The Uttarakhand government is considering a phased opening of the Chardham Yatra after
Covid subsides and the coronavirus-induced curfew is lifted.
It is being planned to open the Chardham Yatra in a phased manner if the pandemic
subsides in the coming weeks though nothing has been finalized yet, Tourism and Culture
Minister Satpal Maharaj said on Thursday. He had met Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat
to discuss problems faced by the tourism industry due to the second wave of Covid.
In the first phase, the yatra will be opened for residents of Chamoli, Rudraprayag
and Uttarkashi districts where the four Himalayan temples known as Chardham are
If things go smoothly, people of the rest of the districts may also be permitted to undertake
the pilgrimage in the second phase and those from outside the state in the third phase with
certain restrictions, Maharaj said. Badrinath temple is located in Chamoli
district, Kedarnath in Rudraprayag while Gangotri and Yamunotri are located in
Uttarkashi district. "However, everything will depend on the Covid situation.
A phased opening of the Chardham Yatra is possible only if the decining trend in Covid
positive and mortality rates continues and the curfew which is currently in force comes
to an end, the minister said.
The ongoing Covid curfew in Uttarakhand is scheduled to end on June 8 but certain
restrictions may continue as it is likely to be lifted in a phased manner.
Though the four Himalayan temples were opened for regular prayers as scheduled
in May, it was decided to keep them out of bounds for pilgrims till further orders due to
the raging second wave of COVID-19 Chardham Yatra was hit by the pandemic
last year to with pilgrimage to the temples delayed by several months. Its delayed
opening with a number of restrictions had limited the pilgrim footfall to a little over
3.5 lakh during the entire yatra season last year.
Maharaj also sought a relief package for the tourism industry in which people are facing
a livelihood crisis due to the Covid pandemic which has dealt a big blow to hoteliers, dhaba
owners and vehicle operators with almost nil tourist inflow.
Hotels in tourist hotspots like Nainital and Mussoorie have suffered bulk cancellation of
bookings in recent months.
Vehicle operators have also suffered with no tourists around and the Covid induced
restrictions forcing them to ply at half their capacity. With Covid curfew in force for over a
fortnight now, they are almost off the roads. "A relief package has been sought to inject life
into the beleaguered tourism industry which is the backbone of the state's economy, the