New Delhi: A journey to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi's Holy Shrine is regarded as one of the holiest pilgrimages. Every year, millions of pilgrims visit the Holy Cave. In reality, the annual number of Yatris visiting the Holy Shrine has surpassed one crore. This is owing to the unwavering faith of the devotees who go to the Shrine from all across India and the world. The Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, located atop the Trikuta hills in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi region, has been decorated to greet pilgrims arriving for the nine-day Navratri celebration, which begins on September 26, officials said.
Over three lakh pilgrims from across the nation and beyond are anticipated to visit the shrine during the festival, with the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) making all required preparations, including security, to fulfil the high demand, according to authorities.
Anshul Garg, the CEO of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, presided over a meeting of top officials and members of the Navratri festival committee on Tuesday in Katra.
“We have set up two control rooms and installed 120 CCTV cameras along the track and the Bhawan (sanctum sanctorum) to ensure the Yatra is regulated in a better way. The RFID card system, which is mandatory for all pilgrims, will help in better crowd management and real-time tracking of pilgrims,” Chief Executive Officer, SMVDSB, Anshul Garg said
Special arrangements have also been made for the physically challenged devotees. Interestingly, they will be provided with horses and battery car services free of cost, to make it easier for them to offer prayers at the shrine.
“This is another new initiative of the shrine board and we have set up help desks for the convenience of persons with special needs. They will also be given priority for ‘darshan’ at the Bhawan,” he said.
Katra, 42 kilometres from the winter capital Jammu, which serves as the shrine's base camp, will host a succession of religious, cultural, athletic, and folk activities until the festival's conclusion on October 4.
The tourist department, in partnership with the SMVDSB and the divisional administration, will also arrange activities such as the All India Devotional Song Competition, wrestling competition, Ramleela,'shobha yatra,' 'Bhagwati Katha,' 'Mata Ki Bhaint,' 'Mata ki Kahani' play, and 'Kavi Sammelan.'
Garg also added that, a tptal of 14 different activities will be arranged from September 26 to October 4.