Haridwar, Oct 6: A Haridwar-based spiritual group is providing food to devotees visiting the disaster-hit Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand to make up for the absence of eateries and hotels.
The Gayatri Parivar group said this had become necessary as the Kedarnath region was yet to get back its infrastructure, including eating places, since the devastating floods and landslides in July.
A 15-member Gayatri Parivar team reached Kedarnath Friday to also feed police personnel and government officials posted in the area. The pilgrimage resumed Friday, after being suspended in July.
Electricity is yet to be restored in the area. Only satellite phones are operational there now.
“We don’t know how many pilgrims were fed yesterday (Saturday) but the feeding will last as long as the pilgrimage lasts,” Gauri Shankar Sharma of Gayatri Parivar told IANS.
At this time of the year, the pilgrimage normally draws thousnads of devotees going up the hills to pray at Kedarnath and other shrines.
The Gayatri Parivar team that is in Kedarnath has carried 20 days of groceries and other items.
On the pilgrimage route starting at Gupta Kashi, breakfast is being provided at Bimbali. Meals are being given both at Kedarnath and Ligcholi village, Sharma said.
Gayatri Parivar is also engaged in reconstruction work in 154 villages spread over nine districts of Uttarakhand, building houses for those who were rendered homeless after the natural disaster.
Three schools have already been built, Sharma added.
In the wake of the July tragedy, the Uttarakhand government has barred the use of bricks and cement to build houses and other buildings in a bid to prevent further ecological damage.
“We are building houses using no cement,” said Sharma. Model houses are on display at the Gayatri Parivar complex here.
The group has also so far sent 20,000 tonnes of fodder for cattle in the devastated region, Sharma said.