More than 1 lakh yatris performed darshan at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in the first three days of the nine-day Navratas. According to Shri Mata Vaishnoo Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB), there is no accommodation available at the Bhawan as everything has been booked in advance.
Last year, out of the total 82.35-lakh yatris who performed darshan, about 17 lakh had made online reservations.
Everyday, about 35,000 yatris arrive in Katra. On October 8, the first day of the Navratras, 36,500 yatris performed darshan. According to SMVDSB, during these Navratras, about 5,000 more yatris will perform darshan as compared to last year.
People, especially from Delhi, have booked online on account of closure of educational institutions because of the Commonwealth Games. Hotels and Guesthouses have a 100 per cent occupancy rate. People are facing difficulties finding good accommodation.
During normal days, 22,0000 yatris perform darshan everyday.
Huge rush during Navaratras is on account of the fact that they are considered the most auspicious days according to the Hindu calendar. A number of people, before entering into wedlock or starting any venture, perform darshan at Mata Vaishnoo Devi.
Navratras are also celebrated as Katra festival. SMVDSB with the assistance of the Tourism department and district administration have organised a number of cultural items spread over the nine days to showcase the Dogra cultural heritage.
The special attraction is the devotional singing competition, carrying prize money of Rs 1 lakh.
SVMDSB has made elaborate arrangements for providing the best facilities to yatris during this period. Additional manpower has been deployed to clean up the track and for providing all sort of assistance to yatris. Since the shrine was taken over by the government during the tenure of the 1983 Governor Jagmohan, there has been manifold increase in yatris. In 1983 only 13 lakh people visited the shrine.