Uttarakhand to start registration for Char Dham Yatra from Feb 20
Online and offline registration for the Char Dham Yatra will begin on February 20 and the pilgrimage process is expected to be smoother than in previous years, an Uttarakhand government official said, reports Ajay Ramola for HT.
Pilgrims can also register on the mobile app of the state tourism department and officials have been directed to complete preparations for the yatra by March 31 and share information with other states so that they can keep devotees in their respective areas informed, Garhwal commissioner Sushil Kumar said.
“A record 46 lakh pilgrims reached Char Dham shrines last year and more pilgrims are expected to reach this year so all the district magistrates on the yatra route have been directed to fix the carrying capacity in each shrine and make arrangements to provide accommodation in the adjoining areas, strengthen the yatra routes, deploy JCBs in sensitive landslide zones and maintain adequate cleanliness, health care arrangements, and waste management facilities during the yatra season.” Kumar said.
Yogendra Singh, CEO, Badrinath Kedarnath Temple Committee, said, “The temple committee has a very narrow timeline in which it has to streamline the darshan for Kedarnath and Badrinath shrines and if the number of devotees reaching the shrines is around 12,000, then it means that the time window for each devotee is only 3 to 5 seconds for darshan.”
He said the committee is developing an application to streamline the darshan process by introducing a token system for general darshans while online registration will be done for special prayers (rudrabhishek).
Women-led self-help groups will be engaged to prepare prasad (holy food) for devotees so that they can benefit from the high footfall at the shrines, Singh said.
District magistrates have been directed to ensure early registration of horses and mules operating in the shrine areas while the transport department has been asked to fix the number of buses going on the Char Dham Yatra route by March 15 along with providing updates on the fitness of vehicles on a daily basis.
Char Dham assistance centres at transit camps will be activated a week prior to the start of the yatra and accommodation and other facilities at Pipilotti, Helang, Pandukehwar and Govind Ghat en route Badrinath in Chamoli district will be increased, said Kumar.
The local business community is opposed to capping of the number of pilgrims to all four major shrines and mandatory online registration.
The daily pilgrim cap set by the state government in May last year for Char Dham shrines was 15,000 pilgrims for Badrinath, 12,000 for Kedarnath, 7,000 for Gangotri and 4,000 for Yamunotri but after opposition limit was increased by 1,000 for the first 45 days of the yatra season.
The Border Road Organisation, the Public Works Department, and the National Highways Authority of India have been directed to stop blasting work before March 31 and install signboards with electronic displays in danger zones.
The Char Dham yatra starts with the opening of the portals of Gangotri and Yamunotri Dham shrines amid Vedic chants on the occasion of Akshay Tritiya (April 22 this year) in Uttarkashi district. Portals of Badrinath Dham shrine will be opened at 7.10am on April 27 this year. The date for the opening of the portals of Kedarnath Dham shrine will be decided on February 18. (Source: HT)