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Amid COVID-19 spread, devotees offer prayers during Chardham Yatra


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DEHRADUN: After months of closure due to COVID-19 spread, devotees residing in Uttarakhand on Thursday visited the Himalayan temples of Badrinath and Kedarnath to offer prayers.

At Badrinath, as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of coronavirus, the railings of the complex were covered with a cloth. Also, before entering the premises of the shrine, the devotees were screened for coronavirus symptoms by the doctors.

"We were able to offer prayers to the lord easily this year as there is no rush," one of the devotees told said. This year people have been asked to stay at Joshimath and nearby areas instead of Badrinath. Moreover, in Kedarnath also around 55 devotees were lined up in neat rows to offer prayers to the god.

"Devasthanam Board has started the Chardham Yatra for the people. The police have been deployed and more than 55 devotees have come to visit the temple today," said Superintendent of Police Navneet Singh Bhullar.

"Now the number of travellers have started increasing. Also, along with the police, the SDRF team is also stationed at Sonprayag, Gaurikund, Linchali, Bhimbali and Kedarnath. Pilgrims will be given immediate assistance in case of any problem during the journey," he added.

Chardham Yatra for Uttarakhand residents began on Wednesday with 422 pilgrims applying for e-passes on the first day to visit the Himalayan shrines.

Due to COVID-19 spread, the pilgrims cannot touch idols at the temples. Even the bells hanging inside the premises have been covered. There will be no prasad distribution also to avoid direct contacting. 

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)