On Tuesday, the gates of the Kedarnath shrine were opened to devotees after the winter break. Thousands of pilgrims showed up at the snow-covered shrine to offer prayers while braving sub-zero temperatures. The chief temple priest, Rawal Bhima Shankar Ling, opened the gates of Kedarnath Dham amid the rituals and chanting of shlokas. Even the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Pushkar Singh Dhami, was present on the first day to offer his prayers.
As reported by news agency PTI, a helicopter showered flower petals on the pilgrims on this auspicious occasion. PTI posted a two-minute video from the site showcasing the pilgrims thronging the route to the Kedarnath shrine. Pilgrims stood in lines outside the shrine as they waited for the doors of the temple to open. The surrounding areas of Kedarnath and the trek routes have been cleared of snow to ensure a smooth and risk-free experience for the pilgrims.
However, the India Meteorological Department has forecasted inclement weather in the area over the next few days. The devotees that are still on the way to the temple have been advised to stay at the main halts in Rishikesh, Bhadrakali, and Vyasi for the time being. As per India Today, Tehri SSP Navneet Singh Bhullar said that given the forecast of snowfall and bad weather in Kedarnath, the pilgrims have been stopped at Bhadrakali and Vyasi and asked to stay at Rishikesh for the time being.
The Kedarnath shrine is part of the Char Dham, which also includes Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. All of these shrines are located above 10,000 ft in the Garhwal Himalayas. The Char Dham Yatra is considered to be one of the most sacred pilgrimages in Hinduism.
The opening of the Kedarnath shrine is an important event for devotees who come from all over the country to offer their prayers. The temple, which is situated at an altitude of 3,583 meters above sea level, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that visiting the shrine washes away all sins and brings blessings to the devotees.
The winter break in Kedarnath starts in mid-November and ends in late April. During this time, the temple is closed due to heavy snowfall and harsh weather conditions. However, the reopening of the shrine is a sign of the start of the Char Dham Yatra, which attracts thousands of devotees every year.
The opening of the Kedarnath shrine has brought joy to thousands of devotees who have come to offer their prayers. Despite the inclement weather, the devotees are determined to complete their pilgrimage and seek the blessings of Lord Shiva. The reopening of the shrine is a significant event for the Char Dham Yatra and marks the start of the pilgrimage season.