Rail link fails to up Vaishno Devi pilgrim numbers after floods

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Udhampur
  • Updated: Dec 12, 2014 18:25 IST

Nearly 74 lakh pilgrims paid obeisance at the Mata Vaishno Devi cave shrine till November this year. That's a sharp decline of more than 19 lakh pilgrims compared to the previous year.

Businesses, including that of labourers, pony and palki walas, who ferry pilgrims up to the cave, have have suffered losses.

The pilgrim traffic has recorded a downward trend in the previous quarter ending on September as the devastating flood that month forced pilgrim to stay away from the revered shrine for over a month.

Even with the recently started direct train service to Katra, the shrine's base camp, the numbers did not increase.

Last year nearly 94 lakh pilgrims visited the cave shrine till September alone. The low number of pilgrims has affected businesses at the base camp and elsewhere. Hoteliers have sent some of their employees back home.

In 2012, 1.04 crore pilgrims visited the cave shrine, the highest number so far in the last four years.

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