Tribune News Service
Dehradun, April 24
With pilgrims barely a trickle, the first leg of the Char Dham yatra under way in Uttarakhand has witnessed a slow start. The yatra commenced with the opening of the portals of the Himalayan shrines of Gangotri and Yamunotri on April 18.
Tour operators are attributing 11-day gap between the opening of the portals of Yamunotri and Gangotri and Badrinath and Kedarnath as one of the reasons behind the slow start. “This year the number of pilgrims who ventured for the first leg of the Char Dham yatra was very few in comparison with the rush witnessed last year. Though advance bookings were made these are for the months of May and June. Around 400-500 pilgrims are arriving at the temples every day. The turnout has not been upto our expectations,” said Lekh Raj, a local shopkeeper.
However, officials are hopeful that the number of pilgrims would increase with the start of the bus operations from Tuesday. Pilgrims belonging to Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat have left for the yatra in 30 buses being run under the join operation system from Rishikesh. “We are expecting more pilgrims in the run up to the opening up of the Kedarnath and Badrinath temples. Several of them have made advance bookings for the month of May,” said Brij Bhanu Giri, administration officer , Joint Rotation committee.
He said the buses had been fitted with dustbins to ensure that the pilgrimage centres remain clean and the pilgrims do not litter the routes and the surrounding areas.
Prime Minister to be in kedarnath on April 29
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Kedarnath on April 29, the day when the portals of the shrine will be opened for the public.
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