‘Unexpected’ rush of pilgrims at Tula Mula shrine today, far more than govt version ….!

Saroj Razdan. Updated: 6/15/2024 3:03:35 AM Front Page

Despite gala preparations in place, arrangements turn inadequate, time to augment infrastructure …?

Jammu: Amid an atmosphere of heightened security concerns in Jammu region, Kashmiri Pandits defying all thoughts of fear reached Mata Kheer Bhawani shrine in good great numbers to participate in annual festival of Zyeshtha Ashtami today. For LG administration as well as Dharamarth Trust the numbers were unexpected, even as both had made sufficient arrangements which proved inadequate in certain areas due to huge rush.
For the first time perhaps it was a sort of no holds barred situation, in terms of thousands of pilgrims who thronged Tula Mula in district Ganderbal where this shrine exists. Pilgrims from Jammu made the major numbers but it swelled this time hugely from far and wide outside J&K. In the words of LG Manoj Sinha who performed puja in the shrine complex today, more than 30,000 pilgrims visited Kheer Bhawani shrine this year but those at the helm of looking after arrangements of food and other basic facilities the number remained far more as the pilgrims kept pouring in till late evening on June 14.
As per some voluntary organizations which play crucial role in facilitating the pilgrims on this annual festival the number was around 40,000, which however, remained unconfirmed at official level. Notwithstanding adequate requisite arrangements beginning at the level of Relief Organization first in Jammu enroute whole pilgrimage, followed by visibly elaborate groundwork done by the local administration for last few days, the organized order of facilities did not look commensurate to the requirements, again due to unpredictable rush.
“We cannot say flatly the arrangements were not in place….. those at the helm had tried best to provide covered accommodation like tents and sheds”, said Bindia Tickoo who has been visiting Kheer Bhawani shrine consistently for last so many years. The beddings with raised platforms inside these sheds were better than previous years and pilgrims did not feel shortage of blankets etc, she said . However, it was like an early bird situation for the pilgrims implying those who reached early could grab it all and there were hundreds who had to compromise with such things in open area.
All the concrete buildings and dharamshallaunits too remained flooded with pilgrims for the last two days though some families from outside UT tried to reach out for getting a room. “It remains a grey area in terms of facilities provided at the level of Dharmarth Trust as no one knows what is the modus operandi of bookings or how people get into these rooms”, said another pilgrim T K Koul from Ghaziabad.
The scene looked chaotic during the day at Langar points where people could be seen jostling and pushing each other. “It was partly people refused to stay in queues…”, said Bindia adding that the organizers too could not put things in order. In view of increasing rush of pilgrims there is need to enforce discipline both by government as also the voluntary bodies. However, what is more important is to create additional infrastructure for stay of pilgrims in a better way as things would have turned messy in case of inclement weather condition.

Updated On 6/15/2024 3:05:01 AM

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