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The sacred portals of the Himalayan shrine of Kedarnath were reopened on Monday amidst strict COVID-19 protocol. Devotees could not attend the opening ceremony, but arrangements were made for them to have online ‘darshan’.

The gates of the temple, which houses one of the 11 jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and attracts devotees from across the world, were opened at 5 am after a ritualistic ceremony. Gangotri and Yamunotri temples were reopened on May 14.

“Kedarnath shrine was reopened today at 5 am with all the rituals. I pray to Baba Kedarnath to keep everyone healthy”, tweeted Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat.

Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand government has announced that the ‘Chardham Yatra’ has been temporarily suspended in view of the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic. “In view of the COVID pandemic, ‘Chardham Yatra’ is temporarily suspended. Only rituals are being performed with no pilgrims allowed,” the Uttarakhand DIPR said today.

The portals of the four famous shrines – Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri – are opened every year between April and May after a six-month closure. Portals of Badrinath temple will reopen on Brahmamuhurt at 4.15 am tomorrow (Tuesday, May 18).