A pilgrim died while hundreds of others, including former Chief Minister Harish Rawat and Rajya Sabha member Pradeep Tamta, were stranded at the Kedarnath and Badrinath shrines on Tuesday after heavy snowfall in the region the Hindustan Times reported. District Magistrate of Rudraprayag Mangesh Ghildiyal said the woman pilgrim had died of a heart attack at the Kedarnath shrine.
Ghildiyal said the entire Kedar valley had received three inches of snowfall since Tuesday morning, following which the pilgrimage to the Kedarnath shrine was stopped, reported The Times of India. Badrinath received about two inches of snowfall, but the Badrinath yatra is still underway, according to DNA.
“The pilgrims at Kedarnath are being helped by State Disaster Response Fund personnel, local police and the administration, to come down to Gaurikund, the base station for Kedarnath,” Ghildiyal told the Hindustan Times. He said that pilgrims have been stopped at several points along the Kedarnath route till the weather clears.
A group of Congress leaders, including Harish Rawat, MP Pradeep Tamta, local MLA Manoj Rawat and former MLC Prithvi Pal Singh had set off on a trek to the Kedarnath shrine from Gaurikund on Sunday. Tamta told the Hindustan Times, “The government has made enough propaganda about the Kedar Yatra and even introduced a laser show for it but ignored the convenience of an ordinary pilgrim who prefers going to Kedarnath on foot from Gaurikund.” The Kedarnath yatra was reopened on April 29 after a six-month winter break when the region receives heavy snowfall, according to The Times of India.
Director General of the Indian Meteorological Department KJ Ramesh said hill states like Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh will continue to experience thunderstorms in the next 24 hours, according to ANI. Heavy rain and a hailstorm was reported from Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, on Tuesday. The temperature in Shimla has dropped four degrees to five degrees below normal temperature, Met department director Manmohan Singh told ANI.
The India Meteorological Department had issued a five-day weather warning, predicting light to moderate rainfall in the northern states – Haryana, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. The Himachal Pradesh government also advised residents and the tourists to avoid travelling to high hills of Kullu, Chamba, Lahaul, Spiti and Kinnaur, The Indian Express reported.
According to scientists at IMD, the thunderstorm was triggered by high temperatures in North India and a disturbance over north Pakistan and adjoining Jammu and Kashmir and winds from the Bay of Bengal, reported DNA.