Kedarnath devastation: By the river, a year laterhttps://indianexpress.com/photos/picture-gallery-others/kedarnath-devastation-by-the-river-a-year-later/

Kedarnath devastation: By the river, a year later

The river raced through the temple town, unmindful of the damage she was causing to life, property or faith.

On the morning of June 17, 2013, the Mandakini’s wrath had swept through Kedarnath and left hundreds dead. A year later, pilgrims trek up again, their faith tinged with fear, but with the belief that the worst is over. One year ago, five minutes is all she took. She raced through the temple town, unmindful of the damage she was causing to life, property or faith. As water, sand and rock hurtled through the streets of Kedarnath, only the temple remained untouched. Her name is Mandakini, she who flows calmly. (Source: Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

Every ruin has its own soul-shattering story to tell. The river was merciless and the area near the Kedarnath shrine still has reminders of last year’s flood. (Source: Express photo by Manu Pubby/PTI)

The river had allies in her fury. For several months after the flash floods, it seemed that the non-motorable path to Kedarnath was been damaged beyond repair. Six kilometres into the trek from the base camp at Gaurikund, a waterfall came into being, washing away the cemented path. The road at Lincholi fell into the river, aided by an avalanche in the upper reaches of the mountain. The worst was reserved for Rambada, a popular stop for weary pilgrims. The town simply ceased to exist, every single one of its 1,500 residents enveloped by the swirling waters. (Source: Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

There has been a sharp drop in the number of pilgrims, from close to 15,000 a day till last year to 900 this time. (Source: Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

While a fear of a repeat of the floods has seen the number of pilgrims drop, the rebuilding process has been marked by courage and grit. Most of the efforts are voluntary. Men in groups of four carry 80 kg generators up the 20 km climb. Others stand dangerously close to the river, breaking rocks to be used for construction. (Source: Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

But perhaps the most abiding sentiment at Kedarnath this year is that in the face of fear, faith has proved unshakeable. Regardless of the difficulty of the path, devotees will still climb. Often, rain clouds gather suddenly over the snow-capped peaks behind Kedarnath, and most admit to a shiver of doubt. But they will still climb. The rain could come down and the Mandakini could see red again. But they will still climb. For the worst has come and gone, and they are still climbing. (Source: Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

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