The ban imposed on the entry of pilgrims into the sanctum sanctorum of the Kedarnath temple has been lifted following a dip in the number of pilgrims visiting the Himalayan shrine. The ban had been imposed for safety reasons on May 6 considering the unprecedented rush of pilgrims, Badrinath-Kedarnath temple committee chairman Ajendra Ajay said on Saturday. "The sanctum sanctorum of the temple has very limited space and allowing pilgrims inside it could be risky. So, the ban had been imposed which meant pilgrims could not go beyond the sabha mandap. But the restriction was lifted on Friday," he said.
The relaxation has been given as there has been a sharp fall in the number of pilgrims visiting the temple daily. When the pilgrimage to Kedarnath began in May, on an average 16,000-17,000 people came per day for darshan, which has now dropped to 2,000-3,000 pilgrims per day, said BKTC chairman. When asked why the number of pilgrims to the famous temple has dropped, the BKTC chairman said it is normal during monsoon and the end of summer vacations in schools and colleges.
"A dip in pilgrim footfall is recorded every year after June 20 because there are disruptions along the yatra routes during monsoon," he said. "The end of summer vacations in schools and colleges around this time of the year is another reason for the declining numbers. However, the influx of pilgrims picks up again during September-October when the weather clears," he said. A record number of 17,39,771 have visited Kedarnath and Badrinath shrines till Friday evening since their opening on May 6 and 8, respectively.
(With PTI Inputs)