The idol of the deity worshipped in the Kedarnath shrine was, on Saturday, taken to the Omkareshwar temple, which is in the town of Ukhimath in Rudraprayag district. The deity will be worshipped in the Omkareshwar temple till April, next year.
The Kedar Valley in Rudraprayag district where the Kedarnath shrine is situated, had undergone a disaster in the year 2013, when about 4,000 people lost their lives and much of the infrastructure in the valley was destroyed.
The shrine, which is still recovering from the deluge and where a major reconstruction work under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Geological Survey of India (GSI) is underway, witnessed about 40,000 pilgrims this yatra season. Rudraprayag District Magistrate Raghav Langer said, “Before the deluge, around five to six lakh people visited the shrine [every yatra season]. Though the number was very low this year, the yatra was smooth.”
Portals of the Yamunotri shrine were also closed for the winters, on Saturday. Portals of the Gangotri shrine were closed on Friday. The two shrines in Uttarkashi district, also witnessed low footfall this yatra season as compared to the seasons prior to the 2013 deluge.
Uttarkashi District Magistrate C. Ravishankar said the Gangotri shrine, which witnessed about 3.7 lakh people in the year 2012, witnessed only about 43,000 people this year. About 33,000 people visited Yamunotri, which was visited by about 3.4 lakh people in the year 2012, Mr Ravishankar said.
Portals of the Badrinath shrine will be closed on October 27.
Year round yatra
In the winter months, when the shrines, including Badrinath, get covered in snow, the idols of the shrines are moved to nearby villages where they are worshipped for the months between November and April.
The idol of the Yamunotri shrine is moved to Kharsali, that of the Gangotri shrine is moved to Mukhba, and of Badrinath to Pandukeshwar.
The yatra during the winters would be to the places where the idols of the four shrines are installed for the six winter months.