Kedarnath, Yamunotri shrines closed for winter

The sacred portals of the Himalayan shrines of Kedarnath and Yamunotri in Garhwal region of Uttarakhand were closed today amid chanting of vedic hymns in view of the onset of winter.

The head priest of Kedarnath offered prayers to Lord Shiva's Jyotirlinga in the presence of religious heads and administrative officials at 8:30 this morning and locked the shrine to mark its closure for the winter season when the area is completely snowbound, Badrinath-Kedarnath temple committee sources said.

Braving icy winds in the upper Himalayas, devotees thronged the shrine to witness its ceremonial closure as the temple precincts reverberated with chants of 'Bam Bhole' and 'Jai Bhole'.

Lord Shiva's jyotirlinga was later carried in a palanquin to the nearby Ukhimath area where it will be worshipped during winter months.

Located at a height of 3581 metres, Kedarnath is the most important of the Dwadash Jyotirlingas which can be reached after a 14km trek from Gaurikund where the motorable road ends.

The portals of Yamunotri shrine located at the point where river Yamuna originates in the Himalayas too were ceremoniously closed today at 1:45 pm in view of the onset of winter.

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