Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Friday withdrew his decision to impose a daily limit on the number of pilgrims visiting the four famous Himalayan temples in Uttarakhand, a day before the Char Dham yatra is slated to begin.
The state government had earlier decided to put a cap on the number of pilgrims visiting the four temples daily but was under pressure from the priests and tour operators to withdraw the decision.
The chief minister has decided to withdraw the decision to put a daily cap on the number of pilgrims visiting the temples, an order issued by Additional Chief Secretary Radha Raturi said.
However, the system of online and offline registration for pilgrims coming on the yatra remains unchanged as it helps in tracking them, the order said.
With the Gangotri and Yamunotri temples scheduled to open for devotees on Saturday, the idol of goddess Ganga left in a flower-decorated palanquin from her winter abode in Mukhba.
The idol of goddess Yamuna will leave in a similar way from her winter abode of Kharsali on Saturday morning.
Kedarnath will open on April 25 and Badrinath on April 27.
Accompanied by his cabinet colleagues, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami flagged off a convoy of buses with pilgrims on board for the Char Dham Yatra from the ISBT Rishikesh by showing them green flags, saying the yatra this year was set to break all previous records.
The pilgrims bound for the Himalayan temples were also garlanded by chief minister Dhami and his ministerial colleagues.
Over 16 lakh pilgrims have already registered for the pilgrimage and the number is rising, he said.
Dhami announced that the Char Dham pilgrims will be showered with flower petals from helicopters at the four Himalayan temples this year.
He asked all stakeholders to ensure that pilgrims return home satisfied with golden memories of the yatra.
State Forest Minister Subodh Uniyal, Transport Minister Chandan Ram Das, Urban Development Minister Premchand Aggarwal, mayor Anita Mamgai- and founder of philanthropic organisation Hans Foundation Bhole Maharaj and his wife Mangla Mata were also present.
Speaking on the occasion, transport minister Das said green cards have been made for 5,000 vehicles this year and all arrangements are in place to ensure a trouble-free pilgrimage for devotees.
Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee Chairman Ajendra Ajay also flagged off a fleet of buses with Char Dham pilgrims on board from Haridwar's Maya Devi temple premises.
-With PTI Input