29 November 2022

Dehradun / Uttarkashi: Kedarnath and Yamunotri shrines closed for six – a month winter break on Thursday, on the occasion of Bhai Dooj. The process of closing the portals of Kedarnath started at 4 am and the shrine was shut at 8:30 am amid the chanting of mantras by priests and devotional tunes played by the Indian Army’s 11th Maratha Regiment. The palanquin of lord Shiva left Kedarnath for Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath, which is the winter abode of the deity.

Badri Kedar Temple Committee ( BKTC ) chairman Ajendra Ajay, teeth purohits, and Rudraprayag district officials were present on the occasion. Earlier in the day, a palanquin carrying Some Ishwar ( Shani ) devta, believed to be the brother of goddess Yamuna, reached the Yamunotri shrine to escort his sister back home. This shrine closed after the goddess was shifted to her winter abode at Kharsali. Suresh Uniyal, secretary, of Yamunotri temple said, ” Char committee, Dham yatra is the backbone of the Himalayan state’s economy and hopefully, the number of pilgrims will go up in coming years.

Kedarnath, and Yamunotri portals close
Kedarnath, and Yamunotri portals close

All four Char Dham shrines recorded the highest footfall ever this year. Around 15,60,000 pilgrims visited Kedarnath and 4,85,688 visited Yamunotri. Before this, the highest footfall at these shrines was recorded in 2019, when Kedarnath recorded around 10 lakh pilgrims ( up from 7.3 lakh devotees in 2018 and 4.7 lakh in 2017 ) and Yamunotri recorded a footfall of 4,66,699 ( up from 3,93,943 in 2018 and 3,97,100 in 2017 ).

Gangotri, which closed on Wednesday, saw a total of 6,24,516 tourists this year, up from 5,30,097 in 2019 and 4,77,975 in 2018.

Badrinath, which will close on November 19, has already seen around 16.5 pilgrims, surpassing the all-time high record of 12.5 lakh pilgrims in 2019. This shrine in Chamoli saw around 10.5 lakh pilgrims in 2018 and around 9.2 lakh in 2017.

Chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami ” We are constantly trying to provide better facilities to devotees coming to Kedarnath and the other three Char Dham shrines. For the overwhelming response, this year would like to thank and appreciate the efforts of all stakeholders involved in this process. “

The CM said that ” phase 1 ” of development projects at Char Dham was completed and ” phase 2 ” will soon start.

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