The Nainital High Court on July 28 reprimanded the Uttarakhand government for not following COVID-19 SOPs at tourist spots and also banned the Char Dham Yatra till August 18, in view of the coronavirus pandemic, news agency ANI reported.
The Uttarakhand government had on June 28 moved the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order staying Char Dham Yatra, reversing the state’s decision to open it partially for residents of three districts -- Chamoli, Uttarkashi, and Rudraprayag -- from July 1.
Following this, The Uttarakhand High Court had once again extended the stay on the Char Dham Yatra till July 28. The HC had put the government’s decision on hold in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and poor health preparedness.
Although the court had allowed live streaming of rituals at the four shrines, Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has refused to do the same stating such a practice does not find any mention in the Vedas.
He had said on July 17: “After taking into account all the suggestions, we have decided not to hold live streaming of Chardham Yatra as it is not written in the Vedas.”
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An official of the Char Dham Devasthanam Board had added: “Considering the religious beliefs and conventions associated with Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri, the board unanimously decided not to allow live-streaming of the ceremonies from the sanctum sanctorum.”
The four pilgrimage sites in the state are Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri. are They are situated in the Garhwal region, and lakhs of devotees visit these shrines every year during the Char Dham Yatra, which starts in April and ends in November.(With agency inputs)