The recent crisis in Joshimath has raised questions and uncertainty over the pilgrimage to the holy town of Badrinath.
Regarded as the gateway and the only route to Badrinath, Joshimath acts as a night halt for travellers going to the shrine.
However, the recent crisis in Joshimath, with several buildings in the small town “sinking” and the evacuation of residents from the city, has raised doubts about the Badrinath Yatra.
The city of Joshimath started experiencing cracks in buildings and roads on 2 January, and several areas have been put under the “danger zone” by concerned authorities.
It has resulted in several hotels, shops, and residential buildings shutting down and the inhabitants getting evacuated.
This has, therefore, created a problem for pilgrims, who use the site as a stop on their way to Badrinath, at more than 10,000 feet. Usually, the date of the Yatra is announced on the occasion of “Basant Panchami” each year.
The doors of the shrine are open for pilgrims from the last week of April, giving the state government three months to re-open the route to Badrinath.
The significant increase in the number of pilgrims arriving at Badrinath could have also added to the city’s woes. While in 2016, only 6.5 lakh pilgrims visited the shrine, the numbers shot up to 17.6 lakh, almost a threefold increase, by 2022.
While an all-weather by-pass road to Badrinath is currently under construction under the Char-Dham Project, locals have opposed the ongoing works and it has been stopped halfway. It is not likely to be completed in time for the Yatra to resume.
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