The Char Dham pilgrimage started on Tuesday with Gangotri and Yamunotri shrines in Uttarakhand being opened to the public on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya.
The doors of Kedarnath will open on Thursday, followed by those of Badrinath a day later. The Gangotri shrine will open at 11.30 am on Tuesday and the Yamunotri at 1.15 pm.
The idol of goddess Ganga has been moved out of her winter abode in Mukhba to be reinstalled at her original abode in Gangotri, Gangotri Mandir Samiti president Suresh Semwal said.
The idol of goddess Yamuna will leave Kharsali for the Yamunotri shrine on Tuesday morning, Yamunotri temple commitee president Kriteshwar Uniyal said.
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said the government would ensure the pilgrims’ safety.
“With the opening of the Gangotri and Yamunotri temples on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya tomorrow, the char dham yatra will begin. Uttarakhand is ready to welcome the yatris. We will ensure their convenience and safety,” Rawat said in a statement.
Tourism secretary Dilip Jawalkar said despite heavy snowfall in Kedarnath, efforts were being made on a war footing to put in place all arrangements before pilgrims begin arriving at the shrine.
Around 3000 pilgrims can stay in Kedarnath together, Jawalkar said.
Char Dham pilgrimage, which attracts devotees from across the country and world, is considered the backbone of the economy of Garhwal Himalayas, where it is the main source of people’s livelihood.
The portals of the four Himalayan shrines in Uttarkhand are closed in October-November every year because of being snow and are reopened in April-May.