The portals of the Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand's Rudraprayag district were thrown open to pilgrims today after a six-month-long winter break.
The gates of the temple decorated with flowers opened at 6.15 am in the presence of priests and scores of devotees. The idol of Lord Shiva, which was moved to his winter abode Omkareshwar Temple at Ukhimath, was reinstalled at Kedarnath after performing Bhairavnath puja.
The Kedarnath doli (palanquin) was transferred from its winter seat on Tuesday and reached Kedarnath via Gaurikund today.
With this, the pilgrims will be able to undertake the auspicious chardham yatra to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
The portals of Gangotri dham and Yamunotri dham in Uttarakhand were opened for pilgrims on Tuesday and the doors of Badrinath will be re-opened for pilgrims tomorrow.
"Today people can witness Akhand Jyoti. The main pooja at the temple will begin after opening the gates of Bhairava Temple. This is a 5,100-year-old temple, Pandavas came here after killing Kauravas for salvation. They wanted to give offerings to Lord Shiva but he disguised himself as a bull and hid from them as he was convinced of their guilt and wanted to avoid them. The temple was initially built by the Pandavas," a priest at the temple said.
The chardham yatra which includes a visit to the Kedarnath temple attracts lakhs of tourists and devotees every year from across the country and abroad.
In its advisory, the Uttarakhand Tourism Department has directed pilgrims to carry woollen clothes and medicines as Kedarnath is located at 11,755 ft above the sea level.
Adequate electricity, water, health and safety arrangements were made on the trek route from Gaurikund to Kedarnath for over 3,000 devotees. The government has also arranged shelter facilities for visitors.
Several new features, like a daily laser show on Lord Shiva, were introduced to visitors last year.
Kedarnath witnessed heavy snowfall from December to February.