For centuries, pilgrims trekked hundreds of miles to visit Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines nestled in the Garhwal range of Himalayas in Uttarakhand.
Most of these routes, also undertaken by Adi Shankracharya, vanished after roads were built right up to Badrinath and Gaurikund, the base camp of Kedarnath.
And now, the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) of the Uttarakhand Police has undertaken a new initiative to rediscover these treks that were lost in the vagaries of time.
A 13-member team, headed by Inspector Sanjay Upreti, has been sent to Kedarnath-Badrinath areas, said Director General of Police Ashok Kumar.
"Only 70 years ago, pilgrims used to trek to reach Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines. But after roads were built, these routes were lost. We have made a new initiative to retrace these treks," said Kumar.
The SDRF team, which started its journey on April 20 from Lakshman Jhula area in Rishikesh, has already reached Thakra village near Srinagar town on the borders of Rudraprayag and Pauri districts, covering a distance of more than 140 km along the Ganga river.
"Tomorrow, we will reach Rudraprayag area from where we will divide the team in two to undertake Kedarnath and Badrinath routes in different directions," said Upreti from Thakra village.
The team members, including two women, are carrying ancient literature besides torches and ropes. They will take help of the global positioning system (GPS) to relocate these treks. "We are also taking the help of villagers and sadhus to find these treks," said Upreti.
"If our mission is successful, it will give a boost to the religious and adventure tourism in the area," said Kumar.
A detailed report will be prepared after the team returns, said Kumar.
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