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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Way to Hemkunt Sahib rough, but pilgrims remain unfazed

Arvind Moudgil , Hindustan Times  Joshinath, May 29, 2014
First Published: 10:03 IST(29/5/2014) | Last Updated: 10:04 IST(29/5/2014)

The 21-km pedestrian route from Gobind Ghat to Hemkunt Sahib, especially the last 3-km stretch from Atlakoti that cuts through 5-8 ft-high snow bed, is a rough patch. But this does not deter pilg rims, young and old alike, to make it to the shrine, which is situated at a height of 15,000 ft.

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espite the harrowing memories of last year, heavy snow in the area and a longer new track, about 3,000 pilgrims have already paid their obeisance at the shrine since May 25.

The PWD has successfully reopened the route ( including the last 3km snow-covered stretch) with the help of jawans from the Sikh re giment and sevadars. But the Jal Sansthan has not provided drinking water facility throughout the route.

The Sulabh International has provided toilets on the way but they are rendered useless because of lack of water. However, JP Joshi, superintendent engineer, Jal Sansthan, is now planning to lay down plastic pipelines on the track for proper water supply.

For the time being, pilgrims would have to rely upon the Bhyundar river for water or carry their own supply.

After rescuing many pilgrims stranded during the calamity that hit the state last year, the government had decided to depute security personnel along the track, but only a few policemen could be seen at Ghangaria, while the whole track was left unattended.

Seva Singh, senior manager, Hemkunt Sahib Gurudwara Management Committee, told HT that absence of drinking water facility and unkempt toilets added to the inconvenience of the pilgrims.

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