After marginal dip, Vaishno Devi pilgrimage footfall goes beyond average

Amid security restrictions across Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370, the number of devotees to the cave shrine of Vaishno Devi in Reasi district has gone beyondthe average after falling marginally for four days in August.

Chief executive officer of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Simrandeep Singh, said normally 20,000 pilgrims visit the base camp of Katra, a town where devotees start their pilgrimage, every day in July and August.

Singh said the number of visiting devotees had come down to 13,000 a day for four days from August 5 to August 8.

“For four days from August 5 to August 8, there was a marginal decline in the pilgrimage but it revived again from August 9,” the official said.

“However, from August 9 the pilgrimage not only recovered but has gone beyond average footfall. On August 9, over 21,000 pilgrims embarked upon their journey from the base camp of Katra,” Singh said.

June records an average footfall of 35,000 pilgrims every day and July and August 20,000 pilgrims.

Indian Railway officials said several long-distance trains to Katra from various parts of the country ran without any disruption during the restrictions imposed ahead of the revocation of Article 370, which granted a special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

“A total of 18 trains on daily and weekly basis run to and fro Katra from various parts of the country. There are five express and 13 mail passenger trains that run to and from Katra,” Jammu Railway station director Chetan Taneja said.

“Even during restrictions, there was no disruption in train service to the Katra town.”

First Published: Aug 12, 2019 16:02 IST

Updated: August 12, 2019 — 4:04 pm