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January 19, 2021

Priests oppose reopening of Gangotri, Yamunotri temples

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A section of priests at Uttarakhand’s Gangotri and Yamunotri temples on Wednesday opposed the Devasthanam Board’s decision to open the portals of Chardham for locals, saying they will not let any devotee enter the Himalayan shrines until the coronavirus pandemic subsides totally.


“We don’t accept the board’s decision on opening the temple gates for a limited number of locals. We won’t allow anyone to enter the shrine until the coronavirus infection goes away completely from Uttarakhand,” Yamunotri temple committee general secretary Manmohan Uniyal said.

Gangotri Mandir Samiti’s former president Ravindra Semwal and Rawal teerth purohits have also opposed the order issued by the Devasthanam Board.

The purohits have written a letter to Uttarkashi District Magistrate Ashish Chauhan saying they oppose the order on allowing locals to visit the temples.

They also said that their petition challenging the legality of the board’s constitution is sub-judice and therefore, the board does not have the legal right to issue an order like this.

The Chardham Devasthanam Board on Tuesday issued an order putting off the Chardham yatra till June 30, but allowed locals to visit the four Himalayan temples in limited numbers daily with permission from the district administration.

According to the order issued by the board’s CEO Ravinath Raman, 1200 is the daily limit for local devotees visiting Badrinath, 800 for Kedarnath, 600 for Gangotri and 400 for Yamunotri.

The district administration has begun preparations following the board’s order to issue permission to local devotees who are keen to visit the Himalayan shrines but so far not a single applicant has approached it.

“We will immediately issue passes to locals wanting to go to Gangotri and Yamunotri,” Bhatwadi SDM DS Negi said.

However, not a single applicant has approached the administration for a pass as yet.

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