Kedarnath turns into a ghost town

Monsoon’s fury gushed into Kedarnath town from the summit behind the famous temple, carrying rocks and boulders, destroying everything on its path. Three days of incessant rain washed down a whole state and turned a holy pilgrimage centre into nothing short of a ghost town.

When clouds burst over the sacred mountains,

even gods could not protect them. In the elemental fury of water and falling

hills, the dead multiplied on ravaged terrains and the living struggled in vain

to reach the far shores of survival. In one of its worst monsoons, the state of

Uttarakhand became a watery graveyard for hundreds and a monumental reminder of

how nature's rage can be compounded by man's callousness. The day after on

Ground Zero said it all.

Rotting corpses contaminating water sources and poor sanitation could lead to a serious outbreak of diseases such as cholera and dysentery. With many bodies still buried under 5-10 feet high mounds of debris in the Kedarnath Valley area, the threat of an epidemic due to decaying corpses looms large.

The floods and landslides have been dubbed a "Himalayan tsunami" due to the torrents of water unleashed in the hilly region, which sent mud crashing down, burying homes and other buildings.



Rescuers make final push in Uttarakhand

In this picture taken June 25, 2013, vehicles wait on the either side following a landslide due to heavy rains between Rudraprayag and Srinagar. Around 1,000 people have been killed in flash floods and landslides in northern India, as a top official warned June 24 that rebuilding of the devastated Himalayan region would take years. AFP PHOTO/MANAN VATSYAYANA

Rescuers make final push in Uttarakhand Rescuers make final push in Uttarakhand

Damaged houses are seen precariously above the flash flood-eroded Mandakini river in the town of Tilwara, around 30kms from Rudraprayag, on June 26, 2013. Around 1,000 people have been killed in flash floods and landslides in northern India, as a top official warned June 24 that rebuilding of the devastated Himalayan region would take years. AFP PHOTO/MANAN VATSYAYANA

Rescuers make final push in Uttarakhand

In this handout photograph received from the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) on June 26, 2013, ITBP personnel are seen during rescue operations through the collapsed roof of a house in Uttarkashi in northern Uttarakhand state. Around 1,000 people have been killed in flash floods and landslides in northern India, as a top official warned June 24 that rebuilding of the devastated Himalayan region would take years. AFP PHOTO/ITBP

Rescuers make final push in Uttarakhand

In this handout photograph received from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) on June 27, 2013, Indian defence personnel assist stranded civilians in crossing a raging river near the Pindari Glacier area of northern Uttarakhand state. Rescue workers stepped up the search for bodies June 27 in India's flood ravaged north, as mass cremations of victims already discovered got underway amid fears of outbreaks of disease , officials and reports said. AFP PHOTO / MOD

Rescuers make final push in Uttarakhand

In this handout photograph received from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) on June 27, 2013, Indian defence personnel assist a stranded civilian to safety beside a raging river near the Pindari Glacier area of northern Uttarakhand state. Rescue workers stepped up the search for bodies June 27 in India's flood ravaged north, as mass cremations of victims already discovered got underway amid fears of outbreaks of disease , officials and reports said. AFP PHOTO / MOD

Rescuers make final push in Uttarakhand

An Indian security official gestures to clear the road in front of portraits of missing pilgrims pasted on the gates of the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, state capital of Uttarakhand, on June 26, 2013. Around 1,000 people have been killed in flash floods and landslides in northern India, as a top official warned June 24 that rebuilding of the devastated Himalayan region would take years. AFP PHOTO/MANAN VATSYAYANA

Rescuers make final push in Uttarakhand

An Indian security official clears the road in front of portraits of missing pilgrims pasted on the gates of the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, state capital of Uttarakhand, on June 26, 2013. Around 1,000 people have been killed in flash floods and landslides in northern India, as a top official warned June 24 that rebuilding of the devastated Himalayan region would take years. AFP PHOTO/MANAN VATSYAYANA

Rescuers make final push in Uttarakhand

Indian security personnel stand guard at an entrance gate - seen covered with portraits of missing pilgrims - of the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, state capital of Uttarakhand, on June 26, 2013. Around 1,000 people have been killed in flash floods and landslides in northern India, as a top official warned June 24 that rebuilding of the devastated Himalayan region would take years. AFP PHOTO/MANAN VATSYAYANA

Rescuers make final push in Uttarakhand

In this handout photograph received from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) on June 27, 2013, Indian flash flood evacuees board a truck as heavy rain falls at Govindghat in northern Uttarakhand state. Rescue workers stepped up the search for bodies June 27 in India's flood ravaged north, as mass cremations of victims already discovered got underway amid fears of outbreaks of disease , officials and reports said. AFP PHOTO / ITBP

