Churdhar alert: Trekkers will have to prove fitness before starting out : The Tribune India

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Churdhar alert: Trekkers will have to prove fitness before starting out

Churdhar alert: Trekkers will have to prove fitness before starting out

Pilgrims travel 17 km on foot from Nohradhar to reach the Churdhar temple.



Pankaj Sharma

Nahan, May 17

A wave of health crises and navigation-related mishaps among pilgrims heading for the Churdhar temple has spurred heightened vigilance from local authorities. The pilgrimage, predominantly embarked upon from Nohradhar in Sirmaur district, entails a 17-km uphill trek through dense forests, frequently resulting in participants getting lost and requiring extensive rescue operations by the police and administration.

Mandatory check-up

  • Churdhar, revered as a significant religious site, is at an altitude of 11,965 feet above sea level. The thin air and low oxygen levels at such heights exacerbate health problems among travellers
  • All travellers must register at Nohradhar before commencing their journey. The process will include a mandatory health check-up to assess their fitness for the trek
  • There are numerous incidents of people losing their way on the Churdhar trek

Churdhar, revered as a significant religious site, is perched at an altitude of 11,965 feet above sea level. The thin air and low oxygen levels at such heights exacerbate health problems of travellers, with many experiencing severe physical deterioration during the ascent. These emergencies often necessitate evacuation, while some pilgrims are forced to abandon their journey midway. Tragically, some medical emergencies have led to deaths.

In response to the escalating number of such incidents, the Sirmaur district administration has implemented stringent measures to ensure the safety of pilgrims. Now, all travellers must register at Nohradhar before commencing their journey. The process will include a mandatory health check-up to assess their fitness for the trek. Sirmaur Deputy Commissioner Sumit Khimta said that night-time trek from Nohradhar to Churdhar was already prohibited, but now more steps are being taken to enhance the safety of the pilgrims. The Sangrah SDM and Nohradhar Tehsildar have been tasked with establishing necessary infrastructure and arrangements at Nohradhar, he added.

Lala Tulsi Ram Chauhan, a founding member of the Churdhar Temple Committee and Chureshwar Seva Samiti, highlighted a long-standing demand for constructing a road from Nohradhar to Chabdhar. The government had allocated approximately Rs 8 crore for the project and construction started, but the work stalled inexplicably. Chauhan added that if the road was completed and properly maintained, it would significantly reduce the distance and difficulty of the journey.

Recently, two American nationals — Richa Abhay Sonawane and Sonia Ratan — were rescued on the way from Nohradhar to Churdhar by two Army helicopters after Sonia experienced a health problem and was stranded at Teesri, about 10 km from Nohradhar. A team comprising officials from the Police, Health and Revenue Departments rushed to the spot to provide immediate medical help to the duo.

There have been more such incidents. On April 16, 2019, a boy from Madhya Pradesh and a girl from Punjab went missing in the area and had to be rescued and airlifted. In 2018, five persons from Haryana lost their way in the forest before being rescued by the administration. On July 2, 2018, Shruti (7) went missing near Teesri and several months later, only her bones could be recovered.

There are numerous accounts of people losing their way on this route. The recent directives from the Sirmaur administration aim to mitigate the risks and to ensure that travellers can undertake this journey with greater safety and support.

However, for the local communities – not too keen about recreational trekking – the road project is of the utmost importance, and they say it would ease the travel to Churdhar, too.

#Nahan #Sirmaur


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