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Landslides kill 3 at base camp of a Hindu temple in northern India and 17 others are still missing

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Torrential rains have triggered a landslide at a base camp of a revered Hindu temple in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand, killing three people

ByBISWAJEET BANERJEE Associated Press

LUCKNOW, India — Torrential rains triggered a landslide at a base camp of a revered Hindu temple in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand, killing three people, officials said Saturday.

At least 17 others were reported missing in the village of Gaurikund in Uttarakhand state, said Nandan Singh Rajwar, a top official of the region’s Disaster Management unit. The missing included members of two families and a few pilgrims, he said.

The landslides were reported on Thursday night when a portion of a hill caved in because of torrential rain. Giant boulders fell on roadside shops and eateries that got swept away in the fast-flowing Mandakini River.

Rajwar said rescue teams resumed their search on Saturday but efforts were hampered by heavy rains in the area.

“The (rescue) teams could only recover three bodies until Friday evening,” Rajwar said, as rescue operations were suspended due to the onslaught of rain and limited visibility.

Gaurikund, nestled in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand, has long been a starting point for thousands of devout pilgrims embarking on the spiritual journey to the revered Kedarnath temple, one of the holiest sites for Hindus. The picturesque region attracts both tourists and religious devotees from all over the world.

The area has been grappling with heavy downpours since Wednesday, but pilgrims have still continued their spiritual journey. The temple has so far attracted over 1 million visitors this year and the pilgrimage is scheduled to continue until mid-November.

Over 6,000 people were killed or went missing in a devastating flash flood in 2013 in the same area that washed away the temple town of Kedarnath and some residential buildings built near the pilgrimage route.

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