First batch of pilgrims for Badrinath, Kedarnath shrines leave Haridwar
With just five days left for the opening of portals of Kedarnath and Badrinath shrines, the first batch of pilgrims visiting the shrines left from Haridwar on Tuesday.
Tour and travel association office-bearers, saints, people running ashrams and dharamshalas and local people were present to send off the pilgrims amid chanting of hymns, which was preceded by religious rituals and paying of obeisance at revered Mayadevi temple.
The portals of Gangotri and Yamunotri, two other shrines of the Char Dham pilgrimage, had opened for pilgrims on Akshaya Tritiya.
More than 1800 hotels, ashrams and dharamshalas in Haridwar are jam-packed with outstation pilgrims.
Hotel Association of Haridwar president Ashutosh Sharma said that a majority of the local hotels has refurbished their building and rooms in the wake of Char Dham pilgrimage. “As per the directives of district administration, association affiliated hotel members have put up rate list of rentals of rooms at hotel reception. We have also put up tourist guide books regarding Char Dham shrines as well as other shrines, temples and places of tourism importance, for convenience of pilgrims and tourists,” said Sharma.
Dharamshala Association general secretary Vikas Tiwari said that the association has given directives to all dharmashala owners and managing committee to ensure cleanliness and best of facilities for the pilgrims. “At affordable prices, rooms are being provided to pilgrims, and dharamshala workers and volunteers have been urged to provide information about local shrines and not-so-known pilgrim, tourist spots to the pilgrims also,” he said.
The district administration is also monitoring Char Dham pilgrimage facilities and services in Haridwar. The district magistrate, Deepak Rawat has asked hotel, restaurant and eatery owners to display rate list of food items to rule out dispute with pilgrims.
On knowing about laxity by many a hotels and food supplies department, the district magistrate has withheld salary withdrawal of district food and supplies officer Rahul Sharma. The DM has also ordered to withhold the salary withdrawal of assistant regional transport officer Manish Tiwari, as auto-Vikram rickshaw and e-rickshaw unions did not put up fare list at their respective union offices, booking counters, railway station and bus station.
In neighbouring Rishikesh also, there is a rush of pilgrims for the Char Dham pilgrimage. According to Madan Kothari, the in-charge of Joint Rotation Yatra Committee managing the Char Dham pilgrimage transportation service for the past four decades, they have advance booking for the Char Dham pilgrimage till May 15. About 1,800 buses have been booked till date, of which 1,200 buses have been booked for all-four-shrines tour circuit, he claimed.
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