Dehradun: Amid elaborate rituals, the portals of the Himalayan shrines in Kedarnath and Yamunotri were closed for the winter season on Saturday.
The portals of Gangotri shrine were closed on Friday. The only temple in the Char Dham pilgrimage circuit yet to be closed is Badrinath. Its closure is slated for November 19. The gates of the temple in Kedarnath were closed at 8.20 am after 'Samadhi pujan' and 'Shuddhikaran' ceremonies were held at the sanctum sanctorum in presence of temple committee officials and Rudraprayag District Magistrate Mangesh Ghildiyal, chief executive officer of Shri Badrinath-Shri Kedarnath Mandir Samiti B D Singh told PTI.
Over 2,000 devotees witnessed the ceremony, which lasted for over two hours, he said.
The flower-bedecked palanquin (Utsav Doli) of Lord Shiva, to whom the temple is dedicated, then proceeded towards the Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath where it will be worshipped during the winter sojourn. The palanquin will reach Ukhimath on October 23, Singh said, adding a total of 4,71,235 devotees visited the temple this season, almost the double of the number of pilgrims who visited the shrine last year.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered prayers at the shrine and laid the foundation stones of five reconstruction projects in Kedarnath region.
The gates of the temple in Yamunotri, another major Himalayan shrine in Uttarakhand which draws lakhs of devotees every year, were also closed today for the winter season at 1:27 pm, Uttarkashi District Magistrate Ashish Chauhan said. The idol of Goddess Yamuna then left in a palanquin for Kharsali, her winter abode. The temples of the Char Dham pilgrimage circuit are closed for devotees for nearly six months every year as they become totally snowbound during winter.