In June 2013 torrential rain accompanied by Flash Floods and Landslides lead to massive devastation in the Pilgrimage Town of Kedarnath which is situated at an height of 3438m among the peaks of Himalayas.
The Resulting Devastation has killed over 500 and over 73000 people are trapped at various places because of damaged or blocked roads. As of June 20, even Air connectivity has been blocked due to bad weather.
The Mandakini river, a tributary of the Ganges, washed down 40 hotels near Gaurikund, a populated region near the Kedarnath Temple. Pilgrimage centres in the region, including Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath are visited by thousands of devotees, especially after the month of May onwards.
An important road for the region, NH58 was also washed down near Jyotirmath. Because the month of June is a busy tourist season, the number of people stranded increased considerably. For more than two days, the stranded tourists and pilgrims in various remote areas of the region were without food supplies.
The roads were seriously damaged at more than 450 places, resulting in huge traffic jams, and the floods caused many cars and other vehicles to be washed away. On 18 June, the main market at Rambada, a hamlet on the way to Kedarnath, was washed out due to rain and the market of Soneprayag was heavily damaged.
On 17 June 2013 the state of Uttarakhand received more than 340 millimetres (13 in) of rainfall, which is 375 percent above the normal benchmark of 65.9 mm rainfall during a normal monsoon. This cloudburst caused heavy floods in Uttarakhand as well as the neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh.
The exact reason for the flash floods was the breaking of the Kedar Dome that led to the rupture of Charbari Lake, less than 6 km from the shrine after a cloud burst. A cloud burst occurs due to extreme pressure created on rain bearing clouds when they get trapped in a valley which then ‘burst’ – the entire water fall on an area with massive force.
Kedarnath (or Kedarnath Main) and Kedarnath Dome (or Kedar Dome) are two mountains in the Gangotri group of peaks in the western Garhwal Himalayas. Eyewitness said huge rocks broke away from Kedar Dome and rolled towards the Kedarnath shrine but they got stuck some distance from the temple. The rocks diverted the mud and sludge away from the main temple thereby preventing its destruction.
Due to damage, Kedarnath temple is closed for a year for pilgrims and tourists.Aerial photos showed that the temple itself was not damaged but was still standing amid surrounding debris due to its architectural design. However the temple complex and all surrounding areas suffered near total destruction.
The popular Chardham pilgrimage, covering Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath was also cancelled for one year, the time needed, as per Government, to recover the damaged roads and infrastructure.
Rescuers at the Hindu pilgrimage town of Haridwar on the river Ganga have been reported to have recovered bodies of 40 victims washed down by the flooded rivers as of June 21 2013.
Though the Kedarnath Temple itself remained intact, it’s base was inundated by the floods and mud, earth and boulders from the landslide causing damage to its perimeters. Several rest-houses and hotels around the temple were impacted, resulting in heavy casualty.
The Official Data Shows 556 confirmed dead, while over 70,000 Missing. It also shows 365 houses destroyed, 275 houses partially damaged in Uttarakhand. The Actual Figures may be upto 10 times, the data indicated by Government