Kedarnath is now the perfect blend of spiritualism and modernisation
The four dhams - Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yumonotri as well as Hem Kund Sahib are not just the spiritual centres of the state of Uttarakhand but also, the backbone of economic growth.
In June 2013, there was a natural calamity in the form of flash floods that proved to be a huge setback in the journey of Char Dham. However, the government was able to attain the trust of pilgrims again by its remarkable reconstruction and rehabilitation work.
After a long wait, in 2018, the number of pilgrims increased and went up to 26 lakhs. This year the numbers are even more impressive. Till August 25, 2019 the count was close to 28 lakh and 4 thousand. Of which, the photometric registration was 7 lakh 32 thousand, online registration was 30,000 and 26,000 registrations were made through the mobile app.
The Centre’s ambitious project - All Weather Road is in the pipeline and once it opens, it will help in increasing the number of pilgrims further by two folds. The road shall ensure that the Char Dham Yatra can continue throughout the year.
Pilgrims Prefer the walk-ways
The 2013 calamity had devastated all the roads and ways leading to Kedarnath. The reconstruction process that started soon after the disaster, was done fast and meticulously. Much has been achieved since then. On observing properly, one can find that a whole new city has been setup. Even the walk-way has become better with more facilities. No doubt, pilgrims are choosing walk-ways over motor-ways. This swell in pedestrian pilgrims is being seen after four years.
Prior to the disaster, the axis on the main entrance was a footpath, less than 10 metres wide. It got devastated and buried in debris along with some of the monuments on this path. This footpath has now been reconstructed in the form of a stairways and 2,660 local stones have been carved and placed on it.
A special arrival platform has been developed, the Arrival Plaza. It enables tourists and international pilgrims to view Kedarnath from distance, avoiding the crowd and discomfort. This plaza is 9 metres high and beautifully decorated with stones in a circular shape.
PM’s Dream Project Sees the Daylight
The dream project of PM Narendra Modi has started taking shape in Kedarnath. There is a visible difference in the path leading upto Kedarnath as well as the main monument.
Now, almost 3,000 pilgrims can stand in the temple premises. This is twice the earlier number. The confluence of river Saraswati and Mandakini that was earlier inaccessible, has now been opened and pilgrims can view Kedar Puri from here as well. The 270-metre long path leading to the main temple has also been broadened by 50 metres.
New Ghats have been constructed over Mandakini and Saraswati rivers. Changing rooms and sitting areas are now available at these ghats too.
PM Modi wants that the reconstruction work should be done keeping in mind the future needs of pilgrims. He wants that the new amenities should have a touch of spirituality and modernisation. He is personally monitoring the reconstruction process.
PM Modi after meditating in the ‘Meditation Cave” had given the message of ‘Safe Uttarakhand- Safe Travel’.
Kedarnath Dham – Loaded with Spirituality and Facilities
Proper arrangement for accommodation has been done for pilgrims with an online-booking facility. There are 30 beds in Junglechatti; 48 in Bheembali; 150 beds; PBC tent; 10 alpine tents in Lincholi; 6, 145 beds in Kedarnath and new 10 units of tent houses by NIIMS .
There is also free medical facility for pilgrims at base camp, Kedarnath. Swami Vivekanand Hospital , with 12 beds, was inaugurated at Kedarnath base camp by CM Trivendra Singh Rawat. This hospital will give free treatment to pilgrims and has amenities like X-ray, ventilator and ICU.
The medical department has also setup medical relief points (MRP) and warm rooms on the Gaurikund- Kedarnath walkway. On a stretch of 17 kms, 9 MRPs and warm rooms have been set-up and Kedarnath will also get two warm rooms. These rooms will help combat hypothermia (a condition where the rapidly decreasing temperature leads to stressful breathing) among pilgrims.
The second leg of Kedarnath Heli service will start from September 10. The service will be up and running till October 20 and can be booked online by passengers. The Heli service can be availed from Guptkashi.