29 November 2022

Dehradun: Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines this year received over Rs 60 crore in donations, beating the record of Rs 44 crore received during the 2019 Char Dham pilgrimage. The donations, as per the Badri Kedar Temple Committee ( BKTC ), will be used for projects such as better infrastructure and educational facilities at eight Sanskrit colleges and universities run by it as well as upkeep of the 22 Dharamshala operated by it.

BKTC chairman Ajendra Ajay said, ” We have eight Sanskrit colleges and universities at key locations like Mandal, Devprayag, and Joshimath, where students are given free-of-cost education and lodging facilities. Funds are used to improve the infrastructure and meet other requirements. “

Ajay said the 22 Dharamshala las of the committee were providing rooms to devotees at an extremely low rate and ” it required funds to meet the arrangements “. Besides, he said the committee provided food and lodging facilities to seers and people facing financial issues.

donation in Char Dham yatra
donation in Char Dham yatra

Due to curtailed Char Dham yatra in 2020 and 2021 over the Covid pandemic, donations received in both years were in the range of Rs 12 crore to Rs 13 crore. While Kedarnath had 10 lakh visitors in 2019, the number shot up to 15.6 lakh in 2022. Badrinath too witnessed a significant rise as in 2019 the total number of pilgrim footfalls was 12.4 lakh and in 2022 it was 17.6 lakh.

Inspired by the huge response the Char Dham yatra got, plans are afoot to spruce up temples at places like Ukhimath and Triyuginarayan to boost winter religious tourism in the Himalayan state.

Tourism minister Satpal Maharaj said, ” Religious tourism has great potential in the state. We are working on plans to strengthen the infrastructure and provide better facilities to visitors and devotees. ” The tourism department was aiming at having around the year religious tourism, the minister said. ” We are working in this direction and major changes will be visible in the next three years. “

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