Massage centres on Kedarnath shrine’s trekking route are being planned by the Uttarakhand government. They will be used to rejuvenate pilgrims after the arduous 16 km trek upwards from Gauri Kund. Officials said that massage chairs similar to the ones installed inside shopping malls will be seen in the centres. They will be available in different locations on the route.
Next year onwards, the administration will also make helmets compulsory for any pilgrim who wishes to visit the shrine on horseback. This is a safety precaution from falling stones, rock pieces and landslides.
More than 10 lakh people offered prayers at Kedarnath during pilgrimage season which started in May and ended on October 29. This is the highest number of visitors the shrine has seen in recent years. In 2018, 7.31 lakh people visited the shrine.
More people are expected to visit Kedarnath and other shrines during Char Dham Yatra in 2020 as per the state administration’s estimates.
Mangesh Ghildiyal, Rudraprayag district manager said that the massage chairs will be put up for those pilgrims who get tired during the journey. The endeavour would give employment to the local youth as well. For the time being, they are planning the centres in five places on the route. They will provide a subsidy to them under a government scheme so that they can buy the equipment.