By Our Staff Reporter
Kedarnath/Dehradun, 17 May: The portals of the Kedarnath Temple, one of the major Char Dham shrines, opened today for the new Yatra season at 5 a.m. amid chanting of mantras and performance of all rituals.
However, the portal opening ceremony was not attended by any VVIP or outsiders in view of the Corona restrictions this year. Only a limited number of priests and officials were present during the ceremony. It may be recalled that the Char Dham Yatra has not been opened for pilgrims, so far, despite the portals of Gangotri and Yamunotri Temples having been opened earlier this month, in view of the ongoing Covid pandemic. The rituals for the opening of the portals began at the scheduled time at 3 a.m. today. Rawal Bhimashankar, Chief Priest Bagesh Linga and Additional Chief Executive Officer of Devasthanam Board, BD Singh, along with District Magistrate, Rudraprayag, Manuj Goyal entered the temple main courtyard from the east gate. The main gates of the Kedarnath temple were opened at exactly five this morning after the worship and recital of the mantras.
After the opening, the Chief Priest, Bagesh Linga, awakened the Swayambhu Shivalinga from Samadhi and performed the Shringara and Rudrabhishek Pujas after the Nirvana Darshan.
Meanwhile, the Doli of Lord Badrinath, too, reached Badrinath town, today, and the portals of the Badrinath Temple will be opened tomorrow at 4:15 a.m. The Kedarnath Dham is considered to be the eleventh Jyotirlinga and the portals are opened during the Aries Lagna (ascendant zodiac sign) and Punavasu Nakshatra.
The first Rudrabhishek Puja (Puja offered at Shiva Temples) was offered in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had also offered prayers at the opening of the Gangotri and Yamunotri temples, too. As the Yatra remains suspended in view of the pandemic and the pilgrims are not being allowed, Modi did not personally offer his worship. The weather at the Dham is cold and snow is present at some distance from the temple.
State Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat has expressed happiness at the opening of the doors of Kedarnath Dham and also wished for the well-being of the people. He appealed to the pilgrims and the devotees to offer prayers from their homes in view of the pandemic. Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj has expressed the hope that the Char Dham Yatra would soon begin once the pandemic has been brought under control. He reminded that, it was at his initiative that the first Puja at all the Char Dham temples was being offered in name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the objective of public welfare.
The Kedarnath Temple was decorated with 11 quintals of flowers donated by the Saurabh Kalra Group of Rishikesh on this occasion. Among those present were Rawal Bhimashankar Linga, Kedar Linga, Chief Priest Bagesh Linga, Additional Chief Executive Officer of Devasthanam Board, BD Singh, District Magistrate Manuj Goyal, and Circle Officer of Police, Anil Manral. Tourism Secretary Dilip Javalkar said that, after the opening of the portals of the KedarnathDham, the Kedarnath Master Plan works would gain further momentum.
Corona SOPs like wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing, thermal screening and using sanitisers were strictly adhered to during the ceremony according to the officials. Media in-charge of Devasthanam Board, Dr Harish Gaur said that the portals of the Badrinath Dham would open at 4:15 a.m. tomorrow. The portals of the third Kedar, Tungnath Temple and the fourth Kedar, Rudranath Temple also opened, today, while the portals of the second Kedar, Madamaheshwar, would open on 24 May. So far, the dates of opening of the portals of the Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib and Laxman Temple have not been declared as yet.