Portals of Badrinath shrine closing on Monday
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Gates of the famous Badrinath shrine will be closed for devotees from Monday, ending this year's 'Char Dham' yatra which was marred by the June rain fury and remained suspended for nearly three months.
The shrine's doors will be closed at 7.38 pm Monday for winter, according to Badrinath-Kedarnath committee officials.
The shrine, situated in the Garhwal Himalayas, was reopened on October 5 after remaining closed for nearly three months due to the damage caused by the deluge.
Portals of all four shrines of the 'Char Dham' circuit – Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath -- are closed every year ahead of the onset of winters.
As per customary practice, portals of Gangotri shrine are closed on the next day of Diwali, while those of Kedarnath and Yamunotri a day later.
Sources of the committee said the number of pilgrims were almost half that of last year and is the lowest in a decade.
At the Badrinath shrine, the number was less than five lakh while it was 9.84 lakh last year.
Kedarnath shrine, which was worst affected due to the floods, saw only 3.12 lakh people visiting, while it had 5.73 lakh pilgrims last year.
Sources said only 2.32 lakh devotees reached Yamunotri and 2.08 lakh at Gangotri.
The 'Char Dham' yatra attracts lakhs of pilgrims and tourists from across the world every year and the local economy depends heavily on it.