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Celebrations at Badrinath Dham in Uttarakhand. Image Credit: ANI

Dehradun, Uttarakhand: As many as 31 pilgrims lost their lives since the commencement of the Char Dham Yatra on May 3, said Uttarakhand health official.

The official has cited mountain sickness and other health problems as causes of death.

“So far 31 pilgrims and one local resident of Badrinath have died in the 12 days since the commencement of the Char Dham Yatra. All of them died due to high blood pressure, heart attack, and mountain sickness,” Uttarakhand Director-General Health Dr Shailja Bhatt told ANI.

The DG said health screening of the pilgrims is being done at all travel route points.

Meanwhile, in view of pilgrim rush in Kedarnath Dham, Rudraprayag District Magistrate Mayur Dixit has banned VIP Darshan for the Dham.

People are seen stranded in crowded lines to reach the temple despite the availability of the helicopter facility.

“Huge crowd of pilgrims is seen in Kedarnath Dham despite repeated appeals from Chief Minister, State Government and Administration”, informed the official.

The yatra began with the opening of Gangotri and Yamunotri portals for devotees on May 3, on the occasion of Akshay Tritiya in the presence of Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. While Kedarnath re-opened on May 6, the doors of Badrinath opened on May 8.

According to the Uttarakhand government, 7,000 pilgrims will be allowed daily at Gangotri, 15,000 at Badrinath, 12,000 at Kedarnath, and 4,000 at Yamunotri. This arrangement has been made by the government for 45 days. Notably, Gangotri, along with Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, are the four most revered Hindu pilgrimages in the Himalayas.