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Snowfall in Char Dham towns, Kedarnath pilgrimage stopped

Dehradun: The Rudraprayag district administration on Monday halted the Kedarnath pilgrimage temporarily in the wake of snowfall and inclement weather conditions since Sunday night.
"Considering the safety of the pilgrims, the Kedarnath yatra was stopped at 8:30 am on Monday. Chopper services to the shrine also did not operate till 2:30 pm due to foggy conditions," NK Rajwar, district disaster management officer of Rudraprayag, told.
Before the yatra was stopped, as many as 8,835 pilgrims had already left from Sonprayag (transit point) to trek to the revered shrine. After the rain and thunderstorm activity started, the remaining pilgrims were stopped. They were lodged at Ukhimath, Sonprayag, and Gaurikund and asked to stay there until further announcement as the regional meteorological center has issued an alert of more rain and thunderstorm activity on Tuesday. Meanwhile, in view of inclement weather conditions, police have appealed to people to postpone the yatra. "The yatra was stopped due to bad weather on Monday. Keeping the safety of pilgrims in mind, we are requesting them to postpone the yatra to Kedarnath till the weather gets clear," said Prabodh Kumar Ghildiyal, circle officer (CO) Rudraprayag.
In the meantime, the temperature level dropped in Kedarnath after the hills surrounding the Kedar valley were lashed by snowfall on Monday. The temple town is witnessing a footfall of more than 8,000 pilgrims daily. Given the rush of pilgrims for the Char Dham yatra this year, the Uttarakhand government has put a per-day limit on the number of pilgrims allowed in each shrine. In Kedarnath, a maximum of 13,000 people are allowed daily. Nearly 3 lakh people have visited Kedarnath since the portals of the Himalayan shrine were opened on May 6.
A fresh bout of snowfall occurred in other Char Dham towns as well. High-altitude areas in Chamoli and Uttarkashi received a snow spell on Sunday night.

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