DEHRADUN: More than 4.6 lakh pilgrims have visited Char Dham shrines this year till Saturday breaking the last year’s dismal record.
However, the figure is still far short of the pre-Covid times. Officials attributed the surge in footfall to country-wide vaccination programme to curb the pandemic.
Dr Harish Gaur, media in-charge of Char Dham Devsthanam Board, the body responsible for managing the Char Dham Yatra said, “Control in the Covid-19 spread and excellent management by the board has made it possible for pilgrims to visit the temples without any hassle.”
Portals of the shrines except Badrinath have been closed for winter season. Portals of Badrinath will be shut on November 20.
This year, the yatra started on September 18 after the Uttarakhand High Court allowed the pilgrimage.
Till Saturday all four shrines received 4,60,012 pilgrims with 2,42,712 in Kedarnath followed by 1,50,828 in Badrinath, 33,166 in Gangotri and 33,306 in Yamunotri. In 2019, over 38 lakh pilgrims had visited the shrines.
The offerings received had come down to `8 crore in 2020 from Rs 55 crore in 2019. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Kedarnath shrine on November 5, just a day after Diwali and a day before the closure of the shrine’s portals.