Photographer's Note

Pictured here is a strange and almost inhuman mode of transport to cover the 14 km long trekking route that existed between Kedarnath ( A holy pilgrim town dedicated to Lord Shiva) and Gaurikund which is the last stop for the motorable road on this stretch. In local language it is known as 'KANDI' where the 4 people carry the aged and weak on a wooden structure up this steep trekking route so that they can gain their share of piety. Gaurikund is situated at a height of around 1900 meters and Kedarnath at around 3600 meters ASL. You can well imagine the steepness of the trekking route with 1700 meters of altitude gained in just 14 kms. They used to charge around Rs 4000 (around $75) for a to and fro journey.
The ‘YATRA’ or the pilgrimage takes place for around six months in a year from May till the 1st week of November. Rest of the year the whole area remains inaccessible due to heavy snowfall.
However inhuman it may seem this was a good source of income for poor people of the mountains. Why it has stopped? The catastrophic Himalayan flash flood of 2013 has washed away a major portion of this trekking route. Towns like Gaurikund and many other small villages on the route have been permanently wiped away from the map. With that these poor people have lost their source of seasonal livelihood. They wait for the new route to be chalked out to reach Kedarnath and the 'YATRA' to begin once again.
Thanks for looking.

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Additional Photos by Subho Banerjee (Subhogen) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 412 W: 14 N: 908] (4067)
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