Chief priest of Kedarnath temple Bagesh Ling presided over the six-hour rituals in the presence of nearly 150 persons including devotees, temple committee and senior administrative officials before its doors were locked at 8 AM, temple committee CEO BB Singh said.

About one quintal of ashes brought from Nashik by Mahamandaleshwar swami Samvidanand were applied to the Shiv Linga in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple during the elaborate Samadhi Puja, the ritual which preceded its closure for peak winter months when the area becomes snowbound and inaccessible, Singh said.

Braving icy winds and a light snowfall, scores of pilgrims including those from abroad thronged the temple to witness the closure ceremony.

Later, a replica of the idol of Lord Shiva was carried in a palanquin known as "Utsav Doli" to nearby Ukhimath town for its winter sojourn. Another Himalayan shrine of Yamunotri is also scheduled to be closed later on Tuesday.

The portals of Gangotri were closed on Monday while those of Badrinath shrine are scheduled to be shut on November 18 ringing down the curtain on the annual Chardham pilgrimage marred this year by the June 16-17 flashfloods in Uttarakhand which led to its prolonged suspension for over three months.

The four shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, collectively known as Chardham are closed in October-November every year due to snowbound conditions in the area at the peak of winter.


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