A landslide.

(Aditya Waikul/BCCL)

The Badrinath-Kedarnath temples, nestled in the hills of Uttarakhand, are among the four shrines of the state’s infamous Char Dham yatra. Every year, between the months of May and November, lakhs of devotees flock to these ancient pilgrimage sites. However, the area is prone to landslides and flooding, which puts the locals and tourists at immense risk.

Earlier this week, on Wednesday (June 29), one such incident occurred near Kedarnath road, as heavy rains lashed Uttarakhand and triggered a landslide. A tourist vehicle was hit by huge boulders and debris that suddenly came hurtling down from a hillock near Munkatiya near Sonprayag on the Rudraprayag-Gaurikund National Highway. A woman from Maharashtra was killed, while five other individuals in the vehicle were injured.

Later on Friday, the Badrinath and Kedarnath Yatra were hampered once again by a large landslide that occurred at Sirobagad in Pauri as a result of the intense rainstorm. The pilgrims experienced tremendous inconvenience as a result of the subsequent traffic jam. The police had to halt traffic and redirect it due to safety concerns.

Since Wednesday, at least three more deaths and a dozen injuries have been reported due to the landslides. Unfortunately, this sort of news has become commonplace for Uttarakhand during this time of the year.

Now, a new report has claimed that there has been a five-fold increase in landslide-prone areas in Doon Valley over the last decade.

The number of landslide-prone sites in the area has increased from 20 to 100 between 2011 and 2021, according to a comparison between data collected during a 2011 IIT-Roorkee study and data obtained from the geological mapping of Dehradun in 2021.

According to experts, human activities like mining, deforestation and construction are to blame for the five-fold rise in vulnerable areas in the state.

“The landslide inventory map of 2021 has made it clear that there are over 100 landslide zones in the Doon valley. Despite this, there is hardly any regulation on construction or mining activities in the region,” Doon-based environmentalist Reenu Paul told the Times of India.

Maldevta, situated on the outskirts of Dehradun city, witnessed massive landslides due to “unauthorised constructions” last year as well. To prevent such incidents from repeating in the future, afforestation drives should be conducted to bind the soil in the region, advise experts.


For weather, science, and COVID-19 updates on the go, download The Weather Channel App (on Android and iOS store). It’s free!