The Char Dham pilgrimage will reopen to devotees on Saturday after the Uttarakhand high court lifted its moratorium on the pilgrimage but ordered the implementation of Covid-19 safeguards and a daily limit on the number of people allowed.
Ravinath Raman, chief executive officer of Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board, said: “The pilgrims from anywhere who want to visit Char Dham will have to register themselves on the website… Also, they have to bring a negative Covid-19 report or a certificate for having received both doses of vaccine.”
On Thursday, the high court vacated its June 28 stay on Char Dham yatra. The number of pilgrims to be allowed daily will be 800 for Kedarnath, 1,000 for Badrinath, 600 for Gangotri, and 400 for Yamunotri. Chief secretary SS Sandhu has directed officials to ensure all SOPs are followed, and pilgrims are tested for Covid-19.
On Friday evening, the Uttarakhand government released standard operating procedures (SOP) for the yatra. They include pilgrims who should be in possession of the negative Covid-19 report, not taken more than 72 hours before, or certificate for both the Covid-19 doses (at least 15 days before), registration on the state government portal for those coming from outside of the state.
Pilgrims from Kerala, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh, even if fully vaccinated, are required to carry negative Covid-19 test reports with them for seeking e-passes from the website of the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board.
The Char Dham shrines and their surrounding areas will be sanitized thrice a day.
At the shrines, CCTV cameras will be used for checking whether pilgrims are following social distancing and wearing face masks, apart from continuous checking by law enforcement agencies, the state government said in the SOP.
Pilgrims will not be allowed to touch the idols or bells at the temples, as per the SOP..