Hundreds of pilgrims are left stranded after a fresh spell of snowfall in the Kedarnath and Badrinath shrines in Uttarakhand. Among the ones stuck in their holy pilgrimage is former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat.
Mr Rawat, along with Congress MP Pradeep Tamta, local MLA Manoj Rawat and other leaders from the party started trekking to the shrine on foot from Gaurikund in Rudraprayag district on Sunday. The famous shrine, dedicated to Lord Shiva, re-opened for pilgrims on April 29 this year.
Snowfall of about five inches has been reported from Kedarnath disrupting helicopter services and movement of pilgrims. The hills in Uttarakhand have been receiving rainfall as the meteorological centre warned of rains and storm in the state.
Badrinath also received fresh snowfall this morning and atleast two inches of snow has covered the area. Hemkund, too, received fresh snowfall.
Rudraprayag District Magistrate Mangesh Ghildiyal told PTI that pilgrims have been asked to wait at yatra halts like Bhimbali and Linchauli till the weather improves.
The thunderstorms and heavy rain hit several parts of India on Monday evening damaging trees, electricity poles in Uttarakhand's Dehradun. The State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) team reached the spot to vacate the roads.
Director of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Manmohan Singh said, "Heavy rains and snowfall can be expected in next 24 hours. Keylong's maximum temperature has dropped to 3.5 degree Celsius. The temperature in Shimla has dropped 4-5 degrees below the normal temperature."
According to weather department, the thunderstorm was triggered by high temperatures in northern India, western disturbance over north Pakistan and adjoining Jammu and Kashmir and winds from the Bay of Bengal. This resulted in a cyclonic circulation over Haryana which affected the neighbouring states.
(With Inputs From Agencies)
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