The Chardham Yatra began on Friday as the doors of Kedarnath and Yamunotri temples in the Garhwal Himalayas were opened for devotees on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya after remaining closed during the winter season.

The doors of the revered Himalayan temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and goddess Yamunotri respectively were opened at 7 am in the presence of a large number of devotees amid chanting of hymns.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami along with his wife Geeta were also present as the portals of Kedartnath opened for devotees.

"It is an auspicious day for which we wait throughout the year. I welcome you all on the occasion. May you all be showered with the blessings of Baba Kedar," Dhami said addressing a gathering outside the temple after offering prayers.

About 10,000 devotees witnessed the opening of the portals of Kedarnath.

In accordance with tradition, devotional tunes were also played by a band of the Army's Grenadier Regiment.

The temple was decorated with more than 20 quintals of assorted flowers. At the time of opening of the doors of the shrine, flowers were also showered on pilgrims by a helicopter.

The doors of Yamunotri dham located in Uttarkashi district were also opened for the devotees at 7 am. Thousands of devotees were present in the temple premises chanting 'Jai Maa Yamuna' as its doors opened.

The doors of Gangotri shrine will open in the afternoon and those of Badrinath on Sunday.

(Except for the headline, this story, from a syndicated feed, has not been edited by staff)