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U’khand calamity still haunts pilgrims from Pune

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 - 9:40am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

A year after the disaster, tourists not willing to visit the holy shrine; agencies also shying away from organising tours
  • Pune-Tourism-Uttarakhand-Kedarnath-yatra-Badrinath-Gangotri-Girikand-Tours A year after the disaster, tourists not willing to visit the holy shrine; agencies also shying away from organising tours dna Correspondent dna

Pune: Even after a year when nature played havoc in Uttarakhand and devastated major part of the state, tourists are still scared to travel to this holy state.
The disaster is still afresh in people’s mind and which is why most of the people are staying away from the upcoming Kedarnath yatra. Not only the tourists, but some of the travel agencies are also not planning any tours to Uttarakhand in this summer vacations.
Uttarakhand, also known as ‘God’s Home’, is a state whose economy mainly depends on tourism. Pilgrimage places like Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamnotri have been famous since a long time for tourism, along with places like Gangotri Tapovan and Panchkedar that are famous for trekking.  After the state witnessed horrifying natural disaster last year, people are not willing to travel to these places even after one year.
Renowned travel companies of Pune, who received a large amount of bookings for their tours every year, are having very low bookings. Rakesh Disle from Kesari Tours and Travels told dna, “We have not organised tours to any of these places, except for Nainital, as people are scared to travel to Uttarakhand.” Similarly, Girikand Tours and Travels has arranged very few tours to the ‘dhams’, as people are willing to go only till Haridwar.
Dilip Choudhari from Choudhari Yatra Company says, “Till now, we have received only 10 per cent bookings of what we receive every year by this time.”Saket Shendrikar and Kedar Salvi, trekking enthusiasts from Pune, said, “We always go for treks to North India, and we were planning a trek to Panchkedar this year, but after seeing the horrific images of the disaster in news, we are now terrified to go there.” 
Though Uttarakand Government officials claim to have reconstructed the roads to all these places, the disaster has had a very terrifying impact on tourists and hence, tourism is adversely affected. According to Anuj Kumar, Chardham Tours, Uttarakhand, “The number of tourists has drastically reduced after the disaster. As people are scared to travel by road, people are traveling by helicopters.”

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