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Bijli Mahadev Cleaning Campaign

Solid Waste Management in Sacred grove of Kullu Valley: A case study of Bijli Mahadev Cleaning Area.

Bijli Mahadev is one of the sacred temples of Kullu District in Himachal Pradesh. It is located at an altitude of about 2,438 m. Located 10 km from Kullu across the Beas River; it can be approached by a rewarding trek of 3 km.A 360 degree panoramic view of Kullu and Paravati valleys can be seen from the temple. The 60 feet high staff of BijliMahadev temple glistens like a silver needle in the sun.In this temple of lightning it is believed that the tall staff attracts the divine blessings in the form of lightning which shatters the shiv linga to pieces and the priest of the temple has to restore the Shiva linga inside the temple using butter and sattoo.This mountain top is not under municipality area of Kullu and thus is bereft of the basic civic amenities. One major problem NGO noticed was that of garbage disposal.Very few dustbins are installed around the temple and those too are in poor condition.Most of the garbage is burnt by the people which adds to the air pollution problem. Burning the waste is not the final solution to manage garbage. Some of the non-government agencies have done their best to manage the waste every year but that too was not satisfactory. Most of the agencies collect garbage from the area surrounding the temple but they do not cover the 3 km route to this place which is the ‘garbage prone area.

This year Approximately 10,000 pilgrims pass through this route every day in the Savan month and they Bring along these non-biodegradable wastes like plastic bottles, chips’ packets etc. They litter as there is no provision of dustbins.YATN found that most of the garbage sources are small tea stalls on the track which sell these snacks, mineral water etc. Also the langar during this holy month was served in plastic plates. On a two day survey YATN found 10 quintals non-biodegradable waste (NBW) that comprises mostly of the plastic wrappers and bottles littered around. According to the members of YATN, the motive is not only to collect and transport waste but to make people aware of its management and disposal. Some of the pilgrims were interviewed and they accepted their unawareness. Some of the pilgrims came forward and volunteered to collect waste with others. According to our study, people need awareness camps and technique to manage this menace.

Kullu based NGO YATN, a non-profit organization took an initiative last year for collection of garbage &awareness amongst people for this serious environmental issue.In 2012 last year also we organized cleaning campaign like this. Last year we worked here only on two Sunday of Savanmonth but this year we worked here for whole month. Last year we did cleaning & awareness only amongst pilgrims through pamphlets. But this year we installed temporary dustbins in the shape of Kiltas, Gunny bags, and cement bags. Which later our volunteers offloading after every 3-4 days and dumped into big dustbins of Kullu city & Dumping site of Kullu municipality. YATN members asked pilgrims for transport these bags on their vehicles to Kulluand dumped there. YATN members distributed 10000 awareness pamphlets and posted 200 posters and 50 banners.We started a signature campaign also in which we got 1234 appreciation signatures. We involved people through our free garbage bags distribution. YATN members distributed 1000 garbage bags to pilgrims free of cost and asking them to take their own garbage and other littered garbage on the way to temple or surroundings area of holy place. We awarded them with appreciation certificates and kind words. We distributed special appreciation certificates and YATN Badges, t-shirts to kids and youth for their contribution and their involvement in our campaign for encouragement. This year we talked with shopkeepers also and requested them to use dustbins. We awarded some shopkeepers also for co-operation with us and taking care of their surroundings. We have seen drastic changes this year in the habits of people. Evan we found local people were also awaked and taking this issue seriously. After our two years observation on solid waste in three kilometers track 70% Non-bio degradable waste NBW is minimized. Our efforts in future are to make this track with zero waste area and a role model to the higher altitude sacred grove.

YATN asked help for district administration on this issue before starting our campaign but they didn’t take seriously. We met with deputy commissioner several times on this serious issue and gave them a project proposal also. They called us after when we finished our event for a meeting only and assured us will do something in future. We arranged all the expenses and other things by our own. People appreciated our efforts and helped us financially as well as morally also. We spent near about ₹ 25000-30000 on our campaign. Otherwise it’s very tough to work there on Height Mountains. For technical advice research institute and Scientist assured us for any technical help in future on any issue.

Suggestions can flow in from all directions but they have to be put to use.

  • Most important is Installation of Dustbins. They should install not only inside the temple area but also on the track to holy place and surroundings also. For their offloading people should depute.
  • Hoardings or Boards of no littering should display on the track and surroundings of holly temple.
  • Temporary shops should be removed from the surroundings of the temple area and ground. Evan they don’t having any permission from any authority to run their shops. The most of the NBW littered are sold by these shops.
  • The things like Chuni,Prasad in plastic packets etc. should not allow to tribute in temple.
  • The plastic plates used for servinglangars can be replaced by the traditional pattals made out of leaves. For Halva distribution paper plates should use.
  • Green tax or other charges at minimum level (₹ 5 to 10) should be implemented by district body and provision of garbage collection bags to the every pilgrimage.
  • Bio-composting pits should be constructed near to temple in sunny sites because all the waste food oflanger should be treated in good ways.
  • Awareness programme and camps from time to time.
  • Mandir Committee should take responsibility of all the work.
  • No permission forpicnic and other activities.
  • All the responsibility of Solid waste management in sacred grove should be taken by government.

People are aware to some extent of how the environment would be influenced by such negligence which will create bigger problems in future. But they don’t have any idea how to dispose of this waste. So government agencies and NGO’s should come forward to make people aware and save these eco sensitive high mountain tops. Solid waste is not a problem if people know the solution. For the solution of solid waste management government agencies and NGO’s should arrange awareness programme and camps from time to time.People should be motivated to contribute towards the society.

Awareness camps should be organized at schools where kids should be made aware of the adverse impact of pollution on their land.They should be made a part of such drives so that a sense of responsibility arises in them. Mahilamandals also actively participate in such activities so their involvement is also crucial.Women folk in the village areas should be made aware of segregating bio degradable waste from non-biodegradable waste.Another good option is imposing fine on whosoever litters and involving local youth in identifying such miscreants. Dustin bin should be installed according to garbage prone points. During Savan month every day waste should be collected from all dustbins. Awareness programmes should be encouraged by district body (Municipal committee) or NGOs time to time during Savan month. Non-biodegradable waste (NBW) should be segregated at municipal management plant at Pirdi (Mohal) and treated with recycles and reuse technique.At last NGO members would like to thank all the volunteers and Kullu administration who made this cleaning campaign successful.


Fig a: Track to BijliMahadev from Kullu a) On foot 3 km track and garbage prone points and requirements of dustbins.


Fig b: Location of BiljliMahadev and distance from Kullu.

BijliMahadev Track –Required dustbin locations with the help of GPS ‘Garmin 60csx’

Sr. No. Latitude and Longitude Elevation (in Mt.) Name of Place
1. 31°57’29.78″N and 77° 6’33.52″E 1229 Dhalpur
2. 31°58’30.48″N and 77° 7’30.85″E 1210 ‘Ramshilla Bridge’
3. 31°56’17.74″N and 77° 8’07.43″E 1875 Bus Stop at Chansari Village
4. 31°56’26.27″N and 77° 8’18.16″E 2013 Last Parking Point
5. 31°56’23.93″N and 77° 8’22.63″E 2040 Dustbin Location
6. 31°56’17.14″N and 77° 8’25.78″E 2061 Dustbin Location
7. 31°56’15.69″N and 77° 8’27.38″E 2081 Dustbin Location
8. 31°56’14.57″N and 77° 8’27.44″E 2083 Tea Stall
9. 31°56’15.38″N and 77° 8’27.95″E 2088 Cafe/Restaurant
10. 31°56’15.42″N and 77° 8’28.30″E 2093 Dustbin Location
11. 31°56’15.77″N and 77° 8’28.61″E 2096 Tea/Snacks
12. 31°56’11.47″N and 77° 8’34.40″E 2110 Dustbin Location
13. 31°56’14.12″N and 77° 8’29.61″E 2111 Dustbin Location
14. 31°56’14.49″N and 77° 8’29.82″E 2113 Restaurant
15. 31°56’11.47″N and 77° 8’34.40″E 2153 Dustbin Location
16. 31°55’57.11″N and 77° 8’45.85″E 2291 Dustbin Location
17. 31°55’50.02″N and 77° 8’50.49″E 2394 Last Tea/Snacks Shop
18. 31°55’39.86″N and 77° 8’55.82″E 2402 Dustbin Location
19. 31°55’38.37″N and 77° 8’55.50″E 2400 Dustbin Location
20. 31°55’38.53″N and 77° 8’55.95″E 2402 Coffee Shop
21. 31°55’38.95″N and 77° 8’56.30″E 2403 Dustbin Location
22. 31°55’38.97″N and 77° 8’56.85″E 2404 Tea/Snacks
23. 31°55’38.08″N and 77° 8’58.26″E 2408 Tea Shop
24. 31°55’37.40″N and 77° 8’58.34″E 2408 Dustbin Location
25. 31°55’33.98″N and 77° 8’59.55″E 2415 Dustbin Location
26. 31°55’27.07″N and 77° 9’0.37″E 2440 Dustbin Location
27. 31°55’25.56″N and 77° 9’0.87″E 2441 Dustbin Location
28. 31°55’24.62″N and 77° 9’0.85″E 2438 Dustbin Location
29. 31°55’25.34″N and 77° 9’1.20″E 2438 Dustbin Location
30. 31°55’24.62″N and 77° 9’0.85″E 2447 Dustbin Location

Looking For a Better Future

Green Kullu Clean Kullu