Since 1997 the Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal (HRA) started providing the pilgrims information about altitude related sicknesses and medical services at Gosaikunda. It is situated at an altitude of 4,380 meters above sea level and is very famous religious lake. Every year thousands of pilgrims from different part visit this lake during Ekadashi & Janaipurnima Festival.
Gosainkunda is believed to have been created by Lord Shiva when he thrust his Trishul (holy Trident) into a mountain to extract water so that he could cool his stinging throat after he had swallowed poison.
Gosainkunda is located at very high altitude and pilgrims try to ascend fast and they are prone to get Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). They are not aware of the symptoms of AMS and other mountain hazards.
The association has been organizing such a medical camp every year during Janaipurnima festival when thousands of pilgrims and trekkers visit Gosaikunda to take a holy dip in the lake.HRA is not only treating the patient but also spreading the information about altitude illness by distributing brochures about Gosainkunda and altitude sickness to the pilgrims. HRA organizes a talk program for the people of Bhaktapur, Madhyapur Thimi and Surya Binayak municipality to provide information about altitude sickness and Gosainkunda prior to the festival of Janaipurnima.
Most of the pilgrims have not been found to be aware of the symptoms of the Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). They may suffer from AMS, but they feel that they have committed sins and became ill. With such superstitious beliefs, they try harder their attempt to reach Gosaikunda at any cost. As they do not take care of their health, they ignore the symptoms of AMS and climb up faster. This may ultimately lead them to death.
Some people believe in the misconception that the consumption of garlic, mountain pepper, ginger, lemon, hashish, alcoholic drinks, among others, help them walk faster without any problem. They consume and climb up with a feeling of competition. Due to their unawareness, some of them get severely ill.
Some prilgrims make the whole trip from Dhunche to Gosaikunda in one day and suffer from complications of AMS or High Altitude Pulmonary Edema and High Altitude Cerebral Edema or both.Keeping these aspects in mind, HRA operates a temporary medical camp at Gosaikunda during the festival of Janaipurnima each year.
The Number of Patients (2006 – 2019)
|Year||Number of Patients|
|2016||550 (15 Severe)|
|2017||172 (5 Severe)|
|2018||433 (22 Severe)|
|2019||589 (50 Severe)|
We are very grateful to the Mountain Medicine Society of Nepal (MMSN) for their great help by providing doctors every year for the health camp. Similarly, our acknowledgement goes to District Coordination Committee Rasuwa, Gosainkunda Rural Municipality, DHO Rasuwa, Langtang National Park, Nepal Army Rasuwa, District Police Rasuwa and Gosainkunda Area Development Committee for there help and support.