Four more caves for meditation are likely to be built in Kedarnath, with the second one to be functional from September, according to senior officials at the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN).
The decision was taken as the popularity of the first meditation cave opened in Kedarnath soared after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent a night in it during his two-day visit to the shrine in May.
“Bookings for the meditation cave in Kedarnath have been consistently full since the Prime Minister stayed there. There might be barely two-three days in between for which we do not have bookings,” said BL Rana, general manger, GMVN.
Official records of the GMVN show that 20 people from across the country have stayed in the Rudra meditation cave till now. The current meditation cave can be booked for Rs 990 per day and includes facilities like food, call bell, telephone, drinking water and a washroom. The cave also has power supply.
“After we received such a great response from people, we decided to work on opening more caves in the area with similar facilities. We will start the construction work soon. There is a potential of opening up to five caves in that region, so we are trying to make as many as possible. The demand from people to stay in these caves is quite high so we are trying to open the second meditation cave by September,” added Rana.
Iva Ashish Srivastava, managing director of GMVN said, “The operation work of the meditation caves is handled by GMVN. There are potential sites where more such meditation caves can be built and the inspection of the spots has also been done.”
A record number of over 7,35,032 pilgrims (till June 22) visited Kedarnath shrine in less than two months since the opening of its portals on May 9. This is the maximum number of pilgrims that the shrine has welcomed since the 2013 Kedarnath flash floods. In 2018, 7,31,991 pilgrims had visited the shrine over a span of six months. The footfall has increased despite extreme weather conditions.
Last year, Badrinath had over 10,48,051 pilgrims visiting the shrine in six months. This year, the number has already reached over 7,34,108.
Jun 24, 2019 22:06 IST