After a gap of nearly three months, pilgrimage to Kedarnath and Badrinath temples formally resumed on Saturday as the first batch of nearly 200 devotees paid obeisance at the two Himalayan shrines, leaving behind horrific memories of the mid-June deluge that had killed scores of people.
Yatra to these shrines was suspended after the flash floods that had caused large scale damage in the area, Rudraprayag SDM Laxmiraj Chauhan said.
To avoid pressure on the newly-built infrastructure in the area, only 100 devotees are currently being allowed to undertake Kedranath Yatra everyday after registration at Guptkashi, Chauhan said, adding that the number may be gradually increased.
For the convenience of devotees, arrangements of fooding and lodging have been made at Bhimbali and Lenchauni between Gaurikund and Kedarnath, he said.
The devotees have to traverse a distance of 17 km on foot from Munaktya to Kedarnath to reach the shrine, he said.
The second batch of 40-50 pilgrims, including two foreign nationals, is likely to arrive at Kedarnath soon, Chauhan said.
Union water resources minister Harish Rawat also paid obeisance at the shrine along with his supporters, he said.
Pilgrimage to Badrinath, another major shrine of the 'Char Dham' circuit, also formally resumed today after an over three-month long suspension, Badrinath-Kedarnath Mandir Samiti chief executive officer BD Singh said.
Free fooding and lodging arrangements have been made for pilgrims by the temple committee, he said, adding that if the number of pilgrims increases additional community kitchens will be set up to meet the requirements.