New Delhi: Madhu Pandey of Faridabad, one of the pilgrims who had gone to Kedarnath with her husband Mathura Prasad, brother-in-law Vinod and his wife Vimla, shares the nightmare she had to live through in the Uttarakhand devastation. Though she returned safe and sound, she still shivers thinking about the entire Uttarakhand deluge.

Madhu had gone to Kedarnath with a group from her Dabua Colony on 9th June. She says, “To reach Gauri Kunth on time we went to Kedarnath on 15 June for a visit. After our visit to Kedarnath, we spent our night there and next day we left at 7 am for Gauri Kunth. On reaching Rambad around 10 am it started raining. By noon, tourists in thousands gathered there, when they became unmanageable, the police started getting tough to disperse them.

There were sounds of wailing, crying, and shouting all around. If anyone from the group lost balance and slid while walking, it was next to impossible to lend him a helping hand. They walked non-stop for four days without food or water. After fourth day, they had a chance encounter with a military camp at Sonprayag, where they were offered some khichdi.

She said, “We spent our nights in the forest, our feet had swollen with continuous walking and it was only by god’s grace that we landed at the army camp. Had there been no army, we would have never returned home.

We were airlifted to Pata from where we reached Gupt Ghati. After reaching Pata, her husband made a call to their children at home informing them about their safety.     
She describes that Gauri Khunth was destroyed completely. She says, “We didn’t have the courage to go there. For three days and under continuous rain, we kept walking. It was getting difficult walking on a hungry stomach. With every step that we took, it felt like death was waiting for us.”

After reaching Gupt Ghati, we hired cars and reached home on Friday night. Madhu and her family are still learning to deal with the trauma. So horrible was their experience, that they now wake up in the nights with nightmares of mountains falling on them.


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