Incessant rains lashed Uttarakhand for the second consecutive day on Monday, prompting the authorities to advise Chardham pilgrims not to proceed to the Himalayan temples till the weather improves.
Pilgrims headed for Yamunotri have been asked to stay in Badkot and Jankichatti, whereas those en route to Gangotri have been asked to stay in Harsil, Bhatwari and Maneri, Uttarkashi District Magistrate Mayur Dikshit told PTI.
Kedarnath and Badrinath-bound pilgrims have also been requested not to proceed on their journey till the weather clears. Most of the pilgrims on way to Badrinath are staying in Joshimath and Chamoli, Chamoli district disaster management officer N K Joshi said.
Around 4,000 yatris headed for Kedarnath have been stopped in Linchauli and Bhimbali as a precautionary measure, Rudraprayag disaster management officer N S Singh said.
The Chardham Devasthanam Board said the yatra has been temporarily halted for the sake of safety of pilgrims in view of the heavy rain alert issued by the Uttarakhand meteorological department for October 17-19.
The peaks beyond Badrinath and Kedarnath received light snowfall, whereas the lower areas in Chamoli district were lashed by continuous showers. Rain continued in Uttarkashi and Dehradun as well.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, meanwhile, spoke to Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on the phone to get an update on precautionary steps being taken by the state government in view of the heavy rain alert and assured him of all possible help.
Dhami has asked the district administrations to provide hourly updates on the weather and the condition of roads. He also asked them to keep a minimum response time in case of a disaster.
Most educational institutions across Uttarakhand remained closed on Monday, while a ban was imposed on trekking, mountaineering and camping activities in the high altitude areas of the state, including the Nanda Devi biosphere reserve and various forest divisions, till Tuesday as a precautionary measure.
The district level Khel Mahakumbh events to be held at parade and pavilion grounds in Dehradun on October 18-19 have been cancelled. They have now been rescheduled for October 24 and 25.
Heavy to very heavy rains, lightning, hail storms and high speed winds (60-70 kmph) have been predicted by the Met department for all 13 districts of Uttarakhand between October 17 and 19.