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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Hemkunt Sahib pilgrimage opens, roads not ready yet for bikes

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Dehradun, May 25, 2014
First Published: 22:44 IST(25/5/2014) | Last Updated: 22:45 IST(25/5/2014)

After Char Dham Yatra, the pilgrimage to Hemkunt Sahib in the Garhwal hills opened on Sunday but the roads to the Sikh shrine remain damaged after the flash flood disaster of last June that killed thousands of people.

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The board managing Gurdwara Hemkunt Sahib expects more than 3,000 pilgrims this year. The Uttarakhand government has claimed that the approach to Char Dham and Hemkund Sahib is repaired but board chairman NS Bindra has asked pilgrims to come by four-wheelers and not two-wheelers. Many young pilgrims travel to the shrine on motorcycles.

"Since the roads over a few stretches are still not in proper condition, it is advised to commute by four-wheelers," said Bindra. The board will try to operate chopper and ropeway services between Gobindghat and Ghagaria.

The state government has claimed that more than 60,000 pilgrims, so far, have visited the Char Dham (four shrines) of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri ever since the doors were opened earlier this month. In an official press release, Surender Kumar, media coordinator to the Uttarakhand chief minister, stated that the state government had made adequate arrangements for smooth yatra.

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