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Badrinath shrine's portals opened for summers, devotees not allowed due to Covid-19

The portals of Badrinath Temple were opened early on Friday in the presence of only 28 people, including the chief priest, due to the lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19), news agency ANI reported.

The doors of the famous shrine in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district, which was decorated with strings of marigold flowers, was opened at 4:30am after a long winter break.

"Devotees will not be allowed entry into the temple during that time. The decision has been taken in view of the guidelines issued by the Centre amid Covid-19 pandemic," Anil Chanyal, Joshimath's sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), had said in a statement earlier.

Religious ceremonies were also held on Wednesday at the Narsingh temple in Joshimath ahead of the scheduled date for the opening of the portals of the Badrinath temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Around 10,000 pilgrims had visited the shrine last year on the first day of its opening as per an estimated figure.

Manujendra Shah, the king of the Tehri royal family who is considered the 'Bolanda Badri' or talking Lord Badri, had on April 20 changed the date of opening of the portals of Badrinath shrine as the chief priest was under the quarantine after returning from Kerala.

This is the first time in history that the dates for the opening of portals of the shrines have been changed.

The portals of Kedarnath temple were also opened on April 29 after a six-month-long winter break. Pilgrims were prohibited from visiting the shrine because of the lockdown.

One of the most visited pilgrimage centres of India, Badrinath is one of the Char Dhams or the four main pilgrimage centres of the Hindus located in Garhwal hills.

The Badrinath Temple is along the banks of the Alaknanda River in Chamoli district at a height of over 10,000 feet.

(Inputs and image from hindustantimes.com)

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