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Vaishno Devi yatra resumes as forest fire brought under control

Nearly 10,000 pilgrims were left stranded on various stretches after a massive forest fire in the Trikuta Hills broke out. They were later evacuated via Bhairon Ghati for the Katra base camp.

india Updated: May 24, 2018 14:43 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jammu
Vaishno Devi yatra,Jammu,Pilgrimage
Jammu, India - March 14 : A view of fencing track at Mata Vaishno devi.(HT Photo)

The pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Vaishno Devi in Jammu resumed from Katra on Thursday morning after it was suspended on Wednesday afternoon following a massive forest fire in the Trikuta Hills, officials said.

“The helicopter service between Katra and Shanjichat resumed around 7am and the pilgrimage via old Ban Ganga route was restarted around 9am,” an official of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board said.

The official added that Himkoti Marg, where battery cars are operated, was closed for now but will be opened by the evening.

Reasi’s senior superintendent of police Tahir Sajjad Bhat said the forest fire has been brought under control.

“After resumption of the Yatra via Ban Ganga, around 10,000 pilgrims have left Katra base camp for the cave shrine by 12pm on Thursday,” Bhat said.

Bhat added that nearly 10,000 pilgrims, who were left stranded on various stretches, were evacuated via Bhairon Ghati for the Katra base camp.

Two MI-17 helicopters of the Indian Air Force and a light utility helicopter were pressed into service to douse the fire. The smoke billowing out from some stretches was controlled by over 200 personnel deployed by the Central Reserve Police Force or CRPF and the shrine board.

There were no injuries to the pilgrims.

First Published: May 24, 2018 13:34 IST