Char Dham yatra to start from Saturday with capping on number of pilgrims
After the Uttarakhand high the court lifted its stay on Char Dham yatra, it will officially start from Saturday with a capping on the number of pilgrims that will be allowed daily to the four revered Himalayan shrines., officials said.
Ravinath Raman, chief executive officer of Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board, said, the yatra will start on Saturday and the SOPs related to it will be released by the evening.
“The pilgrims from anywhere who want to visit Char Dham will have to register themselves on the website of Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board (https://badrinath-kedarnath.gov.in/) where a sub-link will be provided for the same after the state government issues the SOPs. Also, they will have to bring a negative Covid-19 report with them or a certificate of having received both the doses of Covid-19 vaccination,” he said.
On Thursday, the HC lifted its June 28 stay on Char Dham yatra. The number of pilgrims to be allowed daily will be 800 for Kedarnath, 1000 for Badrinath, 600 for Gangotri and 400 for Yamunotri.
Following the development, chief secretary SS Sandhu chaired a high-level meeting with senior officials from various departments on Thursday evening, issuing important directions to the district magistrates of Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi, where four revered shrines are located, regarding various arrangements and preparations for Char Dham yatra.
Kedarnath shrine is located in Rudraprayag district, while Badrinath is in Chamoli district. Yamunotri and Gangotri shrines are located in Uttarkashi district.
Singh directed the district magistrates (DMs) that proper arrangements be made on the Char Dham route with regard to road safety, sanitation, crowd management, transport management, Covid testing.
Singh also issued directions that road stretches on the Char Dham route, which need repair work, should be repaired on a war footing. He also directed them to ensure sensitive points on Char Dham routes where pilgrims walk on foot to be sanitised, have drinking water and toilet facility and so on.
The chief secretary also directed the DMs to ensure that SOPs on Char Dham are followed by the pilgrims and that they are tested for Covid-19 and follow all norms. He also directed for Covid-19 to be announced on loudspeakers along the routes.
Other directions included ensuring the availability of enough doctors, ambulances on the routes, registration of pilgrims, providing important information to pilgrims on their mobile phones and through banners along the Char Dham routes.
Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri, collectively, are called the Char Dham. The shrines attract lakhs of pilgrims each year. Traditionally, the Char Dham pilgrimage begins from the west from Yamunotri, proceeding to Gangotri and finally to Kedarnath and Badrinath in the east.
Last year in June, the state government restricted the number of local pilgrims for Char Dham pilgrimage. The authorities had capped the daily influx of local pilgrims, allowing only 1200 per day for Badrinath, 800 for Kedarnath, 600 for Gangotri and 400 for the Yamunotri shrine.