Navratra festival remains a low key affair, usual rush missing in shrines, temples

The view of route to holy Bhavan of Mata Vaishno Devi (L) and devotees paying obeisance at holy shrine at Bawe Wali Mata (R) on first Navratra on Saturday. —Excelsior/Mengi/Rakesh
The view of route to holy Bhavan of Mata Vaishno Devi (L) and devotees paying obeisance at holy shrine at Bawe Wali Mata (R) on first Navratra on Saturday. —Excelsior/Mengi/Rakesh

Over 4000 pilgrims pay obeisance at Mata Vaishno Devi, 9000 at Bawe temple

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Oct 17: The Navratra festival remained a low key affair this time due to COVID Pandemic as the usual rush of devotees was missing in all the shrines and temples of the Jammu region on first Navratra today.
There was no usual rush in the shrines and temples on the first Navratra all over Jammu region today which remained agog with festivities usually during the Navratras every year.
On the first day of Navratra today 4400 pilgrims paid obeisance at holy Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi, Katra. This included 705 pilgrims also who visited holy cave via chopper.
As per reports the usual rush was missing at holy cave of Mata Vaishno Devi. However the Shrine Board had fully decorated and illuminated the shrine and holy town of Katra as usual.

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The rush of devotees to other shrines including Bawe Wali Mata was also missing as usual and as per reports 9726 pilgrims paid their obeisance at the shrine on the first day of Navratra today by maintaining the SOPs and social distancing. Earlier the rush of pilgrims exceeded to twenty to twenty five thousand during the first Navratra.
The Management Committee of the temple had made all arrangements for the devotees including the Sanitization and the shrine was also fully decorated and illuminated befitting the occasion but the usual rush was missing.
No long queues of devotees were seen in other shines like Chechi Mata, Samba which too opened for devotees today, Sukhrala Mata, Joday Wali Mata in the Billawar and Bani area of Kathua district and Jasrota Fort also in Kathua district due to the threat of COVID Pandemic as the devotees mostly preferred to remain indoors.
Devotees on the first day of Navratra also visited Kol Kandoli, Temple Nagrota and performed prayers there. Among the prominent people who visited the holy temple included National Conference (NC) provincial president, Devender Singh Rana who also participated in the Pratham Poojan there.
Interacting with the devotees there, Rana hoped that the people will observe Navratras with special prayers to steer the humanity from the obtaining grim situation of Corona virus Pandemic. He also hoped that this auspicious occasion to spread peace and amity and inspire people to rededicate themselves to the service of humanity.
The Navratra celebrations were also held at Sharika Peeth Sansthan Subash Nagar by the devotees and Management Committee led by its president, M K Jalali. The temple premises were fully decorated by the devotees and special prayers were held to get the mankind relieved of the grim situation created due to COVID Pandemic.
The other temples of Jammu city and other towns were also fully decorated and the devotees visited there to pay the obeisance on the first Navratra. The people also sowed the Saakh on the first day of Navratra in their houses which will be worshiped during nine days of festival and alter immersed in the rivers after poojan.
A large number of devotees thronged two ancient temples at Bhaderwah in Doda district on Saturday, the first day of the Navratra festival, as the local management opened the doors of the shrines for the first time after seven months.
The ancient Mahakali and Maa Chandi temples were closed in March in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. While most of the places of worship reopened in August after the Government eased the lockdown restrictions, the management of the two shrines had decided not to open the gates as a precautionary measures.
Devotees from Bhaderwah and its adjoining areas have started gathering at the Mahakali temple located at a hilltop in near Bhaderwah Fort to offer special prayers on the first day of the nine-day festival, officials said here.
On this auspicious occasion, the “Kalasastapa and Hawan” rituals, followed by “Puran Aahuti” and “Bhandara” (Community Langar) marked the beginning of the event in a traditional way, they said.
Besides several groups of pilgrims from different parts of Bhaderwah and elsewhere, the main “Charri” (holy mace) was taken from Atalgarh, led by religious preacher Satya Devi Manhas.