Catch a glimpse of decked up Vaishno Devi shrine on TV this weekend
With the pandemic casting a shadow on Navratri celebrations, the Vaishno Devi shrine board on Friday decided to telecast the floral arrangements and colourful illumination of the sanctum sanctorum for the benefit of devotees across the world who could not visit the holy cave shrine this time.
The telecast will be available on Mh One Prime and Shraddha Mh One channels for three days starting April 17. Mh One Prime will telecast this twice a day – at 5pm and 6.30pm – on all three days.
Ramesh Kumar, the chief executive officer of the shrine board, said a number of initiatives have been taken for the benefit of devotees. These include live telecast of Shat Chandi Maha Yagya from 11.30am to 1pm everyday during Navratras, live telecast of the morning and evening Atka Aarti and live darshans of Maa Vaishno Devi’s Pindi Roop every morning.
Besides, elaborate arrangements have also been made for the pilgrims visiting the Holy Shrine, especially the Bhawan of Vaishno Devi, Atka and the area surrounding it, during Navratras. The tracks leading to the shrine and nearby buildings have been decorated with exquisite fresh flowers of varied varieties brought from various parts of the country and abroad. The breathtaking and festive decorations are a special visual delight for pilgrims who trek for about 12km from Katra to Bhawan, Kumar added.
Low footfall this time
On Thursday, as many as 10,119 pilgrims arrived in Katra while the day before, around 11,000 pilgrims had come. On Tuesday, the first day of the nine-day long Navratri festival, 14, 281 pilgrims paid a visit. During pre-pandemic times, the average footfall during Navratras used to be around 25,000 to 30,000 pilgrims a day.
Last year, the shrine had been closed on March 18 and re-opened on August 16 after a hiatus of almost five months. A health official said 71 travelers had tested positive in Katra on the first day of the festival.
This year, the administration has fixed a ceiling of 25, 000 pilgrims a day. Pilgrims arriving in trains are to undergo rapid antigen tests (RATs) at the Katra railway station where Covid kiosks have been set up. Those arriving via road will undergo the test at Lakhanpur—the gateway to Jammu and Kashmir.
Local devotees will be tested at Banganga and those flying in will be tested at the Jammu airport. However, it is advisable for pilgrims coming from outside J&K to bring their Covid-19 negative reports, preferably RT-PCR test, not older than 72 hours.