The Char Dham pilgrimage in Uttarakhand begins from today on the auspicious Akshaya Tritiya festival with the reopening of Gangotri, Yamunotri and Kedarnath. Badrinath will begin on May 11. Along with the Chardhams, the Sikh pilgrimage center, Hemkund Sahib will also open on May 25. Many off routes and high altitude temples dedicated to Lord Shiva like Tungnath will re-open on May 11, followed by Rudranath on May 18 and Madmaheswar on May 20. Suresh Semwal, Gangotri Temple Secretary, informed the media that both Gangotri and Yamunotri shrines shall reopen on the auspicious day of Akshay Tritiya Festival. 12:30 AM will be the opening time at the Gangotri and 11.30 AM for Yamunotri.
Traditionally, the yatra comes to a halt in the first week on November due to fall in temperature, and the shrine remains unreachable due to heavy snowfall. Later, in the spring season, on the occasion of Basant Panchami, dates for the re-opening of the shrines are announced as per ancient rites and rituals.
Chardham Yatra in Uttarakhand is the biggest revenue source in the state. Uttrakhand has been under the presidential rule since March 28. However, Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul has taken a keen interest in the smooth running of the pilgrimage. Besides the routine police force, five companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), comprising around 350 personnel, have been deployed for the Char Dham duty to run the yatra smoothly.