Dehradun: The portals of the Kedarnath temple, which is visited by lakhs of tourists and devotees every year from across the country and abroad, were reopened at 6:10 AM on Wednesday. However, no ‘darshan' for the devotees is allowed at the temple as of now due to the nationwide lockdown enforced to limit the fast-spreading novel coronavirus.
The gates of decked up Kedarnath Temple were opened in the presence of only16 people including the chief priest of the temple.
The chief priest of Kedarnath Temple along with some followers had on Monday taken the Baba Kedarnath’s idol to the shrine.
Satpal Maharaj, Minister for Culture and Tourism in Uttarakhand, had on Tuesday said, “Our tourism has impacted due to lockdown in wake of COVID-19, but our temples are opened. The portals of Gangotri and Yamunotri have already opened. Portals of Baba Kedarnath temple will be open on Wednesday. The first prayers at all the Char Dham will be observed in the name of PM Modi."
The group had left with Baba Kedarnath’s ‘doli’ on Sunday morning from Gaddisthal to Gaurikund. The ‘yatra’ was done on a vehicle till Gaurikund, while the rest on foot to the Kedarnath Dham.
The dates for the pilgrimage are usually decided around the occasion of Shivratri in February and as per the Hindu Panchang in the presence of priests from the Omkareshwar Temple, the Rawal of Bhimashankar Shivling, among others.
However, this year the authorities decided to defer the pilgrimage in the wake of the virus outbreak in a bid to ensure the safety of pilgrims and maintain social distancing norms to prevent the spread of the infection.
Uttarakhand has recorded 52 positive cases of COVID-19 so far, according to the state Health Department informed in a bulletin. There are 18 active cases of COVID-19 and 34 people have recovered from the disease in the state.
With 1,594 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the last 24 hours and 51 deaths, India's total count of coronavirus cases surged to 29,974, as per the data shared by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.