Officials, priests and others held a meeting at Ukhimath regarding the departure of lord Kedarnath’s Utsav Doli from here for reopening of the shrine on May 17 in observance of Covid protocols. Representatives of the Char Dham Devasthanam Board, local administration, Kedarnath Sabha and local public representatives were present in the discussions. However, a consensus could not be reached in the meeting regarding the programme. While some were of the opinion that the procession of the Utsav Doli should be held as per tradition and halt at various places before reaching Kedarnath. However, others were of the view that considering the Covid surge, the procession should be undertaken strictly as per the Covid guidelines.
The Kedarnath Rawal (head priest) Bhima Shankar Ling said that the Tehsil administration should soon provide the order regarding the observance of Covid guidelines to the temple management so that discussions can be held accordingly and the programme can be held.
The Tehsil officials said that if the Utsav Doli procession follows tradition and passes through various stops on foot, the Devasthanam Board and all others involved will have to provide an assurance that the governmental guidelines on Covid will not be violated. It was also stated in the meeting that all those who participate in the procession should get tested for Covid and take the vaccine to minimise the risk of infection.
It is pertinent to mention here that the State government has suspended the Char Dham Yatra for pilgrims considering the surge in Covid-19 cases.
Only the priests will conduct the ritual reopening and daily worship in the shrines for which SOPs have also been released by the Devasthanam Board.