Rescuers make final push in Uttarakhand

Indian pilgrims, who were stranded in the Kedarnath region of northern Uttarkhand due to heavy rains and landslides, gesture on arrival at the railway station in Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad on June 25, 2013. Indian officials stepped up efforts on June 25 to prevent an outbreak of disease in the northern Himalayan region devastated by landslides and flash floods, as rains hampered the rescue of thousands still stranded. AFP PHOTO / Noah SEELAM

Rescuers make final push in Uttarakhand

In this handout photograph received from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) on June 27, 2013 rescued people arrive at Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun in the northern Uttarakhand state. Rescue workers stepped up the search for bodies June 27 in India's flood ravaged north, as mass cremations of victims already discovered got underway amid fears of outbreaks of disease , officials and reports said. AFP PHOTO / MOD / NARESH KUMAR

Rescuers make final push in Uttarakhand

In this handout photograph received from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) on June 27, 2013 medical personel check rescued people at Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun in the northern Uttarakhand state. Rescue workers stepped up the search for bodies June 27 in India's flood ravaged north, as mass cremations of victims already discovered got underway amid fears of outbreaks of disease , officials and reports said. AFP PHOTO / MOD / NARESH KMAR

Rescuers make final push in Uttarakhand

In this handout photograph received from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) on June 27, 2013 personel transport a rescued person on a stretcher from a helicopter at Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun in the northern Uttarakhand state. Rescue workers stepped up the search for bodies June 27 in India's flood ravaged north, as mass cremations of victims already discovered got underway amid fears of outbreaks of disease , officials and reports said. AFP PHOTO / MOD / NARESH KUMAR

Rescuers make final push in Uttarakhand

Damaged houses are seen precariously above the flash flood-eroded Mandakini river in the town of Tilwara, around 30kms from Rudraprayag, on June 26, 2013. Around 1,000 people have been killed in flash floods and landslides in northern India, as a top official warned June 24 that rebuilding of the devastated Himalayan region would take years. AFP PHOTO/MANAN VATSYAYANA

Bad weather, landslides hurt rescue ops in Uttarakhand

In this handout photograph received from the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) on June 25, 2013, members of the ITBP rescue stranded people with the help of mountaineering ropes and ladders in Uttarkashi in northern Uttarakhand state. Indian officials stepped up efforts on June 25 to prevent an outbreak of disease in the northern Himalayan region devastated by landslides and flash floods, as rains hampered the rescue of thousands still stranded. AFP PHOTO/ITBP

Bad weather, landslides hurt rescue ops in Uttarakhand

Indian worker and a policeman push a motorcyclist on a damaged section of road between Rudraprayag and Gauchar, at Gauchar on June 25, 2013, after flash flooding hit the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. Some 1000 people have been killed in flash floods and landslides in northern India, as a top official warned that rebuilding of the devastated Himalayan region would take years. AFP PHOTO/MANAN VATSYAYANA

Bad weather, landslides hurt rescue ops in Uttarakhand

In this handout photograph received from the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) on June 25, 2013, members of the ITBP assist a young girl near Badrinath in northern Uttarakhand state. Indian officials stepped up efforts on June 25 to prevent an outbreak of disease in the northern Himalayan region devastated by landslides and flash floods, as rains hampered the rescue of thousands still stranded. AFP PHOTO/ITBP

Bad weather, landslides hurt rescue ops in Uttarakhand

An elderly Indian man looks out as he drives past a damaged section of road between Rudraprayag and Gauchar, at Gauchar on June 25, 2013, after flash flooding hit the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. Some 1000 people have been killed in flash floods and landslides in northern India, as a top official warned that rebuilding of the devastated Himalayan region would take years. TOPSHOTS AFP PHOTO/MANAN VATSYAYANA

Bad weather, landslides hurt rescue ops in Uttarakhand

In this handout photograph received from the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) on June 25, 2013, members of the ITBP revive a stranded person at Pandukeshwar in northern Uttarakhand state. Indian officials stepped up efforts on June 25 to prevent an outbreak of disease in the northern Himalayan region devastated by landslides and flash floods, as rains hampered the rescue of thousands still stranded. AFP PHOTO/ITBP

Bad weather, landslides hurt rescue ops in Uttarakhand

Indian workers load packaged water bottles and relief supplies onto a carriage of the 'Ahmedabad-Haridwar Mail' train at Kalupur railway station in Ahmedabad on June 25, 2013. Two truck loads of relief material including packaged water, dry snacks, clothes and other items which have been donated have been dispatched from Ahmedabad to Haridwar for flood survivors in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. AFP PHOTO/Sam PANTHAKY

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