Kedarnath shrine's 'prasad' can soon be ordered online, home-delivered

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The district administration in Uttarakhand’s Rudryaprayag will soon begin the home delivery of the ‘prasad’ of Kedarnath shrine, officials said on Friday.

The decision was taken considering the less number of devotees at the shrine due to Covid-19 pandemic and also to provide livelihood to the women self-help groups associated with the temple which is among the char dhams in Uttarakhand.

Manvinder Kaur, chief development officer, Rudraprayag said, “The idea of home delivery of the prasad of Kedarnath temple came after it was observed that the devotees are not able to visit the temple as the Char Dham yatra is yet to start normally.”

“As only local devotees are able to visit the temple and that too, in less numbers due to obvious reasons, we would soon take online order of the prasad from them and deliver it to their homes,” said Kaur.

Elaborating about the online prasad service, the official said, it will initially start in Rudraprayag district and then eventually be extended to other parts of state and country.

“First we will start the service from Rudraprayag district and then, will gradually extend it to the whole country. We are in talks with some companies for providing us an online platform for the orders and then, in association with courier companies, will start delivering them,” he said.

Kaur said, the administration will make “packs comprising laddoo and yagna material as prasad under the initiative.”

“All the aforementioned materials are being made women self-help groups associated with us. At present when the temple is almost deserted, their income has also stalled. This initiative, when started, will give them a sort of steady source of income,” said Kaur.

“Talks with all the parties concerned are on and the initiative will start in next seven days,” she added.

Kedarnath along with and Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri, collectively called Char Dham, is one of the most revered pilgrimages in the Hindu tradition and attract lakhs of pilgrims each year.

The portals of Kedarnath shrine had been opened on April 29 and the first prayers were offered on behalf of Prime PM Modi to help the country fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

With the view to stop the spread of Covid-19 disease, the state government, on June 9, issued guidelines for ‘darshan’ at the Char Dham shrines that include Kedarnath, allowing only local residents to visit. Under the guidelines, pilgrims from outside the state won’t be allowed in till June 30, and only residents of the districts where the temples are located will be permitted to make limited visits to the shrines.

However, the move was opposed by the shrine’s priests who said they wouldn’t support visits to the shrine even by locals due to the prevailing situation.

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