Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India], October 28 (ANI): Women belonging to Self Help Groups (SHGs) earned Rs 43.50 lakh by selling ‘Prasad’ during Kedarnath Dham Yatra this year, said Information Department, Uttarakhand on Friday.
Women who prepared ‘Prasad’ and sold them to pilgrims in Shri Kedarnath Dham, have managed to do business worth over 43 lakhs collectively.
Arjun Kurmanchali, a businessman who markets the Prasad prepared by the women of the district in Shri Kedarnath Dham, said that this journey started after the Coronavirus period and has proved to be very beneficial.
He sold prasad worth about Rs 43 lakh to the pilgrims at various helipads and temple premises. He said that they have access to chalai laddus, herbal incense, churma, belpatri, honey, jute and silk bags prepared by about 20 women self-help groups from across the district.
Apart from this, containers for Ganga water and temple ashes are also part of the prasad package. The price of the entire package has been fixed at Rs 250, in addition to which royalty of Rs 50 is given to temple committees and heli companies, as per a statement from the Information Department.
On the other hand, NRLM block coordinator Satish Saklani said that Devidhar Unnati cluster has done a business of about Rs 43 lakh by selling prasad through online and offline medium during the entire journey.
President of Kedarnath Prasad Producer Federation, Laxman Singh Sajwan told that this year he has prepared and sold 50 quintals of chalai laddus and churma in Kedarnath. In the last six months, he has given employment to 60 women, out of which 30 women are regularly associated with him through groups formed under NRLM. During the entire journey, he sold laddus and churma worth about Rs 22 lakh.
Apart from giving Rs 300 per day to the women associated with the group, they also give training from time to time. Sajwan said that before the introduction of the Prasad scheme in the year 2017, the production of challai had become very limited, whereas now its production has increased. They buy chalai from farmers at the rate of Rs 55 per kg.
Farmers have been asked to produce 100 quintals of chali for the next year. Apart from this, the farmers producing Belpatri are also getting direct benefit of the scheme.
During this yatra, the district administration started Saras restaurant and marketing center with the help of women groups formed through NRLM in Agastyamuni of Shri Kedarnath Yatra Marg. Poonam Devi, president of Mahadev Self Help Group, which is running Saras restaurant, expressed happiness and told that during her first visit she did a business of about Rs 4 lakh. 8 people have got regular employment through Saras restaurant. She said that for the next visit, strategies will be prepared by the group for better preparations from now on.
On the other hand, Shivani, who is running the Saras Marketing Center, said that during the Shri Kedarnath Yatra, he did a business of about 80 thousand rupees by selling the local produce collected from the farmers of the district.
The portals of the Kedarnath Dham were closed on Thursday morning for the Winter season.
The doors of the eleventh Jyotirlinga Lord Kedarnath were shut for the winter as per rituals with chanting of Vedic hymns accompanied by music played by local musical instruments, the tunes of the army band, and cheers of scores of devotees.
The doors of the famed Himalayan shrine were shut at around 8.20 am on Thursday.
As per traditions, it is believed that after the portals are shut, Lord Kedarnath becomes austere for six months of winter in the Himalayas for the welfare of the world.
After the doors of the sanctum sanctorum were shut, the Panchmukhi movable Vigraha Utsav Doli (palanquin) of Lord Kedarnath was specially decorated.
At exactly 8.30 in the morning, the palanquin of Lord Kedarnath was brought to the temple premises from the mandap amidst cheers from assembled devotees.
After circumambulating thrice the main temple, the palanquin was taken in a procession to the winter seat of Okareshwar Temple in Ukhimath.
Traditionally, the gates of the shrine are closed for six months during winter before it opens again.
This year the Chardham Yatra began on Akshaya Tritiya, on May 3 this year while the doors of Kedarnath Temple opened on May 6. (ANI)
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