Uttarakhand: Char Dham yatra to resume depending on Covid situation

Express News Service
DEHRADUN: The officials said that Char Dham Yatra to Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Yamunotri can be opened for selected districts of Uttarakhand if Covid-19 situation further improves in the state. 

Ravinath Raman, chairman of Char Dham Devsthanam Board, who also happens to be commissioner of Garhwal division told TNIE, “We are watching the situation and board meeting has been called in the second week of June 2021. The decision will in this regard will be taken in accordance with Covid 19 situation. We are not going to rush things, come what may.”

The yatra has been suspended this year with rituals allowed to be performed by the priests to uphold tradition. 

Last year, the Yatra started for pilgrims of Uttarakhand on July 1, 2020 while for the pilgrims from outside the state the Yatra was opened in last week of July 2020. 

“We may open the Yatra for home districts where the shrines are located or may be only for the villages in the vicinity of the shrines. But this will be done only if we are confident about Covid situation subsiding,” added Raman. 

In comparison to year 2019 when more than 38 lakh pilgrims visited the Char Dham of Uttarakhand, numbers came down to 4.2 lakh in 2020 due to Covid 19 pandemic.

Earlier in May 2021, Uttarakhand High Court commenting on Mahakumbh and Char Dham Yatra said that Uttarakhand is causing embarrassment to its own people and questioned why the state cannot learn from its mistakes. 

The bench irked by videos and pictures of Char Dham circulating on various social media platforms questioned that, “Anyone is supervising (Char Dham Yatra) or is it left to the priests? What happens if coronavirus spreads among the priests? Even when deity is being worshiped, you can’t permit twenty priests in a small size of space such as sanctum sanctorum.”