Yatra to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine to resume from 16th August: CEO Shrine Board

The yatra to the Holy Cave Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji situated in the Trikuta Hills in Jammu and Kashmir will resume from Sunday, 16 August 2020.

It is pertinent to mention that in view of the COVID-19 the pilgrimage to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine was suspended w.e.f. 18 March 2020.

Ramesh Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board said that during the first week of the resumption of pilgrimage there shall be a ceiling of 2,000 pilgrims per day, including 1900 from within Jammu and Kashmir and the remaining 100 from outside J&K.

The situation will be reviewed thereafter and the decision will be taken accordingly. The pilgrims will be allowed to undertake the pilgrimage after registration through online mode only in order to avoid any assembly of persons at the Yatra Registration Counters.

The pilgrims will