Char Dham Yatra 2023 begins on Akshay Tritiya; no cap on number of pilgrims

Pilgrims must still register themselves online or offline; state takes series of health measures and arranges flower petal showers on pilgrims from choppers

Char Dham Yatra 2023, Pushkar Singh Dhami, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, Yamunotri
Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami participates in the rituals for the departure of Maa Yamuna's Doli from village Kharsali on Saturday | Pic: Twitter/ANI

The Char Dham Yatra for 2023 began on Saturday (April 22), on the auspicious occasion of Akshay Tritiya. The Gangotri and Yamunotri temples opened for devotees on Saturday, while Kedarnath will open on April 25 and Badrinath on April 27.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Friday officially inaugurated the Char Dham Yatra 2023, organised by the Joint Rotation Yatra Vayavstha Samiti, by flagging off a convoy of pilgrims’ buses at the Inter-state Bus Terminal (ISBT) in Rishikesh.

The state government, which had earlier decided to put a cap on the number of pilgrims visiting the four temples daily, withdrew it shortly before the event, confirmed an official communication from Additional Chief Secretary Radha Raturi.


However, pilgrims will still have to register online or offline, as it helps the administration keep track, Dhami explained. Also, several steps have been taken to ensure the health needs of pilgrims.

Health measures

Health Secretary Dr RK Rajesh Kumar took stock of the health services on the Char Dham Yatra route, inspecting the health units on route to Kedarnath Dham. He oversaw the arrangements at health centres in Guptkashi, Sonprayag, Gaurikund, and other places and gave instructions to officials.

“Guidelines have been issued for the journey. Travellers have been asked to acclimatize their bodies to the mountain conditions during the journey. If you face any difficulty, rest for some time before starting again,” said Kumar.

The health secretary also asked all devotees aged above 55 and suffering from high blood sugar or pressure, heart disease, etc., to mention their conditions so that they can be monitored.

Kumar said this time, the government has a special focus on the Kedarnath pilgrimage route. “A medical relief post has been made here at every kilometre. To improve health services in Uttarakhand Char Dham, 130 doctors have been deployed. Doctors, paramedical staff, oxygen cylinders, and medicines will be available. This time, there will be a point-of-care testing device. Testing of 28 types of diseases can be done with this device,” he said, according to news agency ANI.

Besides the medical arrangements, Dhami has also announced a special treatment for Char Dham pilgrims. They will be showered with flower petals from helicopters at the four Himalayan temples this year.

On Saturday, as Dhami participated in the departure of Maa Yamuna’s Doli from Kharsali village, a helicopter showered flower petals on the procession. Dhami also participated in the portal-opening ceremony of Gangotri temple.

Around 16 lakh people have registered for the Yatra so far, Dhami said.

(With agency inputs)