Kedarnath closes for winters amid heavy snowfall

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Gopeshwar, Nov 16 (PTI) The portals of Kedarnath were closed for winters on the occasion of Bhai Dooj on Monday amid heavy snowfall at the Himalayan temple.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Yogi Adityanath, and priests and officials of Devasthanam Board were present as the temple gates were closed at 8.30 am after an elaborate ceremony.

The two chief ministers arrived at the shrine on Sunday to offer prayers and take a look at the reconstruction projects underway at Kedarpuri.

The temple priest also performed a 'Samadhi Puja' of Lord Shiva.

After the ceremony, an idol of Lord Shiva left on board a flower bedecked palanquin, also called Utsav Doli, for the Omkareshwar Temple in Ukhimath where he will be worshipped during the winter season.

Snowfall accompanied by a drizzle began in Kedarnath on Sunday night and continued till the morning.

This year, 1,35,023 pilgrims visited Kedarnath, which had a delayed and restricted opening for devotees due to COVID-19. Though the temple gates were opened on April 29, it was open only for priests until July 1. PTI CORR ALM DPB