Shree Mata Vaishno Devi shrine crosses eight million mark during Navratri festival season
In Jammu and Kashmir, the pilgrimage to the holy cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi in the Trikuta Hills of Katra town in Reasi district crossed eight million mark. The number of pilgrims is expected to touch 10 million mark this year after 11 years. Four lakh yatris paid obeisance to the Goddess Mata Vaishno Devi during last 10 days including the nine Navratras. On average, 35 to 40 thousand pilgrims are daily visiting the holy cave shrine.
Four major projects were launched at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan during Navratras including Skywalk, remodeled Parvati Bhawan, expanded Atka area and free Langar for the yatris at Bhairon Ghati, besides, virtual darshan through the holy natural cave, the ‘live darshan facility’ and bi-lingual ‘Shakti’ Chatbot on the website of the Board for the pilgrims.
These initiatives are aimed at making the pilgrimage more convenient and enjoyable for the devotees.
The skywalk was inaugurated by President Droupadi Murmu on October 12 and played a pivotal role in the yatra management during the Navratri festival. It achieved the desired aim of decongesting the Bhawan area by streamlining the entry and exit routes to the holy cave. Worth to mention, pilgrimage to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine had for the first time crossed one crore in 2011.
It again crossed 10 million mark in 2012 but since then it hasn’t touched the milestone. If the pilgrimage reached the figure of one crore this year, it will be after 11 years that the 10 million mark will be achieved.
The annual pilgrimage to the cave shrine was just 13.86 lakh in 1986 when the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVSB) took over affairs of the shrine. Since then, many facilities have been added for the pilgrims to make their yatra smooth and convenient.