Based on ceremonious astrological calculations the date for closure of the kapat (portals) of Badrinath temple to the public for the winters was declared to be November 16 on Wednesday. As part of long standing tradition, the date for closure of the shrine’s portals to humans was formally declared on the auspicious occasion of Vijaya Dashmi. The portals of this ancient shrine to Lord Vishnu will be closed to the public ceremoniously at 3:45 PM on November 16.The acting Rawal (chief priest) Easwara Prasad Namboothiri, Dharmadhikari of Badrinath Bhuvan Chandra Uniyal, Vedpathi of Badrinath, Satya Prasad Chamola and Radha Krishna Thapliyal, the chief executive officer of the Badrinath Kedarnath Temple Committee (BKTC), BD Singh along with the traditional right holders and a number of devotees of Lord Badrinath had gathered on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami for the ceremonial announcement of the date of the shrine’s closure to the public.
The Rawal and the Dharmadhikari consulted the traditional Hindu almanac Panchangam to arrive at the date and time of closure of the shrine to the public for the winters. Though the Badrinath temple is slated to be closed on November 16, the ceremonial procedure for closure of the shrine begins five days ahead of the designated date.
This year, the portals of the temple to Lord Ganesh will be closed after Ganesha worship and Mahabhishek on November 12 after which on November 13, the portals of Adi Kedareshwar will be closed ceremoniously. After various other religious rituals including the ceremonious worship of goddess Lakshmi in her temple and Kadhai Bhog on November 15 after which the portals of the Badrinath temple will be closed to human devotees at the designated time of 3:45 PM on November 16.
It is worth mentioning here that on the day of closure of the temple to the public, the Rawal dressed up in female attire places the idol of goddess Lakshmi in the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine alongside lord Badrinath who is wrapped in ghee soaked woolen blanket prepared by selected unmarried girls of the nearby Mana village before closing the shrine’s portals to the humans. A day after closure of Badrinath temple, the ceremonial procession carrying representations of lords Kuber and Uddhav along with the seat of Shankaracharya reach Pandukeshwar where Kuber and Uddhav are instated in the Yogdhyan temple where Badrinath is worshipped during the winter.
The seat of Shankaracharya is placed in the Narsinh temple in Joshimath. According to long held belief, lord Vishnu in the form of Badrinath is worshipped by humans for a duration of six months in the summer and monsoon seasons, the gods led by the celestial sage Narad conduct the worship of lord Badirnath in the shrine during the six-month winter period when a blanket of snow covers parts of both the Badrinath temple township and the surrounding Himalayan peaks.