The portals of Badrinath temple were opened by the raval (head priest), Ishwar Prasad Namboodri, at around 4am on Monday morning amid a chanting of mantras and cheers of Jai Badri Vishal by a huge gathering. The Kedarnath temple was also opened on Sunday morning.
Locals celebrate the opening of the Badrinath portals. (Arvind Moudgil/HT Photo)
On the opening of the Singh Dwar (Badrinath portals), the idol of Laxmi was taken out of the Garbh Grih (sanctum sanctorum) to the Laxmi temple nearby and the idols of Udhav and Kuber were taken into the Garbh Grih and placed beside Badri Narain to complete the Badrish Panchayat, in the presence of the members of the temple committee, dharmadhikari, vedpatis, Dimri community and panda panchayat.
The temple was elegantly decorated with the strings of marigold flowers, and the melodious tunes of Garhwal scouts made the early morning solemn and pious.
Over 5,000 pilgrims reached Badrinath on the opening day with most of them braving the bitter cold and light showers throughout the night and standing in queues.
Women from Mani Bhadrapur and Mana villages, dressed in their traditional attire, danced to the folk songs of Chaufla, Chanchri and Jhumelo throughout the night before the temple was reopened, much to the delight of the devotees.
The pilgrims also visited Bheem Pul, Ganesh Gufa, Muchukand Gufa and even Mana, the last village on the Indo-Tibetan border, after crossing a glacier.
Channa Singh Barwal, who has been running a tea stall in the village for the past 22 years, looked happy to see the visitors and hoped to replenish his little shop with snacks and other eatables.
Notably, the 44km motor road from Joshimath to Badrinath was damaged and completely washed out at a few places during the mid-June disaster last year. However, the connectivity has been restored up to Badrinath now. A stretch of about 5km from Pandukeshwar to the Benakuli top is narrow and challenging because of it being in the sliding zone.
Many small vehicles were stuck in sliding zones of Lambagar, JP Barrage and Benakuli and caused a traffic jam for several hours.
Pilgrims were seen guiding the traffic to open the jam, while the presence of police and administration was almost negligible. The traffic moved slowly, taking almost four hours to cover 44km from Joshimath to Kedarnath.
The melting glaciers near Pagal Nala, Kheer Ganga and Kanchan Ganga have made the roads muddy and cumbersome to travel.
However, no registration of the pilgrims for Badrinath is being done at Joshimath or onwards as is being done on the Kedarnath route.
The start of the yatra has broken the silence of the Badrinath valley and people are hopeful that the pilgrimage would gather momentum and bring prosperity to the land.