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In a low-key ceremony, the gates of the Badrinath shrine were re-opened on Friday, i.e., 15th May. Chief head priest Rawal Ishwari Prasad Nambudiri, in the company of a limited number of Devasthanam board officials, opened the temple early in the morning at 4.30am. According to news agency ANI, it was informed that only 27 people, including the head priest, will be allowed at the temple.
"Devotees will not be allowed entry into the temple during that time. The decision has been taken in view of the guidelines issued by the centre amid the COVID-19 pandemic," Anil Chanyal, sub-divisional magistrate of Joshimath, said in a statement.
The officials present wore masks and followed a strict protocol of social distancing throughout the process, said Harish Gaud, media in-charge of the Devasthanam Board.
The first puja after the shrine’s opening was performed on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the welfare of mankind.
Even though there were no devotees present for the opening ceremony, the temple was decorated with lights and 10 quintals of flowers, added Gaud.
Badrinath temple was opened on April 29th after a six-month winter break, but no devotee was allowed to visit the temple due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, this Himalayan temple is one of the four temples which are part of the Char Dham Yatra, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The other three dhams are Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Gangotri.
Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat along with Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj congratulated pilgrims on the re-opening of the shrine and expressed hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will be defeated and the Char Dham Yatra begin as soon as possible.
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