Cameras installed at Badrinath dham for ‘online darshan’ amid pandemic
The Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board (CDMB) authorities in Uttarakhand have started work for online darshan of the Char Dham shrines for pilgrims in a bid to avoid overcrowding at the sacred temples because of the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, state government officials said.
CDMB authorities will allow online darshan in the revered shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri in a bid to keep the viral infection at bay.
Ravinath Raman, chief executive officer (CEO), CDMB, said, “Initially, online darshan will be available for the Badrinath shrine, where cameras are being installed.”
Raman said the cameras and other equipment are being installed by a telecom company for free of cost.
“The equipment is being installed by the company as per a CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiative, but they will be owned by the board. Work has started in Badrinath and it will be followed by the Kedarnath shrine. However, the process may take a while, as the heavy equipment needed to be lugged to a higher altitude at the height of the monsoon season,” said Raman.
The CEO, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) official, said that after the work is completed, images and videos of the four shrines would be live-streamed on several websites.
“The live streaming will be done on the board’s or the chief minister’s website and also via social media platforms,” he said.
Raman said the online darshan initiative would be reviewed after the viral outbreak subsides.
“This is not a permanent arrangement. We will stop the online initiative after normalcy returns in a post Covid-19 world,” he added.
The CDMB data showed that 21,670 pilgrims visited the Char Dham portals until August 30.
The CDMB authorities said 10,899 and 6,491 devotees visited Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines, respectively, until August 30. Badrinath and Kedarnath portals were opened for the public on May 15 and April 29, respectively.
While the Gangotri and Yamunotri shrines have reported 3,837 and 533 pilgrims, respectively, after their portals were opened on April 26.
The authorities maintained that the virtual inflow of pilgrims is much less this year because of the contagion.