SREEDEEP is an independent photographer & Fellow at the Centre for Public Affairs and Critical Theory, Shiv Nadar University.
At an elevation of over eleven thousand feet, the stretch from Lachung to Yumthang Valley is a traveller’s paradise and a common tourist destination for those touring North Sikkim. It is known for its Rhododendron Sanctuary that exhibits dozens of Rhododendron species that remains in the peak of its beauty in spring. The route follows one of the tributaries of Teesta. In the month of March, 2015, a segment of this route was completely destroyed by a devastating landslide that not only damaged the road but the sweeping affect of the landslide was so disastrous that it crushed large chunk of the alpine vegetation and blocked the course of the river, creating a pool of stagnant water. The event went unreported. It escaped the attention of news-makers and remained completely unregistered in the pages of Google probably because it did not cause any loss of human lives as the area is largely uninhabited. While damned projects of water-gating and heavy deforestation are reasons cited for most land-slides in the Himalayan terrain, the factors causing the earthfall on this occasion was unknown. Though its consequences were evidently visually displeasing. The traffic remained suspended for more than a month and it was a mammoth task to restore the route partially. While the tourists complained about the stretch on their way to Yumthang and Zero Point, I got off the vehicle to take a lazy stroll. The signs of the havoc lay barren under the open sky like a war-ridden landscape after the rage.