Kedarnath yatra: Maximum 13,000 pilgrims to visit Himalayan shrine every day

Rudraprayag (U’khand): A maximum of 13,000 pilgrims can visit Kedarnath per day when the annual pilgrimage to the Himalayan temple in Uttarakhand begins on April 25.

The government has set a daily limit of 13,000 pilgrims for Kedarnath this time and a token system has also been introduced for the convenience of the pilgrims, Rudraprayag District Magistrate (DM) Mayur Dikshit told a press conference here on Tuesday.

Dikshit and Rudraprayag Superintendent of Police (SP) Vishakha Ashok Bhadane, who reviewed the arrangements for the forthcoming yatra, held a joint press conference.

The daily limit on the number of pilgrims visiting the temple and the introduction of the token system is meant for a smooth conduct of the yatra, Dikshit said.

The pilgrims will get better medical care this time with the deployment of 22 doctors and an equal number of pharmacists along the yatra route.

There will be three physicians and two orthopaedic surgeons among them, Dikshit said.

Twelve medical relief points have also been set up along the route.

Six ambulances have been deployed along the route, of which three have been kept in reserve, and an air ambulance has also been arranged by the government for any emergency.

Sulabh International has been given the responsibility of keeping the yatra route clean, while the Kedarnath Nagar Panchayat has been assigned the task of keeping the temple premises clean.

Permanent toilets are being built by Sulabh International and for waste management, a QR-code system is being implemented for plastic and water bottles.

Health examinations of horses and mules are also being conducted by the animal husbandry department along the yatra route.

Jal Sansthan has installed nine water purifiers from Sonprayag to Kedarnath Dham to provide pure drinking water to the pilgrims.

The DM said 2,500 people would be accommodated in Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN) guesthouses from Guptkashi to Badi Lincholi.

Besides, two tent colonies with 80 beds each are being set up at New Ghoda Padav and Himlok Colony in Kedarnath Dham, which will accommodate 1,600 people.

The SP said 450 police officers and employees have been deployed to conduct the yatra in an orderly manner and arrangements for 150-200 police personnel from outside the state are being made.

A lost-and-found centre will also be operated during the yatra. Along with this, signboards have been prepared in different languages for the pilgrims coming from various states.

Additional parking lots have been identified to deal with the frequent traffic snarls during the pilgrimage, the officials said.