Mumbai, 6th February 2015: - After a smooth and successful execution of Chardham and Hemkund Sahib Yatra in 2014, especially after mass level devastation in 2013, the Uttarakhand government is fully prepared to welcome pilgrims from across the country. Harish Rawat, chief minister of Uttarakhand revealed the preparedness for the upcoming Char Dham Yatra during a press conference held on Friday in Mumbai. The Char Dham Yatra is scheduled to start on April 26.
The press conference was also attended by Shri. Dinesh Dahani, Minister of Tourism and Dr Umakant Panwar, state tourism secretary and Shri. Sandeep Sahani, President, Uttarakhand Hotel & Restaurant Association who shared about the additional facilities they have created especially for visitors this year.
Talking about preparedness, chief minister Rawat, who has been monitoring all the developments for the last couple of months, informed that visitors will witness a different travelling experience in the state from now on.
Shri. Harish Rawat said that he held several meetings with government machineries and took stocks of the preparedness. “I am in touch with all the concerned officials for the last couple of months. And, I ensure that Pilgrims will get experience which they never had experienced in the past,” said Rawat adding that they are taking an effort to reinvent travelling experience in Uttarakhand.
“In the last two years, the state machinery has worked a lot and reinvented the travelling experience in the state. Uttarakhand is now well-connected with Maharashtra and Gujarat, with good air connectivity,” said Shri. Dinesh Dahani.
Uttarakhand is globally recognized for its spiritually elevating destinations and beauty. Everyone who comes here takes part of it with him. Be it the wildlife, nature’s sceneries or places of religious worship. The state has become most popular destination like Mussoorie, Nainital etc.as leisure retreat for tourists seeking peace and tranquillity besides involving themselves in adventure sporting activities.
In 2014, around 5 lakh pilgrims visited Chardham. “After devastation, we had taken various measures to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey for all the pilgrims coming to the state. The state government had even issued a few directives making government departments responsible for safe and enjoyable journey of visitors,” said Dr. Panwar.
Now, the focus of the state tourism department is to ensure that every pilgrims go back home with a fond of good memories. The focus is to give all visitors a leisure experience while travelling in Uttarakhand. The state government has set up 60 helipads across the state of which four helipads are at pilgrim sites. They have also set up 4,000 shelters with all facilities along the routes for visitors.
The growth of tourism sector in the state has been one of the fastest in the country. The state government had initiated major tourist friendly packages that offer the diversity and ethereal beauty on a platter best suitable to them. In days to come, the Uttarakhand tourism has also planned to hold road shows across the country to attract tourist.
The consistent efforts to develop the state as tourist destination have resulted into its recognition worldwide, which is evident from the ever increasing flow of international as well as domestic visitors in the last few years.
The dates for Holy Yatra of Yamnotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath & Hemkund Sahib will be soon declared in the near future. Badrinath Yatra would start from 26th April 2015.
To facilitate the pilgrims and tourists, a special control room has been set up at the Uttarakhand Tourism headquarter in Dehradun. A Nodal Officer will manage the centre. Telefax number of the control room: 0135-2559898. Email Id is email@example.com. This service shall be available from 7 am to 9 pm every day.
Biometric registration counters is already in place at entry points of state and also in yatra routes
The State Government had created more than five Base Camps, 48 Wayside Amenities, Seven Ghats, Twelve Night Shelters for the Chardham Yatra in 2014.
All district magistrates in Garhwal besides the departments of health sanitation, water, electricity among others have been assigned responsibilities for maintaining efficient and smooth Chardham Yatra operations.
A special task force comprising of police and Nehru Institute of Mountaineering at Uttarkashi, is was set up for the Kedarnath route from Bhimbali which is function under the district magistrate of Rudraprayag.
Apart from mobile towers and PCO booths set up at very 15kms of the route and mobile hospitals and medical camps is also available for the benefit of the pilgrims.
All wireless networks and a new police post is operational at Kedar Valley.
Additionally, the services of private helicopter operators has been engaged to take passengers to Kedarnath.
After the devastation in the region last year, the state government has decided to empower the locals financially. “For this, we have come up with a unique concept and can be a big hit in terms of encouraging the guest flow and benefit the locals in the region” said Dr Panwar.
During winter, for six months, the deities from all four dhams – Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath shifted and worshiped respectively to shrines of Kharsali, Mukhva, Ukhimath and Pandukeshwar (Joshimath). And all are aware, that beauty of Himalayas during winters is unmatched.
The key motive for the proposal is to attract more devotees and to open up the opportunity 365 Days in this sector. The tourism in the sector will eventually provide more employment to the locals of the respective regions. The pilgrims can also enjoy winter sports activities, exciting views of Snow Clad peaks, local cultural programmes such as fairs, festivals, Kaurav puja and Pandav dance among others which would certainly help in introducing the local culture more closely.
Valley of flower trek (July till Mid Sept)
Auli skiing packages (Dec- March)
Uttarakhand has 6 National Parks, 6 Wild Life Reserves and 1 Biosphere Reserve, and countless peaks, rivers, waterfalls, rapids, glaciers, etc. It has highest religious shrines and Dhaams, over 100 Popular Trekking routes and circuits, 83 Scalable Peaks, Ski Slopes and Alpine Meadows, Lakes and Reservoirs. And to top it all, it has a peace loving community with best law and order records. Apart from this, the state offers a multitude of trekking possibilities. From mountaineering to trekking on high altitudes or visiting ancient pilgrimage routes, Uttarakhand has something for every kind of tourist. Some of the popular trekking destinations are Kailash-Mansarovar, Adi-Kailash, Pindari, Panchachuli, Nanda Devi etc. As the birthplace of Yoga, it attracts more visitors from around the world, who come here seeking a deeper meaning of life. Numerous ashrams are located in Rishikesh and Haridwar where Yoga and Meditation are practised and taught. Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board organizes an International Yoga Week every year from March 1 to 7 in Rishikesh.