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Home / India News / All religious places in J-K including Vaishno Devi to re-open from August 16

All religious places in J-K including Vaishno Devi to re-open from August 16

It may be recalled the Centre had given its nod to re-open religious places from June 8 but following a spike in Covid-19 cases and death toll the decision was put on hold.

india Updated: Aug 04, 2020 21:18 IST
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Hindustan Times, Jammu
Apart from helicopter service, the shrine board also provides battery car and ropeway services to the pilgrims.
Apart from helicopter service, the shrine board also provides battery car and ropeway services to the pilgrims. (HT Photo)

In a major decision, the government of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday announced to re-open all religious places and places of worship including Shri Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Major decision by J-K Government. All religious places and places of worship to open in Jammu & Kashmir from August 16, 2020. Religious processions and large religious gatherings remain strictly prohibited,” principal secretary and government spokesperson Rohit Kansal posted on his Twitter handle this evening.

A senior official of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board said, “since the government has taken a decision to open religious places, we shall be strictly adhering to the Covid-19 SOPs before re-opening the shrine to devotees.”

It may be recalled the Centre had given its nod to re-open religious places from June 8 but following a spike in Covid-19 cases and death toll the decision was put on hold.

Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, however, has done all the spade work.

“Sanitisation drives were being conducted on twin tracks, sanctum sanctorum and at Katra town. Circles are also being marked outside Yatra Parchi counter, at the Bhawan and two helipads at Katra and Sanji Chhat to ensure social distancing,” said official sources.

It has also been learnt that initially, local pilgrims will be allowed to visit the cave shrine.

The pilgrimage remains suspended since March 18.

Apart from helicopter service, the shrine board also provides battery car and ropeway services to the pilgrims.

Vaishno Devi cave shrine at an altitude of 5,200 ft in Trikuta Hills of Reasi district, a pilgrimage tourist destination that attracted 104.95 lakh pilgrims (10.4 Million) in 2012, 93.24 lakh in 2013, 78.03 lakh in 2014, 77.76 lakh in 2015, 77.23 lakh in 2016, 85.87 lakh in 2018 and 79.40 lakh in 2019.

Earlier, the J&K government had to cancel the annual Amarnath pilgrimage in south Kashmir Himalayas due to Covid -9 pandemic.

The union territory has so far witnessed 417 Covid-19 deaths and a total of 22,396 positive cases out of which 14,856 have been cured and discharged.

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