Kedarnath shrine opens for devotees after six-month winter break
Thousands of devotees braved early morning chill to flock to Kedarnath as portals of the Himalayan shrine were thrown open today after the six-month winter break. Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul and Speaker Premchand Aggarwal were among the first to offer prayers at the shrine as its gates were opened by Rawal Bhimashankar Ling at 6.15am in the presence of administrative and temple committee officials.
The idol of Baba Kedar was brought in a flower-bedecked palanquin from Ukhimath's Omkareshwar Temple where he is worshipped during winter. Amid elaborate rituals and chants of vedic hymns, the idol was installed in sanctum sanctorum of temple. Portals of four famous Himalayan shrines of Uttarakhand are closed every year with onset of winter as they become snowbound; they reopen in summer.
With the opening of Kedarnath today and Badrinath temple scheduled to reopen tomorrow, the number of chardham yatris is all set to get a boost in the coming days. The gap of about 11 days between the openings of Yamunotri-Gangotri (April 18) and Kedarnath-Badrinath is being reckoned as a factor behind the lukewarm opening of Chardham Yatra this year.
Likely to be visited in the coming days by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is personally monitoring reconstruction work at Kedarpuri, several new attractions can be availed by devotees at Kedarnath this season, including a laser show on Lord Shiva and improved facilities, officials said.