According to the Uttarakhand Health Department, 203 pilgrims have died so far in less than 60 days since the commencement of the Char Dham Yatra. The death toll is predominantly due to cardiac arrest and other health ailments.
Ninety-seven people succumbed to death at the Kedarnath shrine, followed by Badrinath (51), Yamunotri (42) and Gangotri (13). Over 24.5 lakh pilgrims have visited these shrines so far.
“We urge people to follow their physicians’ advice before planning to visit these high-altitude shrines during monsoon as hypothermia-related cases may rise with the colder weather. Reduced oxygen is also a cause for concern,” said Dr BK Shukla, chief medical officer, Kedarnath.
“Cancer and renal patients usually don’t take up the pilgrimage, but cardiac patients fail to understand the risks linked to their condition. Deaths even before reaching very high altitudes are indicative of that. During monsoon, there would be frequent rains on the route, so warm clothing and a durable thick raincoat is a must to avoid getting wet and sick,” CMO Shukla said.
With an unusual rush of pilgrims coming to Char Dham yatra this year, the Uttarakhand government had earlier issued an advisory for the pilgrims and asked them to get themselves medically examined before they start the arduous trek to the Himalayan temple.
As per the data shared by the state government, 4,308 pilgrims visited the Badrinath temple on June 26, increasing the number of visiting devotees this season to 8,58,091.