DEHRADUN, INDIA, May 3, 2014 (Times Of India): Last year's mid-June flash floods did not deter 15,000-odd devotees from across the country from converging at Yamnotri and Gangotri shrines in Uttarkashi district to attend the sacred ceremony marking the re-opening of these shrines' portals. With this, the Char Dham yatra has commenced in Uttarakhand.
Amid chanting of Vedic mantras, the doors of Gangotri and Yamnotri were re-opened at 12:01 pm and 1:20 pm, respectively minutes after their "doli" (palanquin in which the statues are carried) reached the temples from their winter abode at Mukhba and Kharsali villages in the district. The winter abode of Goddess Ganga is located at a distance of about 9 miles from Gangotri shrine and 6 miles from Yamnotri shrine.
Residents in Mukhba and Kharsali villages consider Goddess Ganga and Goddess Yamuna as their daughters. On Thursday, with moist eyes, they accorded a ceremonial send-off to the two statuess, respectively in their doli decked with flowers. When contacted, devotees at Gangotri and Yamnotri said they had to trek for several miles on the 20 mile Badkot-Jangalchatti and the 15.5 mile Gangori-Sukhi motorable roads to reach Yamnotri and Gangotri shrines, as they are still being re-constructed.