Inappropriate, loud noise: Uttarakhand govt bans shooting videos, reels at Char Dham

CM Dhami also appeals to VIPs to postpone their visit after May 21

Badrinath temple

The Uttarakhand government has banned the shooting of videos and making reels within a 50-meter radius of the shrines at the Char Dham. 

This is a long overdue decision as video makers not only block the path of pilgrims and hold up the lines, but they also indulge in behaviour that might be considered inappropriate for a place of sanctity.

The state’s Chief Secretary Radha Raturi said, “Some people do videography, make reels, sing, play songs and music which hurts the religious sentiments of other devotees. There is no prohibition in keeping a mobile and using it for calls. But, one cannot go to the temple premises and play (loud music), make reels and cause inconvenience.”

There were cries of protest when a 60-quintal ‘Om’ figure was installed at Kedarnath Dham in 2023. It has since turned into a selfie point. Many believe that the focus on such matters disturb the feelings of devotion and quiet contemplation that mark visits to holy places. 

The state’s Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, in a review meeting, has also appealed to all VIPs to postpone their yatra after May 21, given the rush of devotees.

In addition, all states have been sent letters to the effect that no unregistered yatris should come for the yatra as it creates chaos. Registrations are only open online, and the government has requested that those with registrations reach Dham on the specified date. Health check-ups before the yatra are mandatory, and those with co-morbidities such as heart problems are requested to disclose the information. 

The growing habit of making reels- sometimes in inappropriate positions, loud voice etc. has been a matter of concern at other places of worship as well. In Ayodhya for instance, there have been more than one instance of locals roughing up people bathing in the Sarayu, at the ghats, and making reels set to obscene songs. Mahant Raju Das said, “There should be respect for the religious and spiritual sanctity of holy places. If you are only coming for photos, reels and display on social media, there are many other places to go to.” Ayodhya itself has some 13 selfie points and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was famously photographed at the Lata Mangeshkar Chowk, taking a photo of himself with a phone mounted on a selfie stick. 

The Char Dham yatra was thrown open on May 10. Till Thursday, more than 3.3 lakh people had visited the shrines.

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