Dehradun: The portals of Kedarnath and Yamunotri were closed for winters on Saturday and will remain shut for the next six months, informed Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board.
The circuit of four ancient pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand, including Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath are referred to as `Char Dham`.Badrinath Temple will close on November 20, said the officials.
After the religious ceremony for closing the portals of Kedarnath is performed today, a palanquin will leave for Ukhimath Omkareshwar Temple. Similarly, a palanquin of Goddess Yamuna will leave for the village of Kharsali near Janki Chatti.
Meanwhile, the portals of the Gangotri shrine closed on Friday at 11.45 am after priests performed religious rituals. A large number of pilgrims and local people were present to witness the ceremony. The Utsav Doli (palanquin) of Maa Ganga of the Gangotri shrine left for her winter abode at Mukhba, following the closure of portals of Gangotri for the next six months, and will reach there today on the occasion of Bhai Dooj.
District Magistrate of Uttarkashi Mayur Dixit in an official statement informed that during this year, more than 32,948 pilgrims visited Gangotri Dham. The Char Dham Yatra began on September 18 this year after the Nainital High Court on September 16 lifted the ban on Char Dham Yatra and only allowed people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a mandatory COVID-19 negative report for the annual pilgrimage.
As per the Devasthanam Management Board, over two lakh devotees have visited the four shrines this year till October 22. Char Dhams, which draw lakhs of tourists and devotees every year from across the country and abroad, are closed every year in winters due to heavy snowfall in the region.