When we visited Jayalgarh a group school students and few teachers in the month of May before the flood, little did we know that this river on which we had some adventure sports activities would become so devastating and violent. We did white water rafting from about seventeen kilometres above in the first phase, and the second phase took place from Jayalgarh to Devprayag, about twetnty-three kilometres down stream. During both the activities, we jumped into the river from the rafts and played the the water which seemed to be treacherous yet amenable to adventure sports.Today, while listening to the news, I feel emotionally touched by the event that are unfolding today. I remember that the second course of out white water rafting took us to Devprayag, at the confluence of the Alaknanda and the Bhagirathi, of which both rivers have been in the new recently because of the destruction they have caused to life and property.I can’t help wondering about the High Five camp in which we stayed during the first and second weeks of May. The camp was barely thirty metres above the flowing waters of the Alaknanda! The tents on on the lower level must surely have been swept away! We swam in the river, rafted on it little knowing that soon it would become a destructive power sweeping aside great structures like houses, hotels and resorts!
This a a picture of the Ganga just a few kilometres away from Rishikesh on the way to Jayalgarh!
Rafting on the Alaknanda. Some of the tourists might even jump overboard during a rafting expedition!
Of course there was proof of the violent power of the river everywhere like the broken up stumps of massive trees lying around, rocks ground round and sometimes to an even finish. There were layers of white sand that looked like ice –testimony to the destructive power of the river.
This is a picture of the Alaknanda as it flowed past the High Five Camp at Jayalgarh.
The Dining Hall
Perched at a higher point above the river, the dining hall of the High five camp seemed to be secure enough from the river, but then looking at the news on t.v. it one can’t help wonder about its fate.
The river seem tranquil enough as it flows past the High Five Camp at Jayalgarh!
Disturbing evidences of landslides were evident throughout!
Seen from an elevation, the course of the Alaknanda seemed impressive enough!
This is a glimpse of the Alaknanda river before the flood that took place in the month of June because of the cloud burst.
The remains of massive tree trunks on the banks of the Alaknanda river stands testimony of the fury of previous floods!
Even before the flood of June, the flow of the river seemed daunting enough!
Tents at the camp
These tents at a lower level at the camp might have been affected by the flooded river. There were many more camps by the river banks that were too close!
Ultimately it is our responsibility to give nature its due! We enjoy the scenic beauty of mountains and rivers, but then do we give respect to them? Excess development, building of houses, hotels, industries, and the greed for electric power have all had a role in the destructive power of these rivers in the Himalayas. The mountains denuded of green vegetation, trees and shrubs have become vulnerable to landslides. It seems as if nature can no longer take any more punishment, and this is how nature keeps reminding us that we have gone too far! Our hearts go out to all those missing during the cloud burst in Uttarakhand, those who have perished and those who are badly injured! Besides praying for them, we need to also do our level best to ensure that we give more respect to Nature. We as tourists should remember that the beauty of the mountains of the Himalayas and the waters of the great rivers of our country could be lost down the years.The concept of Eco-tourism should be promoted so that all those of us who visit these places of tourist importance do not do anything to affect the delicate balance that exists in Nature. Leave no trace, protect the ecosystem, leave the environment undisturbed when you visit the mountains.
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