Pilgrims on their way to Kedarnath temple in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand on Wednesday.

Pilgrims on their way to Kedarnath temple in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand on Wednesday.
| Photo Credit: PTI

The Garhwal Divisional Commissioner on Wednesday said 11 people have died so far during the Char Dham Yatra, which started on May 10, in Uttarakhand.

The State government said that till May 14, 26.73 lakh people have registered on the portal to take the yatra that comprises four shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. Through offline means, over 1.24 lakh people have registered for the yatra.

Speaking to the media, Vinay Shankar Pandey, Commissioner, Garhwal Division, said that till now the administration has received information about the death of 11 people from different places along the pilgrimage routes and added that the pilgrims must not hide their medical history with the doctors during the health screening at the camps before starting the uphill journey.

“The devotees must provide complete information about their health as all these shrines are at high altitude and the people travelling from places with high temperature find it difficult to adjust to the weather conditions on the top of the hills,” he added.

The people who died were above 50 years and had co-morbid illnesses, he said.

Emphasising that a large number of devotees are heading towards the four holy shrines, the official said that this posed its own kind of challenges for the government but spelled out the efforts being taken by the administration to ensure smooth travel for the pilgrims.

“The temples in Char Dham have limited accommodation capacity and hence only a fixed number of pilgrims are allowed to visit the temples, especially the Yamunotri and Kedarnath Dham, which requires trekking. The five-kilometre trek to Yamunotri is very narrow due to which only a limited number of pilgrims can cross it,” Mr. Pandey said.

His statement came days after a video of the jam-packed Yamunotri temple route went viral on social media.

“It came to light that offline passengers are travelling to Char Dham temples before their given date and instructions have been given to investigate it. All DMs have been instructed that there should be adequate arrangements where passengers are being stopped. Also, complete information of the yatra is being given to the passengers through bulk messages,” he said adding that permits of tour operators will be suspended if people undertake the yatra before their registered date.

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