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2013 again! Flood alert in Uttarakhand, rescue and evacuation of pilgrims begin

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uttarakhand_flood2-621x414Lucknow/Dehradun: The Uttarakhand government on Friday began rescue and evacuation measures for the stranded pilgrims hit by inclement weather during the annual Char Dham Yatra, officials said.

The state has received heavy rainfall in the last 24-hours since Thursday morning, and the meteorological department has indicated no sign of respite from the heavy monsoon showers.

While five Indian Air Force (IAF) choppers have been pressed into service to help and evacuate stranded pilgrims on various routes of the pilgrimage, many army personnel have also been sent to repair bridges that have been swept away, or damaged in the downpour.

Rescue operations by the State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) also began at Govindghat, Ghangharia, Guptkashi and many other places in Chamoli district, district officials told a media outlet.

The Laxman Ganga bridge in Chamoli, has suffered extensive damage and efforts are on to repair it.7995808283_74674b65d4_z

The Alaknanda river, which caused maximum damage in the flash floods of 2013, is once again in spate.

Hundred metres long stretch of Badrinath highway has been washed away in Lambagad, and thousands of pilgrims, tourists and locals are stranded on the route.

Furthermore, 1,500 people were halted in Badrinath alone, whereas, over 800 pilgrims are caught in inclement weather en route to Hemkund Saheb.

The motor bridge at Soneprayag has also been washed away in the torrential downpour and Gangotri highway has also been closed, informed the officials.

The officials also said that Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Harish Rawat was personally monitoring the situation, and added that the first priority of the state government was to ensure the pilgrims’ safety. (IANS)

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Holy Hindu Shrine Gangotri Closes for Six Months

Gangotri is part of the four shrines where the 'Chaar Dhaam' annual pilgrimage takes place in the hill state of Uttarakhand that draws millions every year.

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Gangotri temple. Wikimedia

Dehradun, October 20, 2017 : The gates of the Gangotri shrine in Uttarakhand were closed for a six-month winter break on Friday.

Amid fanfare and chanting of vedic hymns, locals shifted a statue of the Goddess Ganga to Mukhwa where, from Saturday, puja will be performed for the next six months. Jawans of the Mahal regiment of the Army played music during the ceremony.

Gangotri is part of the four shrines where the ‘Chaar Dhaam’ annual pilgrimage takes place in the hill state of Uttarakhand that draws millions every year.

The Kedarnath and Yamunotri shrines will be closed for the winter break from Saturday. (IANS)

 

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Monsoon Bliss: Drenched in Rain Kutch is a Must Visit (Environmental Feature)

The monsoon brings out a different facet of Kutch, the brown transforms into green

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Rann Utsav in Kutch. Pixabay

Bhuj, Sep 09, 2017: White, fluffy clouds hanging low over green hills, little pools of still water teeming with migratory birds and an omnipresent cool breeze — the semi-arid region of Kutch in Gujarat transforms into a completely different avatar during the monsoon.

And although winter — the time detailed as “ideal” to visit this region — shows you a side of hers that’s truly unique, Kutch makes for a pretty picture during the rains, perfect for a rejuvenating holiday.

Nestling on the country’s western border, close to the Arabian Sea, Kutch had recently been in the news for the cyclonic storm-induced thundershowers that lasted five days. Before that, and like the rest of the state, floods had also hit the region in July.

“Heavy showers are normal during the monsoon,” local taxi driver and long-time Bhuj resident Anwar Khatri said, indicating that the heavy rainfall was not out-of-the-ordinary. “But in the last three-four years, we have had very scanty rainfall. The monsoon brings out a different facet of Kutch, the brown transforms into green.”

Kutch occupies an important geographical location when it comes to birds, said ornithologist Jugal Kishor Tiwari, since it falls on their migration route. His organisation, Centre for Desert and Ocean (CEDO), works on wildlife conservation and promotes nature tourism.

And although the winter is a brilliant time to spot a host of migratory birds, one can indulge in some bird-watching during the monsoon as well. CEDO, which is based out of Moti Virani village, some 400 km from Gujarat capital Gandhinagar, organises tailor-made tours of such nature.

A visit to Kutch would however be incomplete without witnessing its rich treasure trove of handicrafts. Ajrakh (block printing), camel leather craft, Bandhni, different forms of weaving, bellmetal craft, Kutch embroidery — the list is endless — and nothing beats the wonder of watching an artisan work on his or her craft.

After the devastating earthquake in 2001, several NGOs took up the initiative of supporting artisans and their art, even reviving some, and helping them find suitable markets to showcase and sell their products beyond the state’s and the nation’s borders.

