U’khand: Ya­munotri and Kedar­nath shut

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - Punjab/u'khand - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

RAJEEV KALA/HT

Devo­tees carry the palan­quin of Lord Shiva for the jour­ney from Kedar­nath to Ukhi­math.

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