header
Government

COVID-19 Surge: Uttarakhand Suspends Char Dham Yatra

The portals of the four Himalayan temples – Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath – will open as scheduled, but only for priests.

New Delhi: The Char Dham yatra in Uttarakhand which was scheduled to begin next month has been postponed in view of the massive surge in COVID-19 cases in the state.

Announcing the suspension in Dehradun on Thursday, Uttarakhand chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat said conducting the yatra amid the raging pandemic is not possible.

However, the portals of the four Himalayan temples – Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath – will open as scheduled, he said. They will open only for priests to perform regular prayers and not for devotees, he said.

On Wednesday, the state government was planning to proceed with the yatra with a series of restrictions. This had come under criticism as the state’s active cases had risen by over 1800% since the end of March. The Haridwar Kumbh Mela, attended by lakhs of people, came under criticism for enabling the spread of the virus.

On Wednesday, Uttarakhand recorded its highest single-day spike in coronavirus infections, reporting 6,054 new. The state’s cumulative tally of confirmed cases stands at 1.68 lakh. It has 45,383 active COVID-19 cases. The state also reported 108 new deaths, pushing the cumulative death toll to 2,417.

(With PTI inputs)