As lockdown restrictions have eased in several parts of Uttarakhand now, the Kedarnath temple has opened up for the devotees of the state. The opening ceremony of the shrine took place a few days back, on 28th April 2020. Though the pilgrims couldn’t attend that, they can now finally enter the temple premises. The temple is also getting renovated. The Shri Kedarnath Utthan Charitable Trust (SKUCT) is putting ₹120 crores for the construction work in the temple premises. The temple authority has handed over the money to organisations who will carry out the work. The construction work will ease things up for the devotees. The construction will be completed in Kedarnath Dham, including 50 feet wide walkway, security wall and other works.
The Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath temples in Uttarakhand are collectively known as Char Dham. They attract a huge number of pilgrims every year. On the last week of April, the first three shrines reopened after their wintertime closure. But during that time, they opened up only for the rituals and not for the pilgrims. The Char Dham temples are located in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. This is still a green zone and has not reported a single COVID-19 case till date. Therefore, CM Trivendra Singh Rawat has allowed the Uttarakhand pilgrims to visit the Himalayan temples, including Kedarnath, from 4th May onwards. The Badrinath temple is scheduled to open on 15th May 2020.
When asked about when to allow pilgrims from outside Uttarakhand to visit the shrines, Mr. Rawat replied that the state was in a similar mood of despair after the Kedarnath tragedy in 2013 but they overcame it and the yatra was put back on track. He added that he is confident that corona will be defeated in the end and the usual glow will return to the temples.
In June 2013, one of the worst natural calamities with floods and landslides had devastated a large part of Uttarakhand. The state had fought back that plight. Now, after about seven years, the pandemic has again caused a disruption in normal activities.
Let us all pray to the almighty that the world recovers soon and the bans are lifted so that we too can pack our bags, head to the hilly state and visit these marvellous temples all over again.