Why You Should Rethink Your Hilly Trip and Consider Alternative Destinations to Avoid Traffic Woes

Why You Should Rethink Your Hilly Trip and Consider Alternative Destinations to Avoid Traffic Woes

Why You Should Rethink Your Hilly Trip and Consider Alternative Destinations to Avoid Traffic Woes

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The Gangotri-Yamunotri Highway has become a bottleneck, with pilgrims experiencing delays that stretch for several long hours.

23rd May 2024

By Ishika Kumar

The Chardham Yatra, a sacred pilgrimage undertaken by millions, is currently facing severe disruptions and massive traffic congestion, leaving over 26 lakh registered pilgrims in a state of frustration. With the 2024 Yatra ongoing and underway, reports have surfaced about extensive traffic jams and administrative inefficiencies on the Gangotri-Yamunotri Highway, causing significant delays and protests among the devotees.

Massive Traffic Congestion on the Gangotri-Yamunotri Highway

The Gangotri-Yamunotri Highway has become a bottleneck, with pilgrims experiencing delays that stretch for several long hours. The congestion has sparked widespread discontent, and public outrage as pilgrims demand accountability from authorities for poor traffic management. Many could not even complete their darshan at the Yamunotri Dham and were compelled to turn back after hours of being stuck in traffic.

Protests Over Temple Closures

The challenges faced by the pilgrims don’t just end at the extensive traffic jams but also extend to the closure of temples. The temple doors are shut post-evening aarti, which has left thousands of devotees stranded. Unable to complete their pilgrimage, many expressed their frustration over what they perceived as significant administrative shortcomings. 

The lack of basic amenities for those stranded has only added to the turmoil and failure to deliver on assurances and proper bookings, which were made months prior.

Road Construction Fires Up the Travel Woes

Adding fuel to the fire of an already challenging journey is the ongoing road construction work which is taking place along the pilgrimage route. Pilgrims have found themselves trapped for hours without basic facilities such as food and water, in such summer heatwaves, further fueling the protests. Reports indicate a glaring absence of authorities in these troubled areas, exacerbating the situation and leaving many to fend for themselves.

VIP Arrangements Stir Controversy in Badrinath Dham

In the Badrinath Dham, the situation has been particularly tense due to ongoing construction. A VIP gate erected at the site led to significant protests from local traders and priests. This move was in direct violation of the state government’s earlier ban on VIP arrangements in Badrinath Dham. The gate was removed only after sustained protests, highlighting the discord between the local stakeholders and the authorities.

Severe Congestion on the Kedarnath Yatra Route

Since its reopening on 10th May, Kedarnath Dham has seen an influx of over 1.8 lakh pilgrims. This surge has led to severe traffic congestion on key routes, including Byunggad, Fata and Jamu. The heavy traffic has caused considerable delays, affecting the overall pilgrimage experience for many devotees.

Uttarakhand’s Popular Tourist Spots Are No Better

Beyond the Chardham Yatra, popular tourist destinations in Uttarakhand such as Nainital, Bhimtal, Mussoorie and Dehradun are also grappling with severe traffic jams. Reports indicate that tourists and travellers have faced hours-long delays, particularly in areas like Bhimtal, Ranibagh, Bhowali and Kainchi Dham. 

The influx of visitors has led to a significant increase in roadside parking and overcrowding which the local police have failed to manage effectively. This neglect has turned minor traffic issues into full-blown jams, causing many tourists to miss their scheduled trains and delays in onward journeys as well.

Considering Alternatives: Himachal Pradesh

Given the current scenario in Uttarakhand, travellers seeking to escape the summer heat might consider alternative destinations. Himachal Pradesh, with its serene landscapes and cooler climates, offers excellent options. While popular spots like Shimla, Manali and Dharamsala can similarly get overcrowded during their peak seasons, offbeat locations such as Kalpa, Chitkul, Lahaul and Spiti provide a more tranquil and less congested experience. Even Ladakh, with its stunning vistas and unique cultural heritage, is a great alternative for those looking to explore the mountains without the hassle of traffic jams and administrative inefficiencies.

The current travel conditions in Uttarakhand, particularly for the Chardham Yatra, are far from ideal. Severe traffic jams, ongoing construction work and administrative lapses have marred what should be a sacred and fulfilling journey. Pilgrims and tourists alike find their trips disrupted and their plans in disarray.

For those considering a trip to the hills, exploring alternative destinations such as Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh may be wise, where the experience promises to be more enjoyable and less fraught with logistical nightmares. The allure of the mountains remains, but choosing the right destination is key to a memorable and hassle-free holiday.