KATRA, Sept 26: Chief Secretary, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta today inaugurated the Navratra Festival in a glittering function at Yog Ashram here, Katra in presence of Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Ramesh Kumar, Director Tourism, Jammu, Vivekanand Rai; CEO, Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Anshul Garg; DC, Reasi, Babila Rakwal besides other senior officers.
The inaugural ceremony was marked with traditional puja and formal reception of all important guests by presentation of Mata Ki Chunaries. A colourful cultural and devotional program was presented by renowned artist groups which mesmerized the public with their vibrant performances. Also, a Laser Show on Mata Ki Kahani was displayed which was well appreciated by the audience.
Dr Mehta, on the occasion, said that the administration is dedicated towards facilitating the tourists with quality services at Katra. He congratulated the local community on the auspicious occasion of Navratra and extended warm greetings for the same.
Anshul Garg while welcoming the guests said, “Navratras are the time to welcome new beginnings. This time to celebrate the holy occasion of Navratri Shrine Board has installed welcome gates and selfie point at Katra for the devotees. Also, physically challenged devotees will be provided horses and battery cars free of cost to make it easier for them to visit the Shrine”.
Divisional Commissioner, Jammu appreciated the role of Tourism Department, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, District Administration Reasi, Central Bureau of Communication, UT of J&K and Ladakh and all other agencies for putting up facilities for the successful conduct of the festival.
The Navratra festival which was started in 1996, has today metamorphosed into an event of outrageous proportions with thousands of people coming together not only to pay obeisance to Maa Vaishno Devi Ji, but also to be the part of grand celebrations. Bright lights, drape of varied hues, sound of folk and devotional music in the background shall be a common occurrence during these Navratras at Katra/ Jammu.
The main highlights of the nine days event to be organized at Katra from 26th September to 04th October are Ramleela, All India Devotional Song Competition, Bhagwat Katha, Prabhat Pheri, Shoba Yatra, Mata Ki Kahani, Laser Show on theme of Mata Ki Kahani, Hum Bhi Kam Nahi Talent Show, Wrestling Competition, Hassaya Vyang and Kavi Sammelan etc. Besides, cultural program and multimedia exhibition by Central Bureau of Communication, UT of J&K and Ladakh shall be held at Higher Secondary School, Katra were distinguished performance from throughout India shall present their art forms.
Lastly, the vote of thanks was presented by Director Tourism, Jammu extended his gratitude and appreciation to all the stakeholders for their commitment and overwhelming support.
Also, present on the occasion were Sunaina Sharma Mehta, Joint Director Tourism Jammu, Abdul Satar, ADC Reasi; Angrez Singh, SDM Katra; Amit Gupta, SSP Reasi; Amit Bhasin, SP Katra; Abdul Jabbar, Deputy Director Tourism Publicity and Ambika Bali, ADT Katra and many others.