COVID-19 surge: What is Char Dham Yatra and why did Uttrarakhand govt suspend it?

The Uttarakhand government on Thursday suspended the Char Dham Yatra to the four famous Himalayan shrines in Uttarakhand, which was scheduled to begin next month from May 14.

Why has the govt suspended the Char Dham Yatra?

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat said the decision has been taken in view of the rising cases of coronavirus infections.

The Chief Minister said that only priests of the four temples will perform rituals and puja. "Uttarakhand government has suspended Char Dham Yatra this year in view of COVID-19 situation in the state. Only priests of the four temples will perform rituals and puja," said Rawat.

What is Char Dham Yatra?

The Char Dham is a set of four pilgrimage sites in India. The four pilgrimage sites are Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri in Uttarakhand. This Yatra is also called Chota Char Dham Yatra. These shrines are located in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand.

Char Dham Yatra is considered an important one for Hindus. It is believed that Char Dham Yatra opens the gates of salvation by washing away the sins of a lifetime. It is said that when a pilgrim finishes the Char Dham Yatra, he attains absolute peace of mind.

Meanwhile, the original Char Dham refers to the four holy sites situated in four different corners of the country, established by Adi Shankaracharya in eighth century AD. The places he had established as the Char Dham were Badrinath, Puri, Rameshwaram and Dwarka. However, a smaller circuit of the pilgrimage was made out of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath in Uttarakhand.

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