The Uttarakhand High Court today, 16 September has lifted the ban on Chardham Yatra after nearly three months. Keeping in mind the COVID-19 rules and regulations, the court has ordered to start off the Chardham Yatra.
During the hearing, which took place earlier in the day, the High Court withdrew the 28 June decision considering the ban on Chardham Yatra. Meanwhile, the Advocate General on behalf of the Uttarakhand government stated that as coronavirus infection is now much under control, the ban on the Yatra should be removed.
In view of the ongoing pandemic, the court has ordered a mandatory coronavirus negative report from yatris. The court also demanded a full (double) vaccination certificate from devotees who are planning to visit pilgrim sites including Badrinath Dham, Gangotri, Kedarnath Dham, and Yamunotri Dham.
While declaring the verdict, the court also announced the number of devotees who would be allowed in a day. Only 800 devotees would be allowed at Kedarnath Dham, 600 at Gangotri, 400 devotees at Yamunotri Dham and 1,200 at Badrinath Dham are permitted by the court.
In the meantime, the state government has informed that devotees who are taking up this pilgrimage will not be allowed to take bath in any of the Kunds (a small tank or reservoir). Also, only three people will be allowed into the sanctum sanctorum of the shrines at a time.
Moreover, the state government will further issue new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the devotees before they leave for the Yatra.
Earlier on 28 June, the High Court had put a stay on Chardham Yatra due to lack of health services, inadequate preparations to control COVID-19 infection and shortage of doctors.
For the unversed, the Chardham Yatra comprises a visit to the Kedarnath temple. This Yatra has been attracting lakhs of tourists and devotees from all over the world every year.