Enthused by the massive demand for 'prasad' (offering to deities) among the devotees at Kedarnath, the district administration is looking to treble prasad sales in the upcoming pilgrimage season and preparation has already stated for this.  

During the yatra season from April to November this year, prasad made from local products worth Rs 1.30 crore was sold for offering at the Kedarnath temple. This prasad was prepared by more than 2,000 local women belonging to self-help groups. 

The contents of the prasad include chowlai laddu, chourae churma, pastilles of local herbs, honey and Ganga water. It is packed in eco-friendly wrappers and sold for Rs 30 (in paper bags), Rs 65 (in jute bags) and Rs 100 (in locally-crafted Ringal baskets). 

MyNation has learnt that within four days of the opening of Kedarnath Dham's portal on April 29, prasad worth Rs 10 lakh was sold. It was transported to Kedarnath from a store in Sonprayag.

Engaging locals in the mass-scale preparation of prasad has ensured considerable employment being generated, and district magistrate Mangesh Ghildiyal has played a big role in making this happen. 

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Now, efforts are being made to connect more and more women to self-help groups. Special prasad packets in Ringal baskets are also available for pilgrims arriving on helicopters.

Apart from the sale of prasad, other local businesses witnessed a sharp rise in revenue this year. Therefore, hotels and restaurants made brisk business. This was the first time since the Uttarakhand floods in 2013 that the locals' earning had amplified. 

The officials deserved credit also because there were no major accident during the pilgrimage season this year, even during the monsoon. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Kedarnath caught everyone's attention. The pilgrimage facilities at Kedarnath improved remarkably, thanks to Prime Minister Modi-monitored reconstruction projects. As a result, the number of visitors to the shrine increased significantly. This year, a record number of 7.3 lakh devotees reached the Kedar valley to worship Lord Shiva.