pm.

The debris resulting from the excavation is being dumped into the Alaknanda which has narrowed down the flow area of the river, he said.

The four rocks of Brahmakapal considered sacred were also submerged in the Alaknanda for some time as its water level rose on Monday evening, Dhyani said, adding it happened for the first time.

The water of Alaknanda reaching Brahmakapal and Taptkund, just a few metres below the Badrinath temple signals danger for the temple, he said.

For the last three years, bulldozers have been running all over the area under the Badrinath Adhyaatmik Nagar Master Plan program which is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream project, he said.

Excavation is going on on the banks of Alaknanda due to which heaps of debris are accumulated on the river banks, according to Dhyani.

Renowned environmentalist Chandi Prasad Bhatt, who had written a letter to the prime minister two years ago regarding the possible dangers of "thoughtless" construction being done under the master plan at Badrinath Dham, said the Alaknanda is a river fed by glaciers and the activities taking place in the high Himalayas have a direct impact on it.

In 1930, the water level of the Alaknanda had risen by 30 feet near the Badrinath temple. Similarly, in 2014, Alaknanda had taken a violent form in Badrinath, Bhatt said.

Before starting any programme under the construction of the masterplan of Badrinath spiritual town, an assessment of the character of the rivers, geography and weather effects should be analysed in detail, Bhatt said.

Chamoli District Disaster Management Officer Nand Kishore Joshi told PTI that an alert was issued on Monday evening on the rising water level of the river but there is no information of any kind of damage yet.

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Published 02 July 2024, 07:17 IST

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