Follow Us:

Poor mobile network in U’khand’s Madmaheshwar breaks digital connectivity with rest of the country

Gondar village is used as a base camp by most of the tourists. As one enters the kitchen of Himalayan Tourist Lodge at Gondar, he will see a mobile phone hanging on a small polythene bag near the window.

Statesman News Service | Dehradun |

A trip down to Rudraprayag’s Madmaheshwar, provide tourists a glimpse of village life and the hurdles they encounter daily. The visitors are left amazed at the warm hospitality of the villagers despite the struggle that the local people go through to remain connected digitally with the rest of the world.

As poor mobile network connectivity prevails from base village Gondar to Madmaheshwar (3,497 Mts), locals have scanned every nook and corner and identified few locations to use mobile phones. They have fixed basic handsets on poles and other places in their houses, so that they can use the signal available for communication.

The Madmaheshwar temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is part of famous Panch Kedars ~ other being Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath and Kalpeshwar. It is believed that Pandavas built the Shiva temple. The middle (Madhya) or belly/navel of the Shiva is worshipped at this shrine located in Uttarakhand Himalayas. The 18 km trek to the temple starts from village Rasi.

Gondar village is used as a base camp by most of the tourists. As one enters the kitchen of Himalayan Tourist Lodge at Gondar, he will see a mobile phone hanging on a small polythene bag near the window.

Rajendra Panwar, owner of the lodge said, “This is the only place where my mobile catches signal. An inch here and there will turn it dead.”

The struggle for receiving better mobile connectivity compels villagers to walk long distances. Bantoli, Upper Bantoli, Khatara, Nanu, Maikhamba Chatti and Kunchatti are the other halting points (Chattis) on the trek to Madmaheshwar.

Villagers living in Upper Bantoli would take a 400 mts uphill trek to use their mobile phone near the forest area. At all the halting points a fixed location for getting mobile signal exists.

At Madmaheshwar, former Gondar Pradhan Bhagat Panwar has fixed his phone on a pole outside his lodge and he says, “It is like a satellite phone. Your smartphone will not operate here, only a basic phone set is required.”

He hangs his phone on the pole from through out the day. The identified spot to fix the phone also indicates the hard work made by the locals in identifying the mobile signal catchingspot. The minute research done!

The Madmaheshwar temple is managed by the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board and the poor connectivity poses hurdles to temple staff.

Recently a VIP visited Madmaheshwar, but the temple staff had little information about the tour, when the officer quizzed they just gave a flat reply, “we don’t get WhatsApp connectivity here,’ to utter surprise of the guest. When the temple staff fails to get mobile connectivity near the shrine premises and have urgent call to make, they trek one km uphill at Buddha Madmaheshwar to communicate.