Amid snowfall, Kedarnath and Yamunotri shrines close for winter season
The Kedarnath and Yamunotri shrines were closed for the winter season on Monday after special prayers amid snowfall.
The portals for Kedarnath closed at 8:30 am in the presence of chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath, while the portals of Yamunotri shrine in Uttarkashi district closed at 12:15 pm.
This year over 1,35,000 pilgrims visited the Kedarnath shrine in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand since the Char Dham yatra resumed July 1. Yamunotri shrine in Uttarkashi district welcomed 8,000 pilgrims this year.
On Monday morning, the shrine was opened at 3 am when the chief priest Shivshankar Ling performed the Samadhi Puja of Lord Kedar and the sanctum sanctorum was closed at 6:30 am. At 8:30 am the assembly hall and the main gate of the shrine were closed.
Harish Gaur, media in-charge of Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board said, “This year, 1,35,023 pilgrims have visited the Kedarnath shrine since pilgrims were allowed to visit the shrine from July 1 following all safety protocols in view of Covid-19 pandemic. The deity will now stay in his winter abode of Ukhimath for the next six months and the palanquin left for the winter abode after closing of the shrine.”
The palanquin with the deity will reach the winter abode of Onkareshwar temple on November 18 after which prayers will be offered there.
Adityanath along with Rawat was scheduled to visit Badrinath shrine on Monday, but due to snowfall and inclement weather, the duo was not able to leave from Kedarnath till late afternoon.
“I was supposed to inaugurate a tourist guest house of the Uttar Pradesh government near Badrinath shrine but we are stuck due to snowfall. Another guest house has been made by the Uttar Pradesh government near Haridwar, which is almost ready and will be inaugurated before next year’s Maha Kumbh,” Adityanath said.
He also spoke of cooperation between Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
“All issues of dispute between Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have been solved and in future also we will continue to work together. There was a case regarding an Alaknanda Guest House in Haridwar, which was pending in Supreme Court, that has also been resolved and it was decided that the guest house will be given to Uttarakhand government,” Adityanath said.
On the occasion of Bhai Dooj, special prayers were offered to Goddess Yamuna before the portals of Yamunotri closed for the next six months.
Kriteshwar Uniyal, secretary of the Yamunotri Temple committee said, “Now for the next six months, devotees will be able to offer prayers to the Goddess Yamuna at her winter abode in Kharsali village in Uttarkashi district, where priests from the Uniyal community will conduct prayers.”