President Pranab Mukherjee was present as the gates of the Bardinath shrine in Uttarakhand opened early on Saturday morning. With this, the annual pilgrimage of the Char Dhaam Yatra became fully operational. The Kedarnath shrine was also opened earlier this week in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after a six-month winter break. Mukherjee prayed before the deity at the sanctum sanctorum amid chanting of hymns and high security. The President earlier went to the Gujarati Dharmshala and had a bath before heading for the rituals.
State Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj accompanied Mukherjee during the visit. The President had spent the night in Dehradun on Friday after taking part in an event here. An army band also played as the shrine door was opened for the pilgrims. More than 10,000 pilgrims were present for the darshan of the Lord on the first day, an official told IANS.