Vaishno Devi pilgrimage resumes, 2,000 people to be allowed every day
Pilgrims are required to install the Aarogya Setu App on their mobile phones before proceeding for the yatra. It will be mandatory for them to wear face masks.Updated: Aug 16, 2020, 12:47 IST
After a gap of nearly five months, the Vaishno Devi Yatra--one of the holiest pilgrimages in Hinduism – resumed on Sunday morning at around 7 am. The pilgrimage was suspended on March 18 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The first lot of pilgrims chanted religious slogans before embarking upon the pilgrimage. So far around 200 pilgrims have embarked upon the pilgrimage,” said an official of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.
The board has put in place a number of safety measures to deal with the Covid-19 including online registration and social distancing.
During the first week of pilgrimage, the Board has fixed a ceiling of 2,000 pilgrims a day--1,900 from within Jammu and Kashmir and remaining 100 from outside the Union Territory.
“The situation will be reviewed thereafter and a decision will be taken accordingly. Pilgrims will be allowed to undertake the yatra only after online registration,” said the Board CEO, Ramesh Kumar.
Pilgrims are required to install the Aarogya Setu App on their mobile phones before proceeding for the yatra. It will be mandatory for them to wear face masks. Children below the age of 10 years, pregnant women, persons with co-morbidities and persons above the age of 60 years have been advised to avoid the yatra in the interest of their own safety.
Later as and when the situation normalises, the advisory for this group shall be revisited.
The CEO added that the yatra is being allowed to move in a unidirectional manner. “The traditional route from Katra to Bhawan via Banganga, Adhkuwari and Sanjichhat is being used for going up and Himkoti route-Tarakote Marg will be used for coming back from the Bhawan,” he said.
The Covid test reports of the pilgrims from outside J&K and red zones of J&K are being checked at the helipad and yatra entry points at Darshani Deodi, Banganga and Katra.
“Only those with negative reports are being allowed to move towards the Bhawan. Ponies, pithus and palkis will not be allowed to ply on the tracks, initially,” he informed.