Badrinath (Uttrakhand), Nov 18: The Badrinath temple situated in the foothills of Garhwal Himalayas has been closed for winter, as a part of its tradition of remaining open for six-months.
Scores of devotees queued up, as one of the most revered shrines in Uttarakhand prepared to close down for the next six months. The temple was closed late on Friday night amidst the chanting of Vedic incantations. It was an emotive moment for many devotees.
"Past six months we witnessed elaborate rituals taking place in the temple, so we definitely feel bad when the temple doors are closing. But it is a tradition and we have faith in it. In a way we feel good that we are maintaining our tradition and on the other we feel bad to be separated from our beloved god," said Vinod Kaparvan, a devotee.
"The specialty of the temple is that for six months humans pray to the God and for the next six months it is believed that Gods pray at the shrine," said head priest of the temple.
Situated in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand at a height of 10,284 meters above sea level, the shrine is visited by thousands of devotees every year. The shrine is located on the banks of the Alaknanda River and is dedicated to Lord Badri or Vishu.
The Badrinath shrine is one of the four holiest shrines in Garhwal Himalayas, the other three being -- Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamnotri --, and closes for six months every year when the region is enveloped with snow.
With the closure of the portals of the Badrinath temple, the 'Chardham Yatra', pilgrimage to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri shrines has come to an end for six months.
Kedarnath and Yamunotri shrines were closed on November 11, while the portals of Gangotri temple was closed last week. The portals of all the four shrines would now open after six months in April-May next year. Heavy security arrangements are made even during the period when the temple remains closed.
Besides soldiers of the Indian Army, personnel from the paramilitary Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) are posted there to keep a strict guard around the shrine.