DEHRADUN: Last year’s mid-June flash floods did not deter 15,000-odd devotees from across the country from converging at Yamnotri and Gangotri shrines in Uttarkashi district to attend the sacred ceremony marking the re-opening of these shrines’ portals. With this, the Char Dham yatra has commenced in Uttarakhand.
Amid chanting of Vedic mantras, the doors of Gangotri and Yamnotri were re-opened at 12:01 pm and 1:20 pm, respectively minutes after their “doli” (palanquin in which the idols are carried) reached the temples from their winter abode at Mukhba and Kharsali villages in the district.
The winter abode of Goddess Ganga is located at a distance of about 15 km from Gangotri shrine and 10 km from Yamnotri shrine.
Residents in Mukhba and Kharsali villages consider Goddess Ganga and Goddess Yamuna as their daughters. On Thursday, with moist eyes, they accorded a ceremonial send-off to the two idols, respectively in their ‘doli’ (palanquins) decked with flowers.
When contacted, devotees at Gangotri and Yamnotri said they had to trek for several kilometers on the 32-km Badkot-Jangalchatti and the 25-km Gangori-Sukhi motorable roads to reach Yamnotri and Gangotri shrines, as theyare still being re-constructed.
These two motorable roads were washed away in last year’s deluge. “Barring a 5km-to-6km patch that is still in a poor condition, we have reconstructed these two roads leading to Gangotri and Yamnotri,” said a senior Border Road Organization official at Uttarkashi.