Kashmir Indepth

Shri Mata Vaishno Devi shrine breaks decade-long record with 96 lakh pilgrims this year

Ishtiyaq Kar

Srinagar, Dec 29: The sacred precincts of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, nestled in the Trikuta Hills of Katra town within the Reasi district, have witnessed an extraordinary surge in pilgrim turnout this year, setting a remarkable record with an astounding 96 lakh devotees undertaking the sacred pilgrimage.

This notable figure not only signifies a substantial increase but also stands as the highest pilgrimage attendance in the past decade, surpassing the previous record established in 2012.

As of the latest update, approximately 95.86 lakh pilgrims have made the reverential journey to pay obeisance to Goddess Vaishno Devi, underscoring the enduring spiritual significance and popularity of this sacred pilgrimage.

The year 2012 held the previous record, witnessing an unprecedented gathering of 1 crore 4 lakh 9 thousand and 5 hundred and 69 devotees converging to seek blessings at the holy shrine.

One contributing factor to the efficient management of the surging crowds has been the recently inaugurated Skywalk, which has played a pivotal role in providing pilgrims with a safe and streamlined passage to the revered Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan. This development has been crucial in ensuring the safety and convenience of the devotees during their pilgrimage.

In addition to the enhancements made at the main shrine, comprehensive facilities and arrangements have been implemented along the Katra-Bhawan track, guaranteeing a seamless and comfortable experience for pilgrims at key locations such as Katra, Adh-Kunwari, Bhairon Ghati, and others.

Recent infrastructural developments, including the inauguration of the Skywalk at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan and the newly established Durga Bhavan, have significantly elevated the overall pilgrimage experience. Notably, the introduction of an online booking facility for the passenger ropeway from Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan to the Bhairon Ji Temple has garnered widespread acclaim from the visiting pilgrims, further streamlining their journey and adding to the overall convenience of the pilgrimage.

The Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu is set to experience a significant influx of devotees as the New Year approaches.

Expressing his devotion, Manish Kumar from Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, shared, “I come here on the eve of every new year. I have been coming here for 5-6 years to pray to Mata Devi. I am feeling good.” Chanting “Jai Mata Di” in Jammu, he boarded a bus bound for Katra to embark on the pilgrimage to the revered shrine.

Poonam Sharma, another devotee said, “I wish that ‘Mata Rani’ showers her blessings upon everyone. Everyone remains happy. May the new year turn out well and bring happiness to everyone”.(MK News Report)

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