The scientific community is still struggling to understand what was behind the floods caused by the bursting of a glacier in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The answer lies in history as well as on current developmental issues, we cannot deny this.A study of the archaeological record and archival evidence shows that various agents and processes played an important role in gradually transforming the Dev Bhoomi into a sacred landscape. Artifacts found in the foothills of Himalayas that span the period 300 BCE and 600 CE indicate deep contact between Gangetic plains and communities living in the foothills. The development over time developed Haridwar and Kalsi as metropolitan cities and as ‘gateways’ to the Himalayas.Eventually, in the seventh century, a regional tradition of stone temple architecture began in the Uttarakhand Himalayas. The earliest pilgrimage sites of this tradition were built at Palathi and Lakhamandal, upstream from Haridwar and Kalsi. Additionally, both Badrinath and Kedarnath are associated with Adi Shankaracharya, who is said to have visited the same in the eighth century. Probably his followers played a role in the construction of temples at Pandukeshwar, where medieval edicts built in the Dravidian and Nagar modes stood side by side.Uttarakhand is situated amid young and unstable mountains and is subject to intense rainfall. The 2013 floods and flash-floods in Kedarnath that swept into the Alaknanda Valley earlier caused heavy destruction. These distractions suggest that the Handed Development in the name of God can bring a terrifying scene. Over the years geologists, glaciologists and climatologists have voiced their fears about the disaster caused by climate change, rapid and indiscriminate construction activities, and subsequent ecological destruction in the region. Experts identified large-scale deforestation as a possible trigger for the expansion of human settlements and agricultural activities.Hindu Kush Himalaya Evaluation Report (2019) had stated that one-third of the glacier of Hindu Kush Himalayas would melt by 2100 even after the completion of all commitments under Paris Agreement. It also warned that any ecologically destructive activities could lead to high-intensity disasters such as landslides. Experts and activists have consistently asked for an investigation into the construction of hydropower projects in Uttarakhand. An Expert Committee led by Dr. Ravi Chopra, set up to assess the role of dams in the floods caused by the floods, provided hard evidence on how much damage the region is suffering from heavy construction of the dams.The need of the hour now is to invest in long-term crisis response mechanisms and resilience solutions. Some immediate resilience plans include, in particular, implementing flood prevention and road stabilisation techniques and strengthening existing structures such as bridges, culverts, and tunnels, strengthening embankments with adequate scientific know-how, re-development of hydropower and other public infrastructure Doing, investing in a robust monitoring and early warning system, establishing enforceable policies and regulatory guidelines to prohibit harmful human activities, including responsible environmental and religious tourism policies, to effectively prevent and manage risks. To educate and empower communities, it is extremely important to invest in training and capacity building.The time for wake-up calls is far behind us. India is in dire need to restore and rebuild a resilient future for Uttarakhand, as it has emerged as the Himalayan Devbhoomi and has developed the center of Hindu pilgrimage but natural disasters are making it destructive. Given the recent ecological fragilities over the past decade, it is time to have long-term crisis response mechanisms and solutions to protect people as well as to protect heritage sites.Priyanka Saurabh
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