Sanjeev K Sharma
JAMMU, Sept 26: The nine auspicious days of Navratras started here today with temples beautifully decorated and special arrangement put in place for some special rituals but the rush of devotees was much less than expected.
At Katra, the base camp of revered Shri Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, the devotees mostly were the locals from Jammu region while number of outside pilgrims was very less.
“The authorities have now introduced RFID enabled Yatra access cards replacing the paper Yatra slips,” Varinder Kesar, president PHD Chamber Katra informed adding that the new process consumes lot of time while earlier there used to be online registration for pilgrims which attracted large number of pilgrims during Navratras.
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Sources informed that RFID enabled Yatra access cards was introduced as it may help in real-time crowd management and this was necessitated after stampede at the shrine in January this year in which 11 pilgrims were killed.
Meanwhile, number of visiting devotees was also low at Fort Shrine of Bawe Wali Mata in Jammu.
“The rush at the temple was what the shrine used witness on Sundays while in Navratra days we had long queues at the shrine which even reached to the road outside,” Vivek Magotra-priest at the temple informed.
However, he said that as tomorrow is a Tuesday and Navratras are also going on so they expect more devotees from second Navratra onwards.
Another priest at the shrine Shilpa said might be due to sowing of Saakh (barley) some people have planned to visit the shrine from second Navratra due to which the rush today remained low.
“The rush of pilgrims at our Kol Kandoli temple, which is the first darshan to the pilgrimage of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji in Katra, remained too low today even though it was the first Navratra today,” Pandit Jai Kumar informed.
He demanded that the Tourism Department should place hoardings at Bus Stand, Railway Station and Airport to popularise the shrine.
Jai Kumar informed that Chandi Paath has been started at the temple today and the Kirtan will be held daily by different parties.
He also said that on Saptami, Ashtami, Navmi, Dashmi and next day of Diwali there will be Bhandara and he invited people from different sections of the society to visit the temple and get blessings of the Goddess.
There are reports of Navratra celebrations in different districts of J&K.
At Chichi Mata temple in Samba, 2500 devotees paid obeisance at Sukrala and Sundrikot temples in Billawar 3000 devotees visited, at Jasrota temple of Kali Mata 3000 devotees had darshan, at Bala Sundri temple in Nagri Parole 2000 devotees visited, at Jhanti Fort 1000 devotees visited while at Ashapurni temple in Kathua 1500 devotees paid obeisance.
Sanjeev K Sharma