“It was anything but a pilgrimage,” said 54-year-old Arvind Bhanushali who along with 21 family members arrived by flight from Haridwar late last evening. The family described their journey as the worst episode of their life. “We went through hell,” added Arvind.
The family had concluded their visit to Gangotri on June 16, after which their troubles began. The incessant rainfall that lashed the region triggered massive landslides that blocked many roads. The Bhanushalis were stranded at Gangotri for two days, and after receiving no help from the authorities, decided to trek to a safer area. “We could not even use the roads from Gangnani, let alone commute by a vehicle.
So we had to walk through the hills. We used to walk over 20 km daily and after three days of trekking, we arrived at Netala on Saturday. It was a harrowing experience, as we had no shelter along the way. Only once near Gangnani, a local provided us a room to stay. It was very difficult to get food and water,” said Arvind.
“We did not receive any help from any government machinery, the police or the military. There was no guide to help people who were stranded like us. My wife, Daksha, injured her leg, but still managed to walk,” said Kishore Bhanushali.
Help came in the form of Lehribhai Bhanushali, a family member from Mulund, who went all the way to Uttarkashi to help them. “He reached Haridwar on Friday, arranged a 25-seater bus and came to meet us at Netala. Had he not come, we cannot even think how long we would have been stuck there,” said Arvind.