Monday, November 29, 1999

Religious Chardham yatra begins in Uttarakhand

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Dehra Dun, May 16 (PTI) The annual religious "Chardham yatra" began today with opening of portals of Gangotri and Yamunotri shrines, nestled in Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. Amid chanting of hymns and shlokas, doors of the two temples were opened, after six months, coinciding with the auspicious day of "Akshya Tritiya". Scores of pilgrims offered prayer at the two temples on the first day of the yatra season today, officials said. The yatra will continue for six month from today. Doors of Yamunotri shrine, situated at a height of 3700 metre in Uttarkashi district was thrown open at 1100 AM. Two hours later, the portals of Gangotri were also opened amid religious fervour. The Chardham yatra collectively comprises pilgrimage to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri shrines in Garhwal Himalayas of the hill state, which is also considered to be mainstay of the hills economy. Badrinath, which is located in Chamoli district at a height of 3133 metre, will be opened on May 19 and Kedarnath (3584 metre) on May 18. The Chardham yatra is considered as backbone of the thriving religious tourism in the state that attracts nearly 15-17 lakh pilgrims every year from home and abroad. The government has taken various steps for the smooth conduct of yatra and directed all the departments to work in tandem during the period.

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