The high court has also ordered devotees to provide a negative Covid-19 report and double vaccination certificate and also capped the number of devotees.
Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday lifted the ban on Char Dham Yatra, allowing the pilgrimage to go ahead following strict Covid-19 protocols.
The high court has also ordered devotees to provide a negative Covid-19 report and double vaccination certificate. It has also capped the number of devotees. Only 800 devotees would be permitted at Kedarnath, 1,200 at Badrinath, 600 at Gangotri, and 400 at Yamunotri a day, Asian News International reported.
The verdict comes after the state government withdrew its special leave petition from the Supreme Court. The high court had earlier refused to intervene in the matter as the case was pending before the apex court.
Last week, the state’s advocate general made an oral request to the Chief Justice’s bench to allow the Char Dham Yatra to go ahead.
The Char Dham Yatra is linked to livelihood of thousands in the hill state. Among the stakeholders are temple trusts, restaurants and hotels, tour guides, travel agents, and chopper companies, tourist vehicle owners and other tourist-centric businesses. The yatra provides employment to over 10,000 people, forming a micro economic ecosystem that benefits the shrines and the surrounding areas.
Earlier this year, the high court had banned the Char Dham Yatra citing the threat of Covid-19. The Uttarakhand government moved the Supreme Court against the high court order. The state cabinet had resolved to begin the yatra from July 1, but the high court stayed that decision on June 28.
In 2019, prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, over 38 lakh pilgrims took part in the Char Dham Yatra and visited the shrines. The number declined to 4.2 lakh in 2020.
The decision to ban the Char Dham Yatra received support from several quarters as well following the surge in Covid-19 cases after the Uttarakhand government allowed the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar to go ahead earlier this year.