Kedarnath, Badrinath- Shrines Reopen- 2012

The portals of famous Himalayan shrine of Badrinath were reopened on April 29 amid snowfall a day after Kedarnath was thrown open for pilgrims. Amid blowing of conches and chanting of vedic hymns and shlokas, the chief priest of Badrinath shrine opened the door of the shrine at 04:00 am on Sunday morning.
During the opening ceremony of the shrine, situated at a height of 3,133 meter in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, hundreds of devotees, including industrialist Anil Ambani and corporate lobbyist Nira Radia, were present outside the sanctum sanctorum braving snowfall and chilly winds.
Badrinath and Kedarnath are among the four holy places visited by pilgrims during the “Char dham yatra” in Uttarakhand.  The two other places are Gangotri and Yamunotri.
The Char Dhams nestling in dizzying heights of Garhwal Himalayas reopen for pilgrims in April-May every year after remaining closed for nearly six months during winters as the area remain snow-bound during the period.
After a gap of six months portals of famous Kedarnath shrine were opened on Saturday for pilgrims.  The Temple, situated in Rudraprayag district at a height of 3,584 meter, was reopenedat 0715 am, according to ‘mahurat’, sources said.  The ‘mahurat’ was decided on Mahashivrati at Ukhimath area on February 20.
The head priest of the temple, Rawal, performed the ‘Abhishek’ after opening of the doors, sources said.  Thousnads of pilgrims flocked the temple after opening of the doors.
The Chardhams, comprising the shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri in Garhwal Himalayas reopen for pilgrims in April-May every year after remaining closed for nearly six months during winters as the area remain snow-bound during the period.  The annual Chardham yatra is considered as a backbone of the thriving religious tourism in the state that attracts nearly 15-16 lakh pilgrims every year from home and abroad.
Efforts in this regard have started gaining momentum with MP Tarun Vijay recently kicking off a preparatory march to take a stock of things, apart from various regional organizing committees which have already joined in to finalise various modalities.
The festival involves a journey of around 280 kilometres, totally on foot due to the very difficult terrain that disallows reliance on any vehicular traffic.
Organisers, however, are faced with the Herculean task of infrastructure development and maintenance, especially of those narrow link routes to be taken by the devotees during their journey.
Further more, the fact that number of devotees may multiply various times compared to the previous figure of around 20,000 is also giving jitters to them.
“There is no arrangement to withhold even a population of 5,000 people. The journey is tough and devotees have to pass through a difficult terrain to reach to the culmination point of Bedini Bugyal.  Authorities need to start work on war footing level,” says Vijay.
As mythology has it, the route taken by the devotees is believed to be the one taken by Lord Shiva while he was on his way to Kailash Parvat after marrying Goddess Parvati.
A religious extravaganza organized once in every 12 year, ‘Nanda Rajajat’ is also called the ‘Mahakumbh’ of the hills and is often comapared with the likes of other such religious events organized in holy Hindu cities of Allahabad, Haridwar and Ujjain.

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