kedargram : Char Dham Yatra News: Alarming number of devotees visit Kedarnath on first day of Char Dham Yatra

Uttarakhand’s famous pilgrimage of the Char Dham opened up in the first week of this month, attracting an unprecedented number of devotees. Kedarnath, one of the Char Dhams, also opened up on May 6 after staying shut for the winters. What is alarming is the fact that all the four prominent religious sites sit in ecologically sensitize zones in the hill state and experts have advised against humongous gatherings here.
Locals state that Kedargram, a hamlet of a village, has the capacity to accommodate 10,000 people in a day; in spite of its limited capacity, an alarming 20,000 people turned up at Gaurikund, one of the essential pitstops on the way to Kedarnath. Reportedly, authorities had to stop devotees at Gaurikund, and a number of visitors were reported to be jostling for hotels and other night stays.

A local source also informed that some visitors had to sleep in the open as no hotels were available, and people could be seen braving the cold, with the reported minimum temperature coming down to 2 degree Celsius at night. It has also been reported that devotees had to shell out surprisingly high amount of money for tariffs to get a stay.
The alarming situation is a stark reminder of the 2013 devastation, when flashfloods and landslides wreaked havoc around Kedarnath. The official death toll from the disaster stands at more than 6000 people; massive rescue operations were exercised to save 300,000 pilgrims who were stuck in the region. The flashfloods are the worst natural disaster that the country has seen after the 2004 tsunami.
It has to be noted that the Char Dham pilgrimage stays open for visitors for 6 months every summer, and visits are advised from July to September as well rather than the peak season of May and June. Pilgrims can also better undertake the pilgrimage then, as well as make more cost-effective arrangements for travel, stay, food and more. In fact, locals opine that October is one of the best months to visit Kedarnath, when the temple usually sees just a thousand visitors in a day.