As people have struggled to come to terms with the scale of devastation and loss of lives in the flash floods last month, a number of faith-based explanations have taken root in this land fertile with legend and lore.

The Garhwal Himalayas have a disproportionate share of spirituality and mysticism-it is home of the holiest shrines of Hinduism and the ancient Char Dham pilgrimage, the Hemkund Sahib shrine worshipped by the Sikhs and two holy rivers revered across the North Indian plains and beyond.