SOPs for Char Dham yatra out amid Covid-19 spike
- Burnt by its experience with the Mahakumbh, the state government last week postponed the pilgrimage, scheduled to start on May 14.The SOPs will come into force when the portals of these shrines open.
Days after the Uttarakhand government postponed the annual Char Dham yatra, the Char Dham Management Board on Tuesday announced that only priests and so-called traditional right holders will be permitted inside the four shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
Issuing a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) in view of the surge of Covid-19, the government said the four shrines would open for daily prayers from 7am to 7pm after the opening of their respective portals. Officials had earlier said that the portals of the Yamunotri shrine would be opened on May 14 and that of Gangotri on May 15. Portals of Kedarnath and Badrinath shrines will be opened on May 17 and 18.
“Only the priests and related traditional right holders will be allowed inside the shrines for daily puja while following all the Covid-19 guidelines like wearing masks, maintaining social distance and thermal screening,” the guidelines read.
It is mandatory to carry negative Covid-19 reports while heading to any of these temples.
The guidelines issued on Tuesday also stated that “those showing any kind of symptoms for Covid-19 won’t be allowed inside the temples.” Traditional right holders are members of the local priest community who have been associated with the management of Char Dham shrines for centuries. The SOP also prohibited touching of idols, bells or any kind of religious literature kept inside the temple.
Burnt by its experience with the Mahakumbh, the state government last week postponed the pilgrimage, scheduled to start on May 14.The SOPs will come into force when the portals of these shrines open.