The rush of pilgrims at the Char Dham temples in Uttarakhand is many times higher than their capacity, Director-General of Police Ashok Kumar said on Wednesday, and appealed to the devotees to stagger their visit as the yatra will continue till November.
More than six lakh pilgrims have visited Kedarnath since it opened on April 25. Badrinath has witnessed over five lakh devotees since its opening on April 27, according to Ajendra Ajay, chairman of the Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee.
Kumar told reporters, “The rush of pilgrims at the Char Dham temples at present is many times more than their capacity. It is causing all sorts of inconvenience. Traffic management has become difficult. The trek routes to the temples often get jammed and ‘darshan’ is not smooth for the pilgrims.”
He added that many pilgrims believe that the yatra is only for the months of May-June. (Also Read | Tamil Nadu’s Kodaikanal witnessing tourist boom due to annual summer festival)
“I want to tell them it will go on till the second week of November. Visiting the temples after mid-September is the ideal time for the yatra as the weather is fine. So pilgrims can stagger their visit to the temples to avoid inconvenience,” Kumar said.
He also asked the pilgrims bound for Gangotri and Yamunotri from Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana not to take the Mussoorie route, which witnesses frequent traffic jams.
Instead of taking the Mussoorie route, the pilgrims coming from these states should go via Vikasnagar, Nainbagh and Damta, he said.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has also appealed to the pilgrims to proceed on their journey to the Char Dham temples only after taking weather updates so that they don’t face any trouble on the way.
“Sometimes there is rain, sometimes there is snowfall. The pilgrims must update themselves about the weather before proceeding on their journey to the Himalayan temples as we do not want them to face any inconvenience,” Dhami told reporters.
The Met office on Tuesday issued an ‘orange’ alert for three days, warning of heavy rain and hailstorm at several places.
Ajay told PTI, “On an average, more than 20,000 pilgrims are visiting Kedarnath and Badrinath daily while their bearing capacity per day should be around 10,000.”
He said not all who visit the temples are pilgrims.
“A considerable chunk of the present rush consists of YouTubers and travel vloggers who visit the temples not purely for the purpose of pilgrimage but to increase the popularity of their vlogs or YouTube channels,” Ajay said.
“They often add to the trouble of genuine pilgrims as they break into song or dance anytime anywhere, showing total disregard for the religious traditions associated with the temples,” he said.
“The large influx of vloggers and YouTubers is another kind of disaster that has befallen the Himalayan temples in recent years,” he added.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.