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The Kedarnath yatra was suspended amid heavy rains on Monday with devotees en route to the shrine halted at various places between Gaurikund and Kedarnath, an official said, as per news agency PTI report.

Additionally, being conscious of the 2013 Kedarnath deluge tragedy, the Rudraprayag district administration appealed to pilgrims to stay put at their respective stations till the weather improves, he said.

The Rudraprayag district magistrate said the people who had already worshipped at the Lord Shiva’s temple in Kedarnath by Monday morning were stopped from undertaking their return journey. Similarly, the people readying themselves to proceed to Kedarnath from its base camp Gaurikund were stopped from undertaking the onward journey to the shrine, he said. The district administration is taking all possible precautions to ensure that no untoward incident takes place, he added.

This development comes following the deaths of as many as 57 pilgrims during the course of the Chardham Yatra in Uttarakhand since the pilgrimage began on May 3 this year, informed the officials on Sunday.

Uttarakhand Director-General (DG) Health Shailja Bhatt cited heart attack and mountain sickness as the primary reasons behind the reported deaths.

Bhatt said, "most of the pilgrims died due to heart attacks and mountain sickness on the Yatra routes. Now health screening of pilgrims is being done on the travel routes. Those who are getting unfit in this investigation are being advised not to travel further."

The Chardham yatra began with the opening of Gangotri and Yamunotri portals for devotees on May 3, on the occasion of Akshay Tritiya in the presence of Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. While Kedarnath re-opened on May 6, the doors of Badrinath opened on May 8.

(With inputs from agencies)

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