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What caused the Kedarnath tragedy?

Rudraprayag/Dehradun: The massive floods at Kedarnath have left behind a trail of death and destruction in the entire valley stretching from the temple town to Gaurikund and further downstream. Abuzz with pilgrims till last week, the 1,200-year-old shrine now stands alone amid a sea of debris. 

The exact reason for the flash floods was the breaking of the Kedar Dome that led to the rupture of Charbari Lake, less than 6 km from the shrine after a cloud burst. 

Kedarnath (or Kedarnath Main) and Kedarnath Dome (or Kedar Dome) are two mountains in the Gangotri group of peaks in the western Garhwal Himalayas.

Kedarnath is located on the main ridge that lies south of the Gangotri Glacier, while Kedarnath Dome, a subpeak of the main peak, lies on a spur projecting towards the glacier, two kilometres northwest of Kedarnath.  

While Kedarnath is the highest peak on the south side of the Gangotri Glacier, and Kedarnath Dome is the third highest.  

The weather in the valley had started to deteriorate on Saturday and turned for the worse after the water level in the Mandakini began to rise due to incessant rains. 

Sometime early Sunday, tragedy struck when a cloud burst upstream from the valley. A cloud burst occurs due to extreme pressure created on rain bearing clouds when they get trapped in a valley which then ‘burst’ – the entire water falls on an area with massive force. 

Eyewitness said huge rocks broke away from Kedar Dome and rolled towards the Kedarnath shrine but they got stuck some distance from the temple. The rocks diverted the mud and sludge away from the main temple thereby preventing its destruction. 

However, the ‘Himalayan Tsunami’ flattened everything else that came in its way. 

 

 

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