Called off due the the Covid-19 pandemic, the Vaishno Devi pilgrimage in Jammu and Kashmir resumed after nearly five months on Sunday with hundreds of pilgrims proceeding to the holy shrine from Katra amid a number of precautions. The first pilgrim departed from Katra in Jammu at 6.50 am, a source said, adding that around 244 people had left for the shrine as of 6:30 pm.
The pilgrimage had been suspended on March 18. On August 4, the Jammu and Kashmir administration decided to reopen religious places from August 16, subject to observance of protocol. The administration also fixed a daily limit of 5,000 pilgrims for the shrine. The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, however, decided to allow only 2,000 pilgrims per day for the first week.
The board has made it mandatory for the pilgrims to wear masks or face covers. Every person proceeding to the shrine is being scanned through thermal scanners at entry points. Children below 10 years, pregnant women, people with co-morbidities and those above 60 years have been advised to avoid the yatra.
The pilgrims coming from outside J&K, as well as from the red zones of the Union Territory, are required to produce a document certifying them as being free from Covid-19.
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