Religious Tourism

First winter Chardham yatra begins in Uttarakhand

DEHRADUN

In a move aimed at popularising Uttarakhand as a round-the-year tourist destination, the first winter chardham yatra (pilgrimage) began on Sunday from Mukhva, a low-altitude village in Gangotri that forms a part of the Himalayan state’s fabled religious circuit.

The yatra has been initiated in keeping with chief minister Harish Rawat’s recent decision to extend the chardham yatra to winter to promote off-season tourism in the state, CM’s media in-charge Surendra Kumar said. “Apart from Gangotri, the winter chardham pilgrimage will also be organised in low-altitude areas of three other dhams (holy shrines) of Badrinath, Kedarnath and Yamnotri,” he told HT.

“The idea aims at promoting the state as a year-round tourist destination because tourism happens to be the mainstay of the locals,” Kumar said. Officials, however, clarified that low-altitude areas had been identified as destinations of the winter chardhams for several reasons.
“First, being at a relatively low altitude, winter is not harsh in those areas. They also have a religious significance. It is believed that all gods from the chardhams migrate to these areas where they rest in winters,” said additional director, tourism, AK Dwivedi.

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