DEHRADUN: The sacred portals of the Kedarnath Dham located in the high Garhwal Himalayan region of Uttarakhand were closed for winter on Thursday.
Sources in the Badrinath Kedarnath Temple Committee said the doors of the temple were closed for the devotees at 8.30 am after offering prayers amid chanting of vedic hymns.
More than 3,000 devotees along with temple committee president Ajendra Ajay, teerth purohit and officials of the Rudraprayag district administration were present on the occasion, while the Indian Army’s 11th Maratha Regiment played devotional tunes.
Over 43 lakh pilgrims reached Chardham this year. In Kedarnath alone, 15,61,882 devotees paid obeisance at the temple.
The media in-charge of the temple committee, Dr. Harish Gaur said the Kedarnath temple opened its portals at 3 am and the process of closing the doors for the winter started at 4 am.
The sanctum sanctorum and the main gate of the temple were closed after temple priest T. Gangadhar Linga covered the ‘jyotirlinga’ with Baghambar, Bhringraj flower, Bhasma, local dry flowers and leaves and the panchmukhi doli’ of Lord Shankar left for the Omkareshwar temple of Ukhimath.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami thanked the pilgrims and said a record number of pilgrims reached Chardham Yatra this time.
The new Kedarpuri has come into existence under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi where facilities are being provided to the pilgrims, he said.
Dhami said recently the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of the Gaurikund-Kedarnath Ropeway and its construction will make Kedarnath Yatra easier.
The doors of Gangotri Dham, one of the famous temples of the Garhwal Himalayas known as Chardham, were closed on Wednesday for the winter season on the occasion of Annakoot festival.
The doors of Yamunotri will also be closed on Thursday, while the doors of Badrinath will be closed on November 19.
The four Himalayan temples of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri located in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand are closed for six months every year for the winters when they remain snowbound.
Lakhs of devotees visit every year for the Chardham Yatra, which is considered to be the economic backbone of the Garhwal region.