Despite rising number of positive cases of Covid-19 in J&K, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) today announced that the pilgrimage to the Mata Vaishno Devi cave shrine, nestled in the Trikuta Hills of Reasi district, would resume from August 16.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Shrine Board, Ramesh Kumar said, “During the first week of the resumption of pilgrimage there will be a ceiling of 2,000 pilgrims per day — 1,900 from within Jammu and Kashmir and the remaining 100 from outside J&K. The situation will be reviewed thereafter and the decision will be taken accordingly.”
“The pilgrims will be allowed to undertake the pilgrimage after registration through the online mode only in order to avoid any assembly of persons at the Yatra Registration Counters,” Ramesh Kumar said.
The CEO said the yatra would move in a unidirectional manner. The traditional route from Katra to Bhawan via Banganga, Adhkuwari and Sanjichhat will be used for going up and the Himkoti-Tarakote Marg route would be used for coming back from the Bhawan.
“The Covid negative test report of the pilgrims from outside J&K and also from red zone districts of J&K will be checked at the helipad and the yatra entry points at Darshani Deodi, Banganga and Katra. Only those with negative reports will be allowed to move towards Bhawan. The ponies, pithus and palkis will not be allowed to ply on the tracks initially,” the CEO said.
Free langar at Tarakote Marg and Prasad Kendra at Sanjichhat will be opened for the pilgrims. All the supplementary facilities set up by the Shrine Board, like battery operated vehicles, passenger ropeway and helicopter service, will operate strictly by following the social distancing norms and other precautionary measures.
In order to avoid congregational gatherings, booking or sitting of pilgrims in the Atka Aarti area and Shradha Suman Vishesh Pooja would not be allowed till further orders.