This year, there will be a new and better version of Char Dham Yatra; made smoother by a token system implemented for the first time in Kedarnath. The pilgrimage in Uttarakhand begins on May 7 at Gangotri and Yamanotri, May 9 in Kedarnath and May 10 in Badrinath respectively. The closing date for the Yatra is October 29.
The most chaotic of them all is Kedarnath, which is why measures are being taken so that travellers don’t have to stand in a long queue in the monsoons and cold. A token system is being implemeted, wherein only one thousand pilgrims will be able to stay at night at one time in Kedarnath. For that, 36 photometric registration centres have also been set up.
Kedarnath Temple, situated at an elevation of 3,584 meters on Mandakini River in Rudraprayag district, is the twelfth Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva. Gangotri Dham is said to be the mother of the Ganges and Yamanotri, the mother of Yamuna River. Badrinath Dham, situated on the banks of Alaknanda, is called Moksha ka Dham, where Lord Vishnu sits in a yogic posture.
This time, heavy snowfall is being anticipated in the winters; due to which there will invariably be a lot of damage in Kedarnath Dham. Therefore, the arrangements for stay have been tweaked. Only a thousand devotees will be able to stay the night in Kedarnath Dham at one time. Five hundred pilgrims can stay at Linchauli near Kedarnath. Around eight thousand devotees can stay at Gaurikund at one time. Private vehicles of devotees coming to Kedarnath will however, not be allowed till Gaurikund. They will be stopped in Sonprayag, 6 kilometres before Gaurikund. Every year about 25 lakh devotees visit Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamnotri for their pilgrimage.
Since the journey begins from Rishikesh, the most important photometric registration centre has been established there. Apart from this, passengers can also register at many other places including Haridwar, Dobta, Badkot, Fata, Sonprayag, Joshimath, and Pandukeshwar. In case of any kind of accident, this will help get the administration accurate information. Weather forecast will also be shared on registered mobile numbers to intimate the pilgrims of major weather changes. This system is a great development after the horrific calamity in the hills of Garhwal in 2013.