E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: In the unprecedented rain that poured in Uttarakhand last week, pilgrims and the government were caught off-guard, resulting in large-scale death and devastation in the abode of the gods: the temple towns of the Himalayas.
With the rivers in spate, roads and dharamshalas washed off, bridges broken, over 50,000 pilgrims, many of them from the Southern States, are said to be stranded in various places such as Kedarnath, Gauri Kund, Badrinath, Joshimath.
The death toll officially stands at 150, but the casualties may well run into thousands if relief doesn’t reach pilgrims who are stranded. The weather, hilly terrain, official apathy and inadequate infrastructure have all added to the problem and despite the heroic efforts of the Army the toll may rise further.
This brings in its wake the following questions.
# Should the elderly take up such a pilgrimage at all?
I know my question…
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