Nestled in the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas, Badrinath Dham used to receive an enormous number of devotees every year, who flocked to the fabled shrine to receive a glimpse of ‘Badri Vishal’ – a form of Lord Vishnu. However, this year has been much different for Badrinath Dham, due to the nationwide lockdown in wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
Located in the Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, Badrinath is one of the four temples which are part of the Char Dham Yatra, the other three dhams being the Himalayan temples of Gangotri, Yamunotri, and Kedarnath. After being closed for a six-month winter break, the shrine was recently re-opened in a low-key ceremony.
The ceremony was quite different from the previous years, since no devotees were allowed to visit the temple amid Covid-19 outbreak in Uttarakhand. The only attendees were the 26 Devasthanam board officials, along with the chief head priest, Rawal Ishwari Prasad Nambudiri, who performed the puja.
According to the media in-charge of the Devasthanam Board, Harish Gaud, devotees were not allowed entry into the temple during the puja. “This decision was taken in view of the guidelines issued by the government amid the Covid-19 pandemic. All the officials present at the ceremony followed a strict protocol of social distancing and wore masks,” he said.
Despite the absence of devotees, Badrinath Dham was decorated with 10 quintals of flowers and lights. The first puja was performed on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for the welfare of the humankind.
Post the opening ceremony, Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat and the state Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj congratulated pilgrims on the re-opening of the shrine. They also expressed hope that the pandemic would soon be defeated and the Char Dham Yatra will commence soon as the nation returns to normalcy.
Last modified: May 21, 2020