Char Dham yatra: Over 9.5 lakh pilgrims visit Uttarakhand; both tourist numbers and deaths hit a high

As many as 52 persons died due to heart attack

Badrinath temple (File) Devotees arrive to offer prayers at Badrinath Temple during the Char Dham yatra | PTI

More than twice the number of tourists have visited the Char Dham in Uttarakhand this year, where yatra started in May. Kedarnath, which like Gangotri and Yamunotri, started receiving pilgrims on May 10, leads with 4.24 lakh visitors. However, the number of deaths has also risen. 

Till Friday, as per the state government's figures, 9.67 lakh pilgrims have visited and, as many as 52 persons, mostly aged above 60 years, died during this period due to heart attacks. Kedarnath leads here too with 23 deaths. In 2023, 23 people died on a single day in Kedarnath due to heavy snowfall. Last year, a total of 56 lakh persons took the yatra and 223 pilgrims died.

On Friday, a chopper en route to Kedarnath, carrying six pilgrims from Tamil Nadu, developed a fault in its hydraulic system but, there were no casualties. 

Vinay Shankar Pandey, the Commissioner of Garhwal said, “We had to stop pilgrims from proceeding upwards for a week, but now things are streamlined." This, he said, was the result of people reaching Uttarakhand and then registering for the yatra. Rishikesh and Haridwar are the most popular starting points for the yatra. According to government orders, the concerned officers will be answerable if visitors reach the state before the allotted date of the yatra. For now, all registrations are on hold till May 31. 

In addition, there have been incidents of fake registrations and FIRs have been registered against 10 tour operators.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has instructed that special attention be paid to cleanliness and sector magistrates are required to provide updates every two hours.

Shri Badrinath Kedarnath Mandir Samiti chairperson, Ajendra Ajay said, “The number of tourists has been beyond capacity. This led to some initial difficulties. Government measures have now smoothened things”.

Join our WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news, exclusives and videos on WhatsApp