The Uttarakhand Devasthanam Management Board on Monday decided to open the "Chardham Yatra" for pilgrims from within the state from July 1 after remaining shut for months to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The four famous Himalayan shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri in Uttarakhand's Garhwal region are known as "Chardham".
An order permitting Uttarakhand residents to visit the four temples from July 1 subject to various precautionary measures and restrictions was issued by the Temple Board's CEO Ravinath Raman on Monday.
The number of pilgrims visiting the temples daily, however, will be limited and they will not be allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum and adjoining wings of the temples.
The pilgrims will not be allowed to make any offerings or touch the idols at the temples, the order said.
Pilgrims from containment and buffer zones will not be allowed to visit the temples, it added.
The SOP for pilgrims visiting the temples makes it mandatory for them to apply online for e-passes on the temple board's website.
They can embark on the yatra only after they are issued the e-passes.
People above sixty years of age, children below ten years and those with cough, cold and fever have been advised not to apply for e-passes.
Hand-sanitising, wearing masks and maintaining physical distance will be mandatory during the pilgrimage.
A similar decision was taken by the board earlier this month but had to be withdrawn following protests by priests who were averse to opening the yatra even for locals as COVID-19 cases were on the rise.
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