With the Rishikesh-Kedarnath National Highway blocked at Doliyadevi near Fata and intermittent rains continuing, district authorities Thursday decided to keep the Kedarnath yatra suspended till July 26.
Time, it is said, is a great healer. For the hundreds of villagers in Uttarakhand who lost their homes and livelihoods in the flash floods last June 16 and for the thousands all over the country whose loved ones were washed away by the swirling waters, the passage of time has brought no solace. It has, however, added to their pain and anguish for nothing has changed in the hill state, touted as "Gods Own Land".
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Saturday announced an elaborate reconstruction and rehabilitation programme for Kedarnath shrine and surrounding areas including erecting protective walls around the famed temple.
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.
Despite government endeavours to ensure safety of pilgrims and completing infrastructure development before the Char Dham yatra begins, officials feel that the fear psychosis of last year`s calamity will affect the flow of visitors to Kedarnath and other Himalayan shrines this year.
Fresh snowfall in higher reaches and moderate showers in plains in Uttarakhand have left two highways leading to Kedarnath and Badrinath shrines in Garhwal Himalayas blocked, raising worries about timely start of the annual Char Dham pilgrimage on May two.
With just a fortnight to go for the start of the annual Char Dham pilgrimage, Uttarakhand government is giving final touches to preparations for the yatra route to ensure a smooth and trouble-free journey for the devotees en route to the four Himalayan shrines.
BJP`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi`s wife Jashodaben, who has so far led a solitary life after being abandoned by her husband, has disappeared ever since the Gujarat Chief Minister accepted for the first time that he is married.
Biometric registration of devotees and facilities like SMS alerts in case of an emergency are among a slew of steps being taken by the state government in view of the char dham pilgrimage scheduled to begin in May this year.
Gates of the famous Badrinath shrine will be closed for devotees from Monday, ending this year`s `Char Dham` yatra which was marred by the June rain fury and remained suspended for nearly three months.