Pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Mata Vaishnodevi in Trikuta Hills in Reasi district is going on smoothly on Tuesday, with over 12,000 more pilgrims on their way to offer prayers. The yatra had remained suspended for four consecutive days in view of heavy rains in Jammu and Kashmir before it was resumed .
However, the pilgrimage has resumed only through the old route and the two new tracks are still closed in view of landslides. “Yatra to the cave shrine is going on smoothly after its resumption yesterday,” Chief Executive officer (CEO), Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board (SMVSB), Mandeep K Bhandari said.
He said over 12,000 more pilgrims have started from Katra base camp on Tuesday for their onward journey to the shrine and added that over 18,000 pilgrims have paid obeisance since the yatra’s resumption. Chopper services to the shrine were resumed but stopped for a brief time due to fog at Sanjichat area in Trikuta hill, which houses the helipad, the CEO said.
“Yatra has not been stopped since its beginning yesterday morning, it is going on smoothly”, the CEO said. As a precautionary measure, pilgrims have not been allowed to undertake the journey at night. The yatra has resumed only through Sanjichhat-Bhairon Temple track and back from the same route and the two new tracks are still closed in view of landslides, he said, adding it will take two more days to make it available for pilgrims.
“For ensuring that pilgrims cover the journey during day time only, yatra slip issuance from Katra was stopped at 2:40 PM yesterday and this practice will be followed even today,” he said.
A total of 17,700 Yatris had embarked on the journey on Monday. Bhandari, on Monday, took stock of the ongoing work of clearing of track, restoration of water and power supply and other logistics en route and in Bhawan area. The movement of the pilgrims is being continuously monitored, he said.
As the track from Sanjichhat to Bhawan via Bhairon Temple is narrow and involves a steep climb, pilgrims have been advised to undertake the journey via this route only if they are in good health and not suffering from any ailment, he said. Efforts are afoot to clear all tracks leading to the shrine and fully restore electricity and water supply to all the establishments and tracks. Clearing the debris from tracks might take a couple of days to make it worthy of Yatra movement, he said.