New Delhi, June 17: Heavy rains wreaked havoc in the hill states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, leaving over 50 people dead and hundreds stranded. Flash floods in the Ganga and its tributaries triggered by incessant rains for over 48 hours left a trail of death and devastation across Uttarakhand killing 30 people, injuring 19 and damaging 164 buildings.
Both Mandakini and Alaknanda, major tributaries of the Ganga, are flowing over the danger mark and the bridge connecting Rudraprayag and Gaurikund has been damaged leading to its closure. A large number of structures including shrines, hotels, rest houses, commercial and residential buildings located close to Alaknanda caved in like a pack of cards in Rudraparayag district.
Following the heavy rains and landslides, the Char Dham Yatra has been halted and thousands of pilgrims are stranded enroute to Badrinath, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Yamunotri. Even the pilgrimage to Hemkunth Saheb has been stopped. Over 20,000 pilgrims, including cricketer Harbhajan Singh have been stranded along the Hemkunth Saheb, which is Sikh holy place.
The misery of the pilgrims has been compounded as the region has limited accommodation. All the hotels and dharamshalas in Uttarkashi district are bursting at the seams with char dham yatris occupying every available space including rooms and lounges.
The jawans of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have been pressed into service to rescue and evacuate people from Kedarnath and Gaurikund.
"More than 500 ITBP personnel are carrying out rescue and relief operation for thousands of yatris (tourists) stranded on the Char Dham Yatra route," said ITBP spokesman Deepak Kumar Pandey.
"Thousands of yatris stranded near Govind Ghat, en route to Hemkund Sahib, were rescued... they are being accommodated in various shelters in Joshimath," he said.
"A shelter and emergency medical centre has been established at the ITBP campus in Joshimath," added Pandey.
The worst hit areas include Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi where the river Mandakini is in spate and the water of the river has entered the market area in Rambada. A cloud burst in Rambada resulted in 50 people missing, mostly being washed away in the swirling waters.
A three-storyed house on the banks of river Bhagirathi caved in at Prem Nagar area of Uttarkashi town on Sunday (see pictures).
Ganga, Bhagirathi and Asi Ganga are in spate and the Ganga has breached the danger mark in Haridwar.
Rains have also halted the movement on the National Highway 58. As many as 123 roads in the Garhwal region have also been blocked.
The disaster management cell of the army has been informed and it has already started preparations for launching the rescue operations in coordination with IAF and Army.
The rains in the month of June have since broken a 88-year record. Between Saturday to Sunday, the state capital of Dehradun received 220 mm of rains and by evening 220 mm of rains.
In Himachal Pradesh, a high alert was sounded and army assistance was sought for rescue operations in the tribal border district of Kinnaur as incessant rains and snow wreaked havoc in the region, killing 10 people and damaging property worth crores of rupees.
Five members of a family, including three children, were buried alive when boulders fell on their house while five others were killed in landslides in three other places.
Kinnaur district was cut off from the state from Tapri onwards as most of the approach roads and Hindustan-Tibet National highway was blocked at several places due landslides and about 1,700 people were stranded.
The plight in plains is no better
At least 15 people were killed in different incidents in Uttar Pradesh as flash floods lashed Saharanpur district following incessant rainfalls in neighbouring Uttarakhand.
Fifty-two people, including 15 children, stranded on a tract of land in Haryana's Yamunanagar district due to floods triggered by heavy rains, were rescued today.
The stranded villagers were rescued using boats. Heavy overnight rains and rising water level in the Yamuna river had hampered rescue operation earlier.
The rains have led to an alarming increase in the water level of Yamuna, even as over 7 lakh cusecs water was flowing through the Hathni Kund barrage, prompting authorities to sound a high alert in the neighbouring districts of Karnal, Panipat and Sonipat.
Swanky airport flooded in Delhi
The national capital witnessed intermittent to heavy rain on Monday morning, with the minimum temperature plunging five notches below average for this time of the year to 23.5 degrees Celsius.
The Indira Gandhi Airport airport was flooded on Sunday because of continuous rain, forcing passengers to wade through knee-deep water.
Incidentally, two days ago it was voted the world's second best airport. Passengers posted photos of themselves on twitter wading through knee-deep water.
Delhi received its monsoon on Sunday nearly two weeks before it was expected.
The area near the airport received unprecedented rain, the Met department said 117.8 mm in four and a half hours.
Services at the domestic arrival section were severely impeded; several conveyor belts used for baggage were out of service.
Angry Bhaghirathi smashes everything in her path
A three-storyed house on the banks of river Bhagirathi caved in at Prem Nagar area of Uttarkashi town on Sunday as the angry river ravaged the hillsides.
Delhi airport flooded
Workers clear water that had gushed into the Delhi's airport due to heavy rains and clogged drains. It affected passenger movement at Terminal number 3, which was rated as second best airport last week.
Delhi had light rains
After deluge people enjoy at Rajpath during light rain in New Delhi on Sunday.
Negotiating water logged streets
Bit of fun for children on the water logged streets of Mumbai on Sunday.
Children seem to enjoy despite heavy showers
Street kids splashing water as vehicles tread carefully during heavy downpour in Faridabad, in National Capital Region on Sunday.
Tourists not affected by rains at Agra
Heavy showers in North India could not keep the tourists indoors as capacity crowd was seen at Taj Mahal in Agra on Sunday.
Monsoon is normal and life is normal in Mumbai
Flooding is normal during Mumbai's monsoon and life goes on as is evident from buses and autos on the road despite water on the street in Santa Cruz on Sunday.
A suburban train runs on invisible tracks
A suburban train moves through a flooded railway track after heavy rains in Mumbai on Sunday.
Monsoon fury in Uttarakhand
People wade through a water logged road in the holy town of Haridwar, which is on the banks of river Ganga. Uttarakhand has been battered by monsoon rains for the past week, bringing the state to its knees.