The portals of Kedarnath Temple were opened today. The opening ceremony was held at 5 am, news agency ANI reported. The temple was closed on November 16 last year. The first puja was held by priests on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the gates of the famous Himalayan temple were opened at 5 am, a Chardham Devasthanam Board official said.
It is for the second consecutive year that COVID has cast a shadow on the pilgrimage to the temple which has been kept out of bounds for pilgrims in view of rising coronavirus cases.
On May 14, the idol of Lord Shiva was moved out of its winter abode at Ukhimath's Omkareshwar temple. Gangotri and Yamunotri temples were reopened on May 14.
The Uttarakhand government has said that though the portals were opened, pilgrims were not allowed due to Covid-19 pandemic. The state government has suspended the Chardham Yatra this year.
The government has said that only rituals will be allowed to be performed and no pilgrims will be allowed.
"Kedarnath shrine was reopened today at 5 am with all the rituals. I pray to Baba Kedarnath to keep everyone healthy," Uttarakhand CM Tirath Singh Rawat tweeted.
The Badrinath Temple, which was closed on November 19, will reopen to devotees on May 18.
The portals of the four famous Himalayan shrines -- Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri -- are opened every year between April and May after a six-month closure during which they remain snowbound.