Kedarnath Temple’s doors open, no devotees allowed amid Covid-19 lockdown
The doors of the Kedarnath Temple in Uttarakhand were opened early on Wednesday after a six-month-long winter break in the absence of pilgrims due to the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
The process of opening the doors of the temple to Lord Shiva began at 3am as Shiva Shankar Linga, the chief priest of the shrine, carried out the rituals.
He performed the first ‘’pooja” in the name of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the temple decorated with marigold flowers.
BD Singh, a representative of the Devasthanam Board, and 20 employees from Panchagai were present when the religious rituals and aarti were performed. Around 15 policemen and administration officials also participated in the rituals.
This year the Indian Army band did not participate in the ceremony during the opening the portals of the shrine due to lockdown restrictions.
Authorities have said no pilgrim will be allowed to visit Kedarnath so that norms of social distancing is maintained.
Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat tweeted his wishes to the devotees as the doors of the Kedarnath Temple were opened.
“I wish all devotees on the occasion of the opening of the doors of the Jyotirlinga Lord Kedarnath with all rituals. I pray to Baba Kedarnath that your wish is fulfilled, may Baba Kedar’s blessings be upon all of you. I pray to Baba to protect all humanity from corona,” Rawat tweeted in Hindi.
The annual Char Dham Yatra began on Saturday with the opening of the Gangotri and Yamunotri temples in Garhwal Himalayas on Akshaya Tritiya. After Kedarnath, the portals of Badrinath Temple will be opened on May 15.
The four pilgrim destinations of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath are known as Char Dham.