There are many such NGOs within a radius of 10-15 kilometres from Bhuj — the point you will either fly down to or reach by train — and one can visit their campuses to see some of these exquisite crafts take shape and understand the story behind them from the artisans themselves. Some names to look out for would be Shrujan, Khamir, and LLDC (Living and Learning Design Centre).

About eight kilometres from Bhuj is a village called Bhujodi, which has the Ashapura Crafts Park set up for artisans to display and sell their work. Again, one can meet weavers, tie-dye artists, block printers and others here. Needless to say, it will leave you wanting for more shopping bags to fill!

From the well-known to the lesser known — a monsoon visit to Kutch would also remain wanting without a trip to one of its pristine beaches. Mandvi is the closest to Bhuj and there are many resorts close by with their own private beach enclosures. The high point of the beaches here — Pingleshwar, about 98 km from Bhuj, a hidden gem — is witnessing the marine life. Jelly fish and hermit crabs are a common sight and the multi-coloured sea weeds look extraordinary.

Also Read: History of Rigvedic river Saraswati

If the children are more in the mood for some fun and frolic, Mandvi has ample opportunity for water sports as well — which may be restricted when the weather is grey. But a ride on a camel would more than compensate for that!

With the temperature hovering on the pleasant side of the scale and a constant breeze, one can also opt for some historical sight-seeing. The Aina Mahal, with its blue tiles, Venetian-style chandeliers and walls studded with mirrors, is a must-visit. Next door is the 19th century Prag Mahal, a brilliant example of Italian-Gothic architecture.

As you travel around the place and move on the fringes of the main town of Bhuj, it is difficult to miss the vast expanses of agricultural land with acres after acres of pomegranate plantations, palm groves and cotton fields — all this thanks to drip-irrigation, which has brought about a sea-change in the region’s crop pattern. With the green hills in the backdrop, it’s a sight to behold. Soak it in, for, with the changing season, Kutch will soon reveal a different face. (IANS)

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TLC Premiers New Season Of Duster Adventures: Thrilling Journey to the Mountain State of Uttarakhand

Shibani will cover the terrain of Uttarakhand and indulge in adventure sports like paragliding, off-roading, and cliff-jumping amongst many more

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Shibani Dandekar on a thrilling journey to the mountain state of Uttarakhand on TLC’s brand new season of DUSTER ADVENTURES

New Delhi, August 27, 2017: Starting Sunday, August 27- Join Shibani Dandekar on a thrilling journey to the mountain state of Uttarakhand on TLC’s brand new season of DUSTER ADVENTURES. Airing every Sunday at 8:30 pm, the series features Shibani on an exploration of Uttarakhand through its mountains, rivers, and plains with adventure and excitement at every step of the way.

Cruising around in a RENAULT DUSTER, Shibani will cover the terrain of Uttarakhand and indulge in adventure sports like paragliding, off-roading, and cliff-jumping amongst many more.

Join Shibani on an epic journey around Uttarakhand, on TLC’s DUSTER ADVENTURES 2, every Sunday at 8:30 PM

The 5-part series will introduce viewers to Uttarakhand’s amazing landscape, culture, people and their heart-warming stories as the host takes you on the journey of a lifetime. One of India’s youngest states, Uttarakhand lies in the lap of nature with beautiful mountains, vistas and a diversity of flora and fauna. From Nainital to Rishikesh and Ramnagar to Devprayag, the state has something for every kind of traveler.

Talking about her adventure, Shibani Dandekar said, “DUSTER ADVENTURES has been a thrilling journey that captures the essence of Uttarakhand. The series encapsulates the beauty of the state and brought me closer to nature. I am sure viewers will enjoy watching my journey as much as I enjoyed traveling across this beautiful state.”

Mr. Virat Khullar, Head of Marketing, Renault India said, “Renault Duster is a cult brand in the automotive space, like TLC is, in the realm of travel and lifestyle television, and is equated with exploration, adventure, and unmatched passion. We are young in India and Renault Duster has firmly established the Renault brand here.

When we launched Renault Duster in India, we created an all new segment in the Indian automotive industry. As a forward-looking company, we have kept Renault Duster fresh and contemporary, and it continues to be India’s preferred SUV. This association will be a thrilling journey for fans of Renault Duster and TLC, and will take the excitement to an all new high.”

Catch all the adventure with Shibani Dandekar in DUSTER ADVENTURES starting 27th August, every Sunday at 8:30 pm, only on TLC!