The Char Dham Yatra, main pilgrimage season of Uttarakhand, began in the hill state on a simple manner on Sunday with the opening of Gangotri and Yamunotri shrines. This time the scene was totally different and leaving a handful of people nobody was allowed to attend the opening ceremonies. For the first time in the pilgrimage history of the hill state, the participants wore masks and maintained social distance during the religious function.

Amidst chanting of Vedic hymns and chant of ‘Ganga mata ki jai’ the Gangotri shrine, located in district Uttarkashi, reopened at 12:35 pm on Sunday. The portals of Yamunotri shrine were reopened, after six month of winter break, at 12.41 p.m.

Uttarkashi District Magistrate Dr. Ashish Chauhan said, “Due to Coronavirus and nationwide lockdown, both Gangotri and Yamunotri were opened in simple manner and by following the guidelines issued by the Government of India. Due to Covid-19 and lockdown, medical test of all the pilgrims and priests attending the opening were conducted at both pilgrimage centres.”

The Char Dham Yatra is considered the backbone of Uttarakhand economy. The Kedarnath shrine will reopen on coming 29 April and Badrinath on 15 May.