While the state government maintained that the yatra is still on, reports from various routes suggested that hundreds of pilgrims are stranded at different places.

District authorities in Chamoli, one of the regions worst hit by rain, said over 10,000 pilgrims on way to the Badrinath shrine are caught in the rain and were stranded en route.

"They have been taken to safe places," an official said while informing that once the skies clear up, the journey will be resumed again. It has been raining heavily in most parts of the state for the last 12 hours.

According to authorities, the Hemkund Sahib Yatra - the pilgrimage to a Sikh shrine at Hemkund - also has been stopped for some time owing to heavy downpour and landslides on the way. The Chamoli-Badrinath highway has been blocked due to landslides.

"District Magistrates of the rain-hit districts have been asked to be on alert and ensure full facilities to stranded pilgrims," Surendra Kumar, media in-charge of Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, said.

"Instructions have been issued by the Chief Minister not only to ensure safety of pilgrims and tourists but also to clear the routes that have been blocked due to landslides at the earliest," he said, refuting media reports that yatra has been halted.

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