Dehradun, April 22:
After two years, Char Dham Yatra – an annual Hindu pilgrimage in the hill state of Uttarakhand – finally showed signs of picking up on its first day, officials said on Wednesday.
After the flash floods in 2013 which killed thousands, the four shrines – Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri – had less takers as very few devotees showed interest in travelling there.
However, on the first day of the gate opening of Yamunotri and Gangotri, there has been a slight increase in the footfall, said state officials.
About 3,000 devotees from 12 states visited Yamnotri on the first day while another 3,000 took the trip to Gangotri. The Uttarakhand government is now registering and keeping a tab on the number of people visiting the shrines.
Fifty-five foreign tourists also visited the shrine on the first day.
Domestic tourists have come mainly from Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Bihar, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat said he has personally spoken to some of the visiting devotees and they were satisfied with the arrangements.
He also informed that more than 200 rooms in private huts and other government accommodation have been reserved at Gangotri and Yamunotri. 750 rooms have been booked online.
Many vehicles of the Garhwal Motor Union have also been booked.
The gates of Kedarnath and Badrinath will open on April 24 and April 26 respectively, officials said. (IANS)