Zee Media Bureau/Ajith Vijay Kumar
Dehradun: Faith has won over fearful memories of deadly devastation in Uttarakhand. Amid recitals of Vedic hymns and blowing of conch shells, the holy shrine of Badrinath reopened on Monday, a day after prayers began at Kedarnath.
The two other shrines – Gangotri and Yamunotri – which along with Kedarnath and Badrinath constitute the `Chard Dham` had reopened on May 2.
Ishwar Prasad Nambudiri, the new `Rawal` (head priest), opened the doors of the doors to the sanctum sanctorum at Brahm Muhurat (4 am) today and performed rituals, following which assembled devotees offered prayer to Lord Badri-Vishal.
Flanked by the Nar and Narayana mountains and the gushing waters of Alaknanda, Badrinath town reverberated with positive energy after the deathly silence of last year`s tragedy.
25-year-old Ishwar was formally given charge as the acting `Rawal` of the famed Himalayan temple yesterday. The post was lying vacant ever since former `Rawal` B Keshavan Nambudiri was suspended after his arrest for allegedly molesting a women.
Ishwar was earlier serving as `Nayab Rawal` (deputy head priest). He underwent a purification ritual called Tilpatra ceremony to qualify for the post of `Rawal` and also took a vow of celibacy.
As part of the rituals, the Lord, who has come back to his abode after spending the winter in Joshimath was offered a `bhog` comprising of raw rice, split Bengal gram, sugar candy, raw peanuts and Tulsi leaves.
Badrinath temple is located a distance of 24 kilometres from the Indo-China border.
Given the widespread damage caused to the infrastructure in last years floods, the temple management had worked on a war footing to ensure that all the basic needs of the devotees are taken care of.
The state government has also made arrangements to ensure a safe `Char Dham yatra` and is hoping that pilgrims return in numbers to the circuit as the local population depends heavily on the season as their source of livelihood.
However, concerns remains and mostly it is based on the perception that the pilgrimage remains risky.
The yatra was suspended last year in the wake of the catastrophic flashfloods in Uttarakhand in June, killing thousands of people. The Char Dhams are closed every year for nearly six months during the winter when they become snowbound only to be reopened during April-May when lakhs of devotees from all over the country and abroad visit the shrines.