Char Dham Yatra Temporarily Suspended Due To Bad Weather

Kedarnath Temple, one of the four shrines in the Char Dham Yatra Shutterstock

Every year, hundreds of people go on one of India’s most revered pilgrimages: the Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand. The yatra passes through the four pilgrimage sites of Kedarnath, Yamunotri, Badrinath, and Gangotri. This year’s pilgrimage started on May 10. However, according to the latest reports, the ongoing yatra has been halted due to heavy rain alerts issued by the India Meteorological Department. The halt to the yatra was asked for by Garhwal Divisional Commissioner Vinay Shankar Pandey who advised pilgrims en route to the Hindu shrines to remain where they are.

A Halt To The Pilgrimage At Rishikesh

This year’s monsoon has brought torrential rainfall to numerous regions, disrupting life and activities. In its announcement, the IMD has predicted heavy to extremely heavy rains over all districts of Uttarakhand. Chamoli, Rudraprayag, and Pauri districts are projected to receive heavy rains on July 9, while Tehri, Pauri, Bageshwar, Almora, Nainital, and Champawat are expected to receive major rainfall the next day.

Keeping this in mind, Commissioner Pandey has urged pilgrims to stay within the city of Rishikesh, which serves as the gateway to the Char Dham destinations. Pilgrims are encouraged to continue their treks only if the weather improves and it is safe to do so. Since the yatra started on May 10, almost 3 million pilgrims have visited the shrines.

The holy city of Rishikesh

Roads Blocked

Heavy rains over the last 72 hours have caused landslides, obstructing the NH to Badrinath at several spots. Over 100 routes, including important national highways, have been closed owing to regular rain-induced landslides. According to social media posts by Chamoli Police, the road near Baldouda bridge on the Badrinath National Highway and the Rudraprayag Gaurikund National Highway-107 in the Doliya Devi (Phata) area has been blocked. Meanwhile, the state government has said that it is closely watching the situation and is prepared to initiate rescue and relief measures if needed. Travellers on the pilgrimage path should stay informed about the latest events and follow official recommendations before embarking on any excursions in Uttarakhand and surrounding areas.

Poor Infrastructure

The heavy rain isn’t the only issue affecting the yatra this year. Previous reports have mentioned infrastructure along the pilgrimage route. Towards the end of May, social media was inundated with photographs of a narrow route jammed with thousands of pilgrims attempting to reach Yamunotri. The throng included people of all ages and hundreds of mules. Sources indicate that tourist numbers for this year’s Char Dham Yatra are significantly higher than in 2023.