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May 17, 2024

Char Dham Yatra: Uttarakhand Government Extends VIP Darshan Ban Amid Surging Pilgrim Numbers

In response to the unprecedented surge in pilgrims visiting the sacred Char Dham Yatra, the Uttarakhand government has announced an extension of the ban on “VIP Darshan” until May 31, 2024. This decision aims to ensure better management and a smoother experience for all devotees.

In a communication to all Chief Secretaries of various states, Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Radha Raturi emphasized the need for this measure. She stated, “This year, there is a continuous surge in the number of pilgrims visiting the Holy Char Dham in Uttarakhand. For better management, we have decided not to have any ‘VIP Darshan’ till May 31, 2024.”

To further streamline the process, the Uttarakhand government has mandated registration for the Char Dham Yatra. Devotees are required to register on the official website (https://registrationandtouristcare.uk.gov.in/) and can only visit the Dhams on their registered date. This registration process is critical in managing the large influx of pilgrims and ensuring orderly Darshan at the holy sites.

Chief Secretary Raturi also urged elderly pilgrims and those with pre-existing medical conditions to undergo a medical examination before embarking on the Yatra. She referred them to the guidelines issued by the Department of Medical Health and Family Welfare, available at https://health.uk.gov.in/pages/display/140-char-dham-yatra-health-advisory. The government’s commitment is to provide a hassle-free and safe pilgrimage experience, and cooperation from the public is essential in achieving this goal.

The Char Dham Yatra, which began on May 10, 2024, has already seen over 2.6 million registrations from devotees across India and abroad. The journey, which holds profound spiritual significance in Hinduism, typically takes place from April-May to October-November each year.

The pilgrimage follows a specific order, believed to be auspicious when completed in a clockwise direction. Devotees begin their journey at Yamunotri, move on to Gangotri, proceed to Kedarnath, and conclude at Badrinath. This sequence is not only a spiritual ritual but also a journey through some of the most revered sites in Hinduism. Pilgrims can undertake this journey by road, with helicopter services also available for easier access.

The Char Dham Yatra involves visiting four holy sites: Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath. In Hindi, ‘char’ translates to four, and ‘dham’ means religious destination. Each site holds its own unique spiritual importance and offers devotees a chance to engage deeply with their faith.

Yamunotri, the source of the Yamuna River, is the first stop and is renowned for its thermal springs. Gangotri, the origin of the sacred Ganges River, follows next, providing a serene environment for devotion. Kedarnath, home to one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva, is the third stop and requires a challenging trek that rewards pilgrims with its spiritual ambiance. Finally, Badrinath, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, marks the culmination of the journey with its picturesque setting and rich mythological significance.

In conclusion, the Uttarakhand government’s extension of the VIP Darshan ban and the mandatory registration process reflect a commitment to ensuring that the Char Dham Yatra remains a manageable and spiritually enriching experience for all. As the number of pilgrims continues to rise, these measures are crucial for maintaining order and providing a fulfilling journey for every devotee.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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