To chants of ‘Har Har Mahadev’ and hymns, Kedarnath Dham opens after six months

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Rudraprayag (Uttarakhand): The portals or doors of Kedarnath Dham, one of the country’s oldest and most sacred pilgrimage sites, were thrown open to devotees on Friday. The portals were opened through rituals and the ceremonial chanting of hymns after a gap of six months, including the peak winter phase.

Chants of ‘Har Har Mahadev’ rang out from among the crowd of devotees, who gathered for the ceremony, as the portals were thrown open to the chanting of shlokas (hymns). Ahead of the ceremonial opening of one of the country’s holiest places of worship, the abode of Lord Shiva was decorated with 40 quintals of petals.

One of the most revered temples in the country dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva, Kedarnath draws countless devotees and visitors from across the country and beyond during the six months that it stays open. The doors of Baba Kedarnath Dham were opened at 7 am for a darshan or sighting of the deity.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, along with his wife Geeta Dhami, was present for the darshan of Baba Kedarnath at the time the temple doors were thrown open to shlokas and chants to the glory of Lord Shiva. In a post on X, the Uttarakhand Chief Minister posted a video clip of the Kedarnath temple with a song playing in the background and tagged his post with a caption that simply read, “Jai Shree Kedar.”

The doors of Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri were opened on Friday, on the auspicious occasion of Akshay Tritiya, while the doors of Badrinath Dham will be thrown open on May 12. As the doors of Shri Kedarnath Dham opened, helicopters flying overhead showered petals on the shrine.

The high-altitude shrines remain shut for six months every year, opening in summer (April or May) and closing at the onset of winter (October or November). Earlier, Lord Kedarnath’s Panchmukhi Doli departed for Kedarnath Dham from its third stop Gauramai Temple in Gaurikund.

On May 6, the Devdoli reached Shri Omkareshwar Temple Ukhimath from Shri Vishwanath Temple Guptkashi for its stay and reached its second stop Phata the day after, on May 7. The Char Dham Yatra holds profound spiritual significance in Hinduism. This journey typically occurs from April-May to October-November.

It is believed that one should complete the Char Dham Yatra in a clockwise direction. Hence, the pilgrimage starts from Yamunotri, proceeds towards Gangotri, onto Kedarnath, and finally ends at Badrinath. The journey can be completed by road or by air (helicopter services are available). Some devotees even do a Do Dham Yatra or a pilgrimage to two shrines, Kedarnath and Badrinath, as per the Uttarakhand tourism official website.

The Char Dham Yatra, or pilgrimage, is a tour of four holy sites: Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. In Hindi, ‘char’ means four and ‘dham’ refers to religious destinations, as per the Uttarakhand tourism official website.

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