Char Dham Yatra begins today

The annual Char Dham pilgrimage in Uttarakhand begins from today on the auspicious 'Akshaya Tritiya' festival with the reopening of the Gangotri and the Yamunotri shrines in the Garhwal Himalayas.

The gates of the temples reopened today for the pilgrims after remaining closed for six months during the winters, whereas, gates of the Badrinath Temple in the Chamoli district will reopen on May 11.

Ahead of the Yatra, police have strengthened security measures and the health department is working to provide healthcare facilities on the Yatra route.

After the deadly flash floods in the state in 2013, the Char Dham Yatra had suffered a major jolt. However, encouraged by the high footfall of pilgrims last year, the tourism department is hoping that the numbers will be more this time around.

The shrines are closed for devotees during the winter season every year as the region, at a higher altitude, experiences extreme cold conditions and they are reopened during the summers.

The pilgrimage that spans for a period of six months attracts lakhs devotees from country and abroad and is considered as the economic backbone of the Garhwal Himalaya region.

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