A tour operator, Ravi had set out on the Char Dham pilgrimage with a group of 20 men and women, including his mother and relatives, from Doodhbowli, Yapral & Petbasheerabad on June 2
Ravi Goud is devastated. He is hounded by the nightmares of Uttarakhand’s Himalayan Tsunami that devoured the lives of his mother Uma Rani and 10 other close relatives even as he managed to save other pilgrims of his group.
Group of 20
A tour operator, Ravi had set out on the Char Dham pilgrimage with a group of 20 men and women, including his mother and relatives, from Doodhbowli, Yapral and Petbasheerabad on June 2.
And, the shocking part is that he thought he had moved his mother and relatives to a ‘safe’ cottage when water began gushing in at Kedarnath on June 16 night.
He then went in search of other pilgrims and managed to even locate them scouring all through the night amid the hilly terrain.
However, he was horrified after realising that the cottage, where his mother and relatives were put up, had vanished.
“There was no trace. Only mounds of mud with swirling waters flowing over them,” he says, breaking down.
Caught by surprise
Ravi and his father have been organising north India tours for over two decades. In the current season, the party reached Kedarnath after visiting other places and checked into cottages close to the temple when the deluge happened.
“It was raining when we reached Kedarnath, and the intensity of the rain increased by night. In the dead of the night, we woke up to deafening sounds and thought it to be an earthquake,” Ravi recalls with a shudder.
Minutes later, he and others realised it was a landslide and ran out in the dark along with hundreds of pilgrims from neighbouring buildings with no idea as to where to take shelter.
He first rushed to his mother’s cottage and took her as well as 10 other close relatives – Vidyavathi, Sujatha, Chandrakala, Bharati, Shobha, Andalu, Amrutha, Sakkubai, Shwetha and Vidya Sagar – to another cottage which already housed nearly 100 pilgrims.
Search proves futile
Ravi then left in search of other members of the group, little realising it would be his last sight of his mother. He and other survivors wandered amid the hillocks, gulping flood waters now and then to keep themselves alive. Army helicopters later airlifted the survivors and brought them to Dehradun from where they were ferried to Delhi before they returned to the city by road on Monday.