The Uttarakhand government has capped the daily limit on the number of pilgrims visiting the famous Himalayan shrines in the state, especially Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath during the Char Dham Yatra. The yatra begins on May 3 and the limit will be in force for the first 45 days, a government order dated April 30 said.
The daily limit imposed on the number of pilgrims is 15,000 for Badrinath, 12,000 for Kedarnath, 7,000 for Gangotri and 4,000 for Yamunotri. The restriction has been put in place considering that a record number of pilgrims are likely to turn up this year with the Covid-induced restrictions no longer in force. The order says the decision has been taken in view of the state’s geographical conditions, the capacity of its hotels and parking facilities on the Char Dham Yatra route.
The yatra arguably the backbone of Uttarakhand’s economy was badly hit due to COVID-19, which delayed the opening of the Himalayan temples for devotees for months in the last couple of years. The movement of vehicles on the Char Dham Yatra route will also remain suspended from 10 pm to 4 am, it said.
The yatra will begin on May 3 with the opening of the portals of Gangotri and Yamunotri temples in Uttarkashi district. Kedarnath will open on May 6 and Badrinath on May 8. However, transporters and hoteliers are apprehensive that the sudden imposition of the limits may lead to cancellation of bookings made in advance.
“Due to the sudden imposition of limits, those who have booked vehicles, hotels and dharamshalas in advance may have to face last-minute hurdles,” Char Dham Yatra joint bus rotation system president Sudhir Roy said.