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One of the most revered pilgrim centres of Northern India, Kedarnath, set amidst the snow-clad mountains of the Garhwal Himalayan range along the Mandakini river, is thronged by lakhs of tourists every year. The motorable road stretches all the way from Gaurikund to the Kedarnath shrine. While ponies and mules are available, one can also avail helicopter services during the yatra season.
The Uttarakhand government in order to ease this road journey for the pilgrim plans to introduce new and improved facilities along the route. Massage facilities will be provided to the pilgrims through the 16km trek from Gaurikund to the sacred shine. As per the state government’s policy, 7 massage centres will be set up, equipped with massage chairs similar to those found in shopping malls. Main halts like Bheembali, Rincholi, Rudra point and Junglechatti will be seen providing these services. The objective behind this move is to provide a place for relaxation and rejuvenation to the pilgrims and help them overcome fatigue during the journey, especially the elderly and those who might face difficulties owing to the landscape, terrain and weather conditions.
Through this move, the administration also aims to generate more employment opportunities for the local youth.
Additionally, the government plans to take some precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the pilgrims. This includes making helmets mandatory for those riding on ponies and mules to safeguard tourists and operators against the falling pebbles and boulders following landslides during the yatra season.
Having witnessed a footfall of nearly 10 lakh visitors, during this pilgrim season which ended on October 29, 2019, these numbers are expected to further increase in 2020.
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