Around four lakh pilgrims are expected to visit the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine atop Trikuta hills in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir during the upcoming Navratra festival, and adequate security arrangements have been made for the devotees, officials said on Saturday.
The ‘golden gate’ at the entrance of the cave shrine, which is in the final stage of completion, and illuminated tracks will the new additions during this year’s Navratras which will commence on September 29 and culminate on October 7.
Jammu Divisional Commissioner Sanjeev Verma told reporters, “As far as safety of the pilgrims is concerned, we are fully prepared for the rush of devotees and are promise-bound to provide adequate security to them… we are expecting a footfall of 3.5 lakh to four lakh pilgrims at the shrine during the Navratras this year.”
In 2017 and 2018, the number of pilgrims who visited the shrine during the Navaratras were 3.07 lakh and 3.2 lakh respectively.
CEO of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) Simrandeep Singh said, “The work on the huge golden gate, having nine images of goddess Durga with Mahalakashmi figuring prominently, started over two months ago by a group of special donors and it will be ready within seven days.”
According to the shrine board officials, about 12 kg of gold, 1,200 kg of copper and 1,100 kg of silver have been used in the construction of the gate.
Singh said CCTV cameras are being installed from Katra to the Bhavan to keep a close watch while a special control room is also being set up to monitor the movement of the people round-the-clock.
Verma said the district development commissioner of Reasi will be the nodal officer to oversee the arrangements for the successful conduct of the festival.
The divisional commissioner said since there is no mobile Internet service in Jammu region since August 5, when provisions of Article 370 were abrogation, pilgrims, can enjoy the broadband facility in hotels.