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Wednesday, 04 November, 2020, 11 : 45 AM [IST]

Authorities announce dates of closure for Char Dham temple sites for winter

As winter approaches, a number of holy sites of Hinduism which are in the upper reaches of the Himalayas face a temporary closure. Accordingly, the dates of closure for Uttarakhand's famous Char Dham temple sites — viz. Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri - have been announced, reports Kirti Pandey in Times Now. 

The portals of Gangotri will close on November 15 (Bhai Dooj right after Diwali), Kedarnath and Yamunotri on November 16, whereas portals of Badrinath will close on November 19.

The decision is said to be based on astronomical calculations and was announced by the authorities of Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Board on the occasion of Dussehra. The Additional Chief Executive Officer of the Devasthanam Board BD Singh stated that the portals of Kedarnath will be closed on November 16 at 8:30 am, whereas the Badrinath portal will close on November 19 at 3:35 pm. 

The Kedarnath temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines in India. Located in the Garhwal Himalayan range and on the banks of the Mandakini, the Kedarnath temple is also one of the Char Dham and the Panch Kedar sites in Uttarakhand. 

The ancient architectural stone marvel built with a locking mechanism of the stones and no cement or mortar - is situated at an altitude of 3,584 meters above sea level. The temple remains covered with snow during winter and therefore it remains closed for about 5 months for devotees. 

Badarinath is one of the holy shrines for Vaishnavites among the 108 divya desams incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Badrinath town is also the part of Panch Badri temples including Yog Dhyan Badri, Bhavishya Badri, Adi Badri and Vriddha Badri, along with Badrinath temple.

Suresh Semwal, the president of Gangotri Temple informed that the Gangotri shrine will close on November 15 at 12:15 pm, ie. on the auspicious occasion of Annakoota festival.
Bageshwar Uniyal, the spokesperson of Yamunotri Temple Committee said that the portals of Yamunotri shrine will be closed on November 16 at 12:15 pm on the occasion of Bhai Dooj.
Further to the Chota Char Dham sites of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri, Gangotri, the Tungnath Temple will close on November 4 and the Madmaheshwar temple will close on November 19 at 7 am. The annual Madmaheshwar fair, though, will be held on November 22.

The coronavirus scare had triggered a nationwide lockdown across India from March 25 and initially, only locals were allowed to take part in the Char Dham Yatra to contain the spread of COVID-19. Later on in July, however, the Uttarakhand state government announced that pilgrims from outside the state will also be allowed to visit the Char Dham shrines. Since then devotees have been flocking to these holy sites to complete the yatra before the portals close for winter. 

Kedarnath shrine remains closed for six months during the biting cold winter months. In this period, the holy lingam of Lord Shiva is moved from Garhwal (Kedarkhand) to Ukhimath. At the end of winter, after due religious ceremony and rituals, it is again installed in Kedarnath after the Hindu New Year (Gudi Padwa) and Akshay Tritiya festival. (Source: Times Now)

 
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