Gopeshwar: The sacred portals of Hemkund Sahib - a famous Sikh shrine in Garhwal Himalayas - will be closed Friday for six months due to the onset of winter during which the area remains snowbound and inaccessible.
Preparations for the ceremonial closure of the doors of the revered shrine have been given finishing touches even as hordes of Sikh pilgrims are arriving at Govindghat and Ghanghariya, the two major halts on way to the temple, to participate in the last prayers of the season, Manager of the Gurudwara said.
After offering final prayers for the season the doors of the shrine situated at 16000 ft above sea level will be closed for six months at forenoon tomorrow, he said.
Immediately after the closure of the temple, the Sikh pilgrims will begin retreating to Govinddham.
Areas around Hemkund Sahib have been receiving light snowfall for the past few days but pilgrims are braving the cold to arrive at the shrine in large numbers.
The number of visitors at the shrine have already touched the 1.8 lakh mark this season, he said.
Though the trek route was heavily damaged in last year's calamity, Hemkund Sahib received more pilgrims this season than the famous Char Dham including Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, he said.
Hemkund sahib is situated at a height of 16000 ft near the famous Badrinath temple in the border district of Chamoli.
A distance of 22 km is traversed from Govindghat to reach Hemkund Sahib.