Reopening of the portals of Gangotri and Yamunotri shrines marked the start of the Char Dham Yatra period in Uttarakhand on Friday. The shrines to the river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna were reopened to the public amidst Vedic chanting and traditional rituals on the occasion of Akshay Tritiya. Thousands of devotees were present at the shrines in Uttarkashi district on the occasion of their reopening to the public.
Earlier, on Thursday, the idol and procession of goddess Ganga had departed from her maternal abode at Mukhba to reach the Bhairav temple in Bhaironghati for the night. On Friday morning the procession of the goddess started towards the shrine and arrived at Gangotri at about 10:30 AM. After this, Vedic chanting and various ritual ceremonies were held at the shrine before the portals of the temple were reopened to devotees at the scheduled time of 12:15 PM. About 3,000 devotees were present at Gangotri on the occasion.
In Yamunotri, the procession of the goddess arrived from Kharsali at about 11:30 PM on Friday after which various rituals were conducted before reopening of the portals of the temple to the public at about 12:15. About 2,000 devotees are reported to have been present at Yamunotri on the occasion. The reopening of the Gangotri and Yamunotri shrines marks the start of the Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand. Now the remaining two shrines of Kedarnath and Badrinath are scheduled to be reopened to the public on May 3 and May 6 respectively. While the president Pranab Mukherjee is slated to be present at the reopening of Badrinath temple, the prime minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to be in Kedarnath on the occasion of the reopening of its portals to the public.