The portals of the Badrinath shrine, dedicated to the worship of Lord Vishnu, opened amid chanting of mantras at 4 a.m. on Monday.
The number of devotees who thronged the snow-covered premises was “beyond expectations,” according to Chamoli District Magistrate S.A. Murugesan.
“Around 7,000 people visited the shrine,” he said. More than 3,000 visitors were pilgrims, and the remaining were locals, he said.
Even after the commencement of the pilgrimage, repair work on the road from Govindghat to Badrinath has not been finished.
The Border Roads Organisation has placed earth movers at critical spots where landslips are a probability.
Steps have been taken to regulate traffic for pilgrim safety.
“We are regulating traffic at Joshimath, Pandukeshwar, Hanuman Chatti, and Badrinath. The vehicles can only proceed in batches of 20 to 25, and no vehicle will be allowed for the Yatra after sunset and during rains,” said Mr. Murugesan.
With the opening of the Badrinath shrine, the Char Dham Yatra, which involves pilgrimage to all the four Dhams — Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath, and Kedarnath — has begun.
While the Badrinath shrine opened for pilgrims on Monday, the Kedarnath shrine had opened for pilgrims on Sunday, and Gangotri and Yamunotri shrines had opened on Friday.