Amidst the chants of ‘Bum, Bum, Bholey’, the portals of Kedarnath shrine was thrown open for pilgrims after six months of winter break on Thursday. Over 2000 pilgrims from different parts of India attended the opening ceremony of the famous Hindu shrine located in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand.

Kedarnath temple’s executive officer NP Jamloki said, “The portals of the temple were thrown open for pilgrims at 5.35 am. This time, token system for pilgrims has been introduced in Kedarnath. This facility will provide convenience to the visitors.”

The shrine located at an altitude of 11,755 ft above sea level, the temple township presented a picture postcard like setting with snow covered peaks on Thursday. As the chopper service for Kedarnath is yet to start, the pilgrims had to trek or opt for mule ride to reach the pilgrimage centre.

The 16-km trek to Kedarnath starts from Gaurikund. Negotiating glaciers at Limchuli, Tharu, Kuber, Hathni and Bhairav, the pilgrims reach Kedarnath.

From January first week to April last week, snowfall graced Kedarnath at regular intervals. “Kedarnath township is still covered with about over one feet snow,” said reconstruction team member Debu Bisht.

Uttarakhand Governor Baby Rani Maurya attended the portal opening ceremony in Kedarnath on Thursday.

Extremely cold condition is prevailing in Kedarnath, with the maximum temperature reaching about 18 degrees Celsius and mercury dipping to 7 degrees during night time. The tourism department has issued an advisory to the pilgrims to carry heavy woollens with them for the tour. Local people are expecting the footfall to increase in the coming days.

Gaurikund resident Rakesh Goswami said: “My idea is that the footfall will receive a boost after 23 May with the concluding of Lok Sabha election.”