U’khand: Yamunotri and Kedarnath shut
DEHRADUN: The portals of Kedarnath and Yamunotri shrines were closed on Friday for the winter recess after elaborate prayer ceremonies. The Gangotri temple was closed on Thursday while the Badrinath shrine would close for winter on November 20.
During the closure of Kedarnath gates, 1,785 pilgrims were present as palanquin carrying the idol of lord Shiva, to whom the shrine is dedicated, began its ceremonial descent towards Ukhimath in Rudraprayag. Goddess Yamuna will stay put at Khushimath (Kharsali).
“The palanquin will reach Vishwanath temple in Guptakashi on Saturday and Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath on Sunday. For the next six months, devotees will be able to offer their prayers there (Ukhimath),” said Harish Gaur, of the Badri-Kedar temple committee.
As per the temple committee’s records, 7.32 lakh devotees had visited the temple this year, the highest in the past seven years. Last year, 4.71 lakh devotees had visited Kedarnath.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the shrine on Diwali and offered prayers.
The portals to Yamunotri were also closed on Friday at 12.15pm. As per officials of the Yamunotri Temple Committee, over 2,500 people were present. The palanquin carrying the idol of goddess Yamuna reached Khushimath, where devotees can offer prayers for the next six months.
Members of temple committee raised the issue of reconstruction of the temple before the district magistrate, who was present on the occasion. The temple suffered heavy damage in July after excessive rainfall.
“Despite multiple requests by us, no one in the state administration has taken the initiative of reconstructing the temple. So when the portals open again after six months, we might have to take the matters in our own hand.
“Since the walking path leading to the temple is damaged, we will block the way. We cannot put lives of the devotees in danger,” said Pawan Uniyal, former vicepresident of Yamunotri temple committee.
■ Devotees carry the palanquin of Lord Shiva for the journey from Kedarnath to Ukhimath. RAJEEV KALA/HT