Over 2.2 L pilgrims visit Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in 5 days

Yogesh Sagotra. Updated: 10/2/2022 12:30:49 PM Front Page

Devotees demand moreRFID cards, Yatra slip counters

Jammu: About 2.2 lakh pilgrims from across the country paid obeisance at Mata Vaishno Devi cave shrine during the first five days of Navratri, which was started on September 26, official sources said.
Sources added that due to the weekend, there was a huge jump in the number of pilgrims and more than 35 thousand devotees had left for Mata's Bhawan after registering themselves in the evening hours, which is expected to cross 40,000 till the registration counters was closed.
According to the information received from the registration counters, there have been long queues of devotees outside for their turn since Saturday morning.
“Being a weekend, a large number of devotees reached Katra and on the occasion of Navratri to took blessings of Maa Bhagawati,” an Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board official said, adding , “The rush is expected to continue on Sunday as well as on Durga Ashtami and Navami,” the sources said.
Earlier, on Monday September 26, 42 thousand pilgrims paid obeisance at Vaishno Devi Shrine; it was over 39 on Tuesday, 34115 on Wednesday, 34 thousand on Thursday and 31900 devotees on Friday.
He further said that to manage the huge crowd elaborate arrangements were put in the palace.
“The shrine board has opened all the three gates to meet the heavy rush of devotees,” he said.
“In the past two years the festival was celebrated with limited events on a small scale due to the COVID pandemic but this year the festival is being celebrated with more enthusiasm and religious gaiety as many new activities have been included in the nine-day-long festival,” he said.
The administration has made tight security arrangements for the nine-day long festival at the cave shrine and base camp of Katra.
“Adequate security arrangements have been made to ensure hassle-free pilgrimage to the visiting pilgrims. CRPF, Jammu and Kashmir police, besides some columns of Army have been deployed at the base camp of Katra, Katra Railway Station and on the twin tracks. The pilgrimage is being monitored 24x7 through surveillance cameras,” said a senior police officer.
Like in the past, the Bhawan of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji, Atka and the area surrounding it have been profusely decorated with flowers during the Navratras.
The decorations are made with indigenous-foreign fruits and flowers, as well as huge reception doors and pandals, etc. have been installed in the Bhawan area.
Likewise, the illumination of the Bhawan area with attractive and colourful lights has also been done.
The festive decorations are a special visual delight for pilgrims who trek about 12 km from Katra to Bhawan.
The Shrine Board has also made elaborate arrangements for facilitating a large number of pilgrims who are expected to pay their obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum during Navratras.
These arrangements include ensuring round the clock water and power supply all along the tracks leading to the Shrine, sanitation and sanitisation, availability of special “fast related” food at the Board’s Bhojanalaya, etc. Besides, all the routes leading to the Holy Cave Shrine have been fully maintained for smooth movement of pilgrims.
Meanwhile, talking to media persons, the devotees who arrived from various neighboring States and union territories alleged that despite applied for online Yatra slips, they have to stand in long queues for hours to get RFID cards, which are being made mandatory for Shrine Board, for their onward Yatra to the Shrine located at Trikuta Hills.
Some of the devotees alleged that despite the availability of six counters only 2 counters are being activated as a result of which they have to keep standing in queues for hours to get the required cards and slips.
“There is non-availability of waiting rooms, drinking water and toilet facilities at appropriate places which created hardships for devotees. Moreover, the officials on duty are giving priority to VIPs which created the problem manifolds”, devotees said.
Keeping in little the huge flow of devotees, they appealed to Shrine Board authorities to create more counters so that they will not suffer more.
Updated On 10/2/2022 12:48:33 PM

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