Kin Visiting Haridwar to Immerse Ashes Can Stay in Town for 24 Hours as Govt Relaxes Restrictions

Those visiting Haridwar to immerse ashes as part of post-cremation rituals will now be allowed to stay in the town for 24 hours as restrictions under the coronavirus lockdown were relaxed.

Priests’ body Ganga Sabha welcomed the move, saying around 500 urns are brought daily by families amid the lockdown, the Times of India reported.

Authorities have also asked the hoteliers to maintain a record of the families visiting the town and asked families to follow social distancing norms and other guidelines related to the pandemic.

A total of 2,831 people have been infected by the virus in Uttarakhand, latest figures from the Union health ministry show.

India’s Covid-19 tally on Wednesday crossed the 5.85 lakh-mark, with over 500 deaths being reported in 24 hours. The worrying rise in figures comes even as the country begins phase 2 of Unlock to significantly lower restrictions and get the economy back on track.

Earlier, the Uttarakhand Devasthanam Management Board decided to open the 'Chardham yatra' for pilgrims from within the state from July 1. The four famous Himalayan shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri in Uttarakhand's Garhwal region are known as 'Chardham'.

An order permitting Uttarakhand residents to visit the four temples from July 1 subject to various anti-COVID precautionary measures and restrictions was issued by the Board's CEO Ravinath Raman. The number of pilgrims visiting the temples daily, however, will be limited and they will not be allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum and adjoining wings of the temples.

The Kanwar Yatra -- an annual pilgrimage to Haridwar in Uttarakhand – however has been cancelled by the state government as the number of coronavirus cases rises across the country.