Nanda Devi Rajjat officially called off in Uttarakhand

Dehradun : Its official now. The Nanda Devi Rajjat Yatra Samiti, has decided to postpone the yatra scheduled to begin on Aug 29 this year.

The decision to postpone the yatra (a date to effect will be announced later), said to be the longest ‘yatra’ (pilgrimage) on foot in Asia was taken following reports that the condition of the route had been badly damaged due to the floods and incessant rains, with some of the foot bridges having been washed away.

Nanda Devi

President of the Nanda Devi Rajjat Yatra Samiti, Kunwar Dr Rakesh Singh said that the new schedule for the yatra will be announced after discussions during the next 10 days. However, special prayer sessions will be held at all the places from where special ‘chatras’ come to participate in the Rajjat yatra.

Incidentally, Hillpost had written about a week back that the ground conditions along the route are not conducive for the yatra and it will have to be postponed.

A big setback for the Uttarakhand government, which was banking strongly on the Nanda Devi Rajjat yatra to restore the confidence of the pilgrims and tourists, that has been badly shattered after the June 16-17 tragedy hit the char dham yatra, and had earmarked a sum of Rs 90 crores to repair the yatra route, had finally to withdraw from making the arrangements in the aftermath of the Kedarnath floods, in which a number of lives were lost.

Despite the large amount of money having been set aside to repair the yatra route, however, continued bad weather and incessant rains, hardly gave the authorities who were also involved in the rescue and relief operations of the Kedarnath tragedy, enough time to undertake the necessary restoration work on the Rajjat yatra route.

“The yatra route being badly devastated is the reason that it is being called off for the time being”, said Kunwar Dr Rakesh Singh.

Incidentally, this is the first time ever in its history that the yatra has been called off and postponed for a latter date after the initial religious ceremonies as ‘manaoti’ and ‘dinpatta’ have been performed.

NandaDevi

The yatra is scheduled to be held after every 12 years, but rarely has it been held after the stipulated time period of 12 years and this year it was being held after 13 years. A four-horned ram leads the yatra.

Considered to be a historical and cultural tradition of the Kumaon and Garhwal regions of Uttarakhand, it is said that from 1843 to 2000 (when the last yatra took place), the intervening period between two yatras has always been more than the stipulated 12-year period.

Old timers recall that after 1925, the yatra took place after 26 years in 1951, but because of bad weather it could not be completed.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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