Pilgrims to shell out more for palanquin and mule rides to Kedarnath
The portal of the shrine will open on April 29.dehradun Updated: Apr 20, 2018 22:06 IST
Pilgrims will have to shell out more to go to Kedarnath in Uttarakhand’s Rudraprayag district through palanquin (doli), sling-carrier (kandi), and mule rides.
Rates of palanquin and sling-carrier rides have been revised by the district panchayat, and that of mule rides by the administration. The portal of the shrine will open on April 29.
The panchayat decides the rates of palanquin and sling-carrier rides, as the locals’ livelihood opportunities are linked to religious tourism.
The rates are similar to that of last year except for two tours. A ride on a palanquin, which is carried by four porters, from Gaurikund to Kedarnath and back with a night stay will cost Rs 9550 for 75 kg weight, and Rs 10050 for 90 kg. One-day ride to the shrine and back will cost Rs 7950 for 75 kg and Rs 8450 for 90 kg. The rate is hiked by 10% compared to last year’s.
“The rates are revised only if the pilgrims want the porters to make a night stay at Kedarnath. Remaining rates are the same as last year,” Rudraprayag district magistrate Mangesh Gildiyal said.
Rates for the trek route are almost equal to that of a chopper ride. For a 16-km trek between Gaurikund and Kedarnath, the rates are between Rs 4550-10050, maximum in case of a two-way journey and night stay. A one-way chopper service from the nearest helipad Tiryuginarayn -- about 27 km from Kedarnath – cost Rs 6500 last year. A chopper fly from Guptkashi helipad cost Rs 7500.
The chopper rates will be revised this year after the Uttarakhand Civil Aviation Development Authority (UCADA) completes the tender process for aviation services in the region.
“The administration gets Rs 150-280 as arrangement tax and rest is given to the porters. The 6-7 months of religious tourism supports several families that do not have anything to do in the remaining months,” said JP Arya, additional chief officer, district panchayat.
In 2017, the administration collected nearly Rs 16 lakh as arrangement tax, which means over 10,000 people took palanquin and sling rides to the shrine.
“We undergo physical strain to take pilgrims to the shrine. We deserve more than the current rates. Choppers cannot be compared with us. They use machines and we use our stamina,” Rajendra Rawat, a porter of Guptkashi, said over the phone.
The rates of mule ride have also been increased. Mule rides from Sonprayag to Kedarnath will be available at Rs 2500 per person, which was Rs 1800 last year. From Gaurikund to Kedarnath, the charge will be Rs 2300, which was Rs 1500 last year.