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PM Narendra Modi's visit to Kedarnath comes amidst record turnout of pilgrims
From the Webdesk, 06/11/2018, New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kedarnath Temple on this Diwali comes amidst record number of pilgrims visiting both the Kedarnath and Badrinath shrines this year, which may be mentioned by the Prime Minister during his visit. 

N.P. Jamloki, the Publicity Officer of Shri Badrinath-Kedarnath Temples Committee, told ET that as today, the highest-ever number of pilgrims have visited Kedarnath and Badrinath temples this year. “Till today, 7.28 lakh pilgrims have come to Kedarnath and nearly 10 lakh to Badrinath this year. 

Kedarnath temple will close for the year on November 9 while Badrinath temple will close on November 20,” Jamloki told ET on phone from Kedarnath. He said the temple has been adorned with flowers for the auspicious occasion of PM’s visit on Diwali on Wednesday and a Pooja has been organised. The temple saw snowfall up to two feet on Sunday but weather has cleared now at Kedarnath. 

The PM had visited Kedarnath last year too on October 20 before the temple closed for the year. Last year, 4.71 lakh pilgrims visited Kedarnath and this year’s figure of pilgrims is almost 55% more than last year. The highest-ever number of pilgrims who went to Badrinath and Kedarnath was in 2012 - 9.85 lakh for Badrinath and 5.83 lakh in Kedarnath. 

However, after the 2013 floods, the number of pilgrims plummeted to just 40832 at Kedarnath and 1.8 lakh in Badrinath in 2014. The Prime Minister during his visit to Kedarnath last year in October had mentioned how facilities had since been improved and reconstruction work carried out at fast pace to ensure pilgrim count increases. This will be PM’s third trip to Kedarnath in the last two years. In this trip, PM will do a detailed review of the reconstruction works at Kedarnath too. Speaking at Kedarnath last year, Modi said money will not be a constraint in redeveloping the shrine including widening the pedestrian route to the shrine and developing new ghats. “Pilgrim numbers had decreased after the 2013 tragedy as people were sceptical if proper infrastructure NSE -0.29 % existed here,” the PM had then said. He then also said how he had spent some years in the service of Kedarnath in his youth before “Baba sent me back” to serve the nation 


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