Char Dham Yatra 2021:
The world-famous Chardham Yatra 2021 in Uttarakhand will start from today i.e. on 18th September 2021. Announcing this on Friday, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami told news agency ANI that the Chardham Yatra will start from 18th September.
A day earlier on Thursday, the Uttarakhand High Court lifted the ban on the Chardham Yatra and directed the state government to start the yatra with strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocol. Lifting the ban on travel, a division bench of High Court Chief Justice R.S. Chouhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma said that the yatra will operate with restrictions such as only the prescribed number of devotees visiting the temple.
The court said that it will be mandatory for the devotees coming for darshan to bring a Covid-negative test report or vaccination certificate. While fixing the limit of devotees in the temples located in the high Garhwal Himalayan region, popularly known as Chardham, the High Court said that a maximum of 800 pilgrims will be allowed daily in Kedarnath Dham, 1200 in Badrinath, 600 in Gangotri, and 400 in Yamunotri.
Additionally, travelers will not be allowed to bathe in the springs located around the temples. The court said that the police force would be deployed in Chamoli, Rudraprayag, and Uttarkashi districts as per the requirement during the Chardham Yatra. Badrinath in Chamoli, Kedarnath in Rudraprayag, and Gangotri and Yamunotri temples are located in Uttarkashi district.
It must be noted that this decision of the High Court has brought a big relief for the state government. Due to the livelihood of lakhs of people associated with the Chardham Yatra, there was all-around pressure on the state government to start it. The High Court had on 28th June stayed the state cabinet's decision to start the Chardham Yatra at a limited level amidst the uncertainty created due to the Coronavirus pandemic situation. The cabinet had decided to allow temple darshan to residents of Chamoli, Rudraprayag, and Uttarkashi districts.
The state government's plan was to start the Chardham Yatra in a phased manner for the residents outside the state as well in case the situation of Covid improves.