Rudraprayag (Uttarakhand): The doors of the Himalayan shrine the Kedarnath Dham were opened on Wednesday at 6.10 a.m. and the ‘Rudrabhishek Pooja’ was offered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On the occasion, Uttarakhand Chief Minister also greeted all devotees.
This is the first time when the ‘abhiskek’ and ‘arati’ have been conducted in the absence of devotees as the Lord Shiva shrine opened as per schedule even amid the Covid-19 lockdown following the coronavirus outbreak. No one was allowed to visit the temple.
A special worship was conducted at the temple at 3 a.m. and thereafter chief priest Shiv Shankar Ling did the ‘Samadhi Pooja’ along with other formalities.
Harish Gaur, media in-charge of Devasthanam Board, said: “Keeping in mind the social distancing norms, Shivshankar Linga performed the ‘Jalabhisheka’ of Lord Kedarnath. After the opening of the doors, the first Rudrabhishek Pooja was performed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
The temple has been decorated with 10 quintal of marigold, rose and other flowers by Satish Kalra, the donor from Rishikesh. Unlike previous years, the army band did not join the door opening ceremony of the Kedarnath Dham this time.
In fact priest Shivshankar Linga came in place of Rawal Bhimashankar Linga of Kedarnath Dham, who has been in quarantine for the last 14 days in Ukhimath.
Gaur said, “In view of the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, a limited number of board personnel, Hakukdhari Tirtha Purohit and people of administration have been allowed to visit the Kedarnath Dham.”
Gaur said, “With the opening of the doors of Kedarnath, the doors of three of the Char Dhams of Uttarakhand have been opened. The doors of Sri Gangotri-Yamunotri Dham opened on April 26 on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya, while the doors of Shri Badrinath Dham will open on May 15.”
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister, in a tweet in Hindi, said: “The doors of Kedarnath Dham have opened today. My wishes and congratulations to all of the devotees. I wish that we would always continue to get the blessings of Shri Kedarnathji. The doors have been opened only to a limited numbers due to the coronavirus. May Lord Kedarnath make us capable of fighting this pandemic. May all devotees of Lord Shiva be healthy, happy and may the god bless the entire world.”
Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Premchand Aggrawal, Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj and Chardham Development Council Acharya Shiv Prasad Mamgai also congratulated people on the occasion.
The trail leading up to the Kedarnath temple was covered with ice that has been removed by cutting through the glacier.