‘Publicity must to promote winter pilgrimage to Uttarakhand’
Coming on the back of a pilgrim footfall of over 21 lakh during the summer pilgrimage, winter tourism may hold strong potential if publicised well by the state government, experts said.dehradun Updated: Oct 22, 2017 20:45 IST
Three of the Char Dham shrines may have closed down for winters, but there is hardly any buzz about pilgrimage to the winter seats of the four shrines.
Coming on the back of a pilgrim footfall of over 21 lakh during the summer pilgrimage, winter tourism may hold strong potential if publicised well by the state government, experts said.
The portals of Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri have closed down for winters, while those of Badrinath will close on November 19. Over 21.45 lakh pilgrims undertook the Char Dham Yatra since its commencement on April 28 this year (till October 21).
“There’s a need to highlight the significance of the winter seats of the Char Dham shrines. For that, the government should intensify efforts to publicise the winter pilgrimage and convince people from around the country to visit Uttarakhand for it,” said retired senior bureaucrat S S Pangtey, considered an authority in Uttarakhand tourism. “Timely publicity and planning to promote it are a must for making winter pilgrimage a success.”
The winter homes of shrines Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath are located at Mukhba, Kharsali, Ukhimath and Joshimath. The winter Char Dham was introduced for the first time in 2014 by the Congress-led state government to give a boost to religious tourism after the 2013 disaster.
“While the Char Dham locations are quite renowned, not many around the country know about the winter abodes of the deities, so timely efforts by the government are a must to popularise it,” said Ashish Semwal, a priest at the Gangotri shrine.
Darshan Singh Rawat, media coordinator for chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, said the state government’s efforts had led to heavy footfall of pilgrims during the Char Dham Yatra this year. “Visits of VIPs, including PM Narendra Modi and President Ramnath Kovind, have already popularised Char Dham Yatra. We will ensure that the winter pilgrimage, too, is promoted properly around the country,” he told HT.
BOX: Char Dham Yatra footfall
Shrine – No. of pilgrims
Badrinath – 8.73 lakh
Kedarnath – 4.71 lakh
Gangotri – 4.09 lakh
Yamunotri – 3.92 lakh
Total: 21.45 lakh
(Figures till October 21, 2017)