The Char Dham yatra began on May 3 with the portals of Gangotri and Yamunotri temples in Uttarkashi district thrown open to devotees on the occasion of Akshay Tritiya.
The gates of Gangotri were opened at 11.15 a.m. and those of Yamunotri at 12.15 p.m. in the presence of thousands of devotees, administrative and temple committee officials.
The idols of goddesses Ganga and Yamuna were brought in ornate palanquins decorated with flowers from their winter abodes before the vedic rituals were started by the priests to mark the opening of the temples.
A record number of pilgrims are likely to visit Char Dham this year as it is for the first time since 2019 that the yatra has begun without the COVID-induced restrictions in force.
However, a daily limit has been imposed on the number of pilgrims visiting the temples so that they do not face any inconvenience due to limited accommodation available for them at the Himalayan shrines.
The opening of Gangotri and Yamunotri marks the commencement of the Char Dham yatra. Kedarnath opens on May 6 and Badrinath on May 8.
The daily limit on the number of pilgrims for Gangotri is 7,000, 4,000 for Yamunotri, 12,000 for Kedarnath and 15,000 for Badrinath.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami along with his wife also visited Gangotri to offer prayers and witness the ceremonious opening of the temple gates.