Modern Artifact of Gartangali : Rajpal Bisht

These days, Uttarkashi’s Garrangali is in discussion. There is still a need for research on who built this path which is about 150 years old. But the people of Uttarkashi know very well Rajpal Bisht, who gave a new look to this bridge of heritage importance. This young contractor, a master of bridge building, eased a risky road. In fact, for this work, the Forest Department and Lonvi had to work hard. 


Seeing its danger, no one else was ready, then Rajpal Bisht came forward. I know his style of work as he is a very old friend. More than profit and loss, their focus remains on the importance of work. Due to constant contact with him, I kept getting all the news of Gartangali’s renovation. Incidentally we are both neighbors in Dehradun. So I was present with him while arranging the cedar wood for the bridge.


The restoration work of Gartangali was to begin in December 2020. But heavy snowfall became a hindrance in this high Himalayan region. When the weather turned fine in February, Rajpal with his six-man team stepped into Gartangali. They were surprised while inspecting the bridge. What would have been the technique of cutting and cutting the rock like this 150 years ago and making a hole on it. 


Whereas then there was no road or petrol diesel or battery operated machines like today. Even today only limited resources can be reached there. Well he started working. But soon the team members started answering. Very strong winds blow in this area in the afternoon. A whirlwind of cold air with dust seems to tear the body apart. He had to prepare another team. It didn’t happen just once, but after changing four teams in four months, the bridge was ready.


Rajpal himself remained on the spot along with a team of expert laborers to build the bridge. There was also a place where the wooden planks had to hang on a standing rock with the help of a safety belt to fit. But there was no place to bury any tree or peg upstairs. Rajpal himself somehow climbed high above the overhang cliff and stuck the rope over the slightly protruding crevices. 


Then the workers hanged towards the ditch and fitted the sleepers here. In another similar place, after the old planks and sleepers were uprooted, the path towards the rock was negligible. There was a straight ditch with a foothold for about fifteen meters. The steps of the workers stopped here. Here also Rajpal covered this distance by sticking to the rock and then got the laborers crossed. This was also the most dangerous spot for work.

After about five months of hard work, the bridge was ready. Now the new look of this bridge with heritage importance is attracting tourists. But that was also the time when no one even looked towards Gartangali. Then this old and dilapidated road was very dangerous. That’s why no one approaches it. Then in October 2011, I first reported a news story to Gartangali. After that attention started getting towards it. People working to promote local tourism started demanding its restoration.


Only a few enthusiastic tourist businessmen reached Gartangali and started walking in its proper part. Then after a lot of struggle, the Forest Department decided to renovate it. Along with the tourism and forest department, the tourism businessmen of Uttarkashi should give respect to the warriors like Rajpal Bisht. Those who give importance to public interest more than profit and loss.