There is good news for the pilgrims of Chardham Yatra who have to wait for months for summer to arrive so that they could have a glimpse of the deities of Chardham. Now they can meet their deities all through the year without having to keep on waiting for summer to arrive. The Uttarakhand Government has planned to start Chardham Yatra in winter season very soon. With the commencement of this new Yatra the devotees will be able to visit the deities in their respective winter homes.
Every year with the commencement of winter season the idols of all the four temples are taken to the nearest villages at a lower altitude for the original temples get completely covered with snow. The idol of Lord Vishnu of Badrinath is taken to Pandukeshwar in Chamoli district, while Lord Shiva of Kedarnath is shifted to Ukhimath in Rudraprayag district. However, the idols of Gangotri and Yamunotri temples are shifted to Mukhba and Kharsail of Uttarkashi district. The daily offerings and regular worshipping take place in these small villages from mid October to May. Till date these lesser known destinations were not promoted in the proper manner and that is why the devotees need to wait till summer for the reopening of the Chardham Route.
With the present approach the pilgrims can get closer to the divine entity anytime without worrying much about the weather report. This initiative is mainly taken to boost religious tourism in the state and to make this revered Yatra a year-long affair.
Before declaring the decision, the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Harish Rawat, chaired a meeting attended by senior state officials, priests and senior office-bearers of all the said temple committees, including representatives of the Badrinath Kedarnath Temple Committee (BKTC). A unanimous consensus was arrived at the meeting after taking the consent of the religious stakeholders, which was essential for safeguarding age old beliefs and traditions.