The base camp of Mata Vaishno Devi cave shrine at Katra in Trikuta hills of Jammu and Kashmir is gearing up to host Navratra festival from October 16.
Navratra festival will begin in Katra base camp in Reasi district from October 16 coinciding with Navratras. All arrangements have been put in place, officials said.
The Navratra festival is being organised by the state tourism department and Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board with cooperation of local organisations and different departments including municipality of Katra.
Nearly 3.5 lakh pilgrims are expected to throng the shrine during the nine-day festival.
According to official estimates,the cave shrine has received 82.44 lakh pilgrims during the first nine months of this year,as compared to 78.09 lakh pilgrims last year,registering an increase of 4.34 lakh pilgrims,by September end.
DIG of Police Udhampur Reasi Range Jagjit Kumar reviewed the security of the town and its peripheral area.
Special directions were issued to officers to enhance the security of the town and special nakas to check vehicles have been ordered for deployment,besides necessary instructions have been issued with regard to traffic management and hotel checking.
Special emphasis was given to ensure foolproof security of the yatris during the route up to Bhawan in which strict directions have been passed to Deputy SP (Bhawan) to carry out thorough checking so that miscreants do not hamper the security of the area,DIG said.
He said joint long range patrols of JKP,CRPF and Army have also been launched round-the-clock in the entire area of Katra and Bhawan and its surrounding areas.
Lakhs of devotees from all over the country including those from the state are likely to pay their obeisance during these Navratra period,and efforts will be made for the safe yatra of pilgrims and conduct of Navratra activities, Nirmal Sharma,District Development Commissoner said.
Katra has been given a face-lift with special sanitation drive and refurbishment of market area to facilitate the smooth journey of pilgrims this festive season.