The sacred portals of Sri Hemkund Sahib, a revered Sikh shrine in the Garhwal Himalayas, were reopened for devotees on Saturday after the annual winter hiatus.
The gates of the shrine were reopened at around 10.25 am after a ceremony marked by the recital of Guru Ardas, Shabad Keertan and Gurbani, Chamoli, police said.
Around 8,000 devotees paid obeisance at the shrine on the opening day, it said.
Located at a height of 15,000 ft above the sea-level about 21 km from Govind Ghat, Hemkund Sahib was built alongside a lake where the 10th guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, is said to have performed meditation.
One of the most revered of the Sikh shrines, Hemkund Sahib, which remains snowbound during winter draws devotees from all over the world.
Devotees have to undertake a steep trek of around 18 km to reach the shrine which is closed every year during winter due to snowbound conditions.
Police have appealed to devotees to undertake the trek during the daytime only through the route specified by the administration and not to go for shortcuts which may cause them to lose the way.
They should set out for the trek only after a proper medical check-up and carry basic medicines with them, Chamoli district police said in an appeal.
It also advised them to go preferably in groups. State Disaster Response Force teams have been deployed at Bhyundar and Ghanghariya, the main halts on way to the shrine, for convenience of the devotees, it said.