Pilgrimage to Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine near Katra will start from Sunday (August 16). The shrine board has allowed the Yatra with 2,000 pilgrims during the first week.
These travellers will have 1900 people from Jammu and Kashmir and 100 people from other states. Earlier, a provision was made to include five thousand people. Battery vehicles, passenger ropeways and chopper service will run smoothly. The trip has been closed since March 18 due to the Corona epidemic.
Ramesh Kumar, Chief Executive Officer of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board informed that registration will have to be done online to join the yatra. People from other states and Jammu and Kashmir’s Red Zone districts will also have to carry the Corona Negative Report with them.
It will be examined at the helipad, Deodhi Gate, Banganga, Katra while leaving for the building. It will be mandatory for the pilgrims to wear masks, face covers and all will be scanned.
He informed that battery vehicles, passenger ropeways and helicopter services would be run by following social distances to make the journey easier. No one will be allowed to participate in Attaka Aarti and Special Puja to avoid the crowd. A clock room will be opened for the convenience of devotees while blanket stores will remain closed.
The Yatra is resuming nearly five months after it was suspended due to the coronavirus. The government also issued several guidelines for the pilgrims undertaking the yatra.
According to the J&K administration, children under the age of 10 will not be able to travel and all pilgrims will have to wear masks. Travel will be closed at night and for the time being, there is a prohibition on the stay of the devotees at the Mata Bhavan.
Further, devotees will also not be allowed to attend the ‘Aarti’ held in the morning.
Horse and sedan not currently allowed
Horse, pittu and sedan are not allowed to join during the journey. People under 10 years of age and above 60 years of age, pregnant people, the sick have been advised to avoid travelling.
The CEO informed that Prasad Kendra will be opened for the convenience of pilgrims on Tarkot Marg with free langar and common roof. The traditional route to the building from Katra is Banganga, semi-virgin, and shared roof will be used to go towards the building. The Himkoti-Tarkot route will be used to come back.