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Gates of Badrinath thrown open for devotees after a year

Badrinath: Sacred portals of the Badrinath Temple were reopened to devotees amid elaborate rituals about a year after the Himalayan shrine was marred by catastrophic flash floods that had left hundreds of people dead and many others stranded.

Arrangements have also been made by Uttarakhand Government to ensure a safe ''Char Dham Yatra'', a pilgrimage trip. It is the first ''Char Dham Yatra'' after last year's calamity.

The annual pilgrimage was struck by the unprecedented flash floods last year causing large-scale loss of lives and property. Over 5,000 people were dead or missing, including pilgrims from various parts of the country.

A religious guru of Badrinath temple Bhuwan Antiyal shared his concern about the safety of the pilgrims. "In the Badrinath trip, the one who comes here, his wishes are fulfilled and a little bit difficulty is that those who were assigned duties on national highway are lying to the public. And, because of them, people have been suffering," said Antiyal.

The Yatra of religious significance was postponed due to the catastrophic flash floods in Uttarakhand that had hit the province in June 2013. Every year, the Char Dham Yatra is closed for six months because of the paths becoming snowbound in the winters.

However, an official of Badrinath temple Ganesh Godiyal said that faith has overpowered disaster this time.

"Faith has overpowered disaster and because of that everyone came here. I had also come here yesterday. They should come here in huge crowds and complete this trip. The occupation here was disrupted," said Godiyal.

However, issues concerning safety of the pilgrims still remain as the disaster hit region has not under went a complete overhaul of roads or bridges that were washed away due to flash floods.

"We have a lot of faith. I came here before also. We thought we would worship the lord before itself. The roads are in very bad shape. Before when we had come here, the roads were in a better condition," said a devotee Usha.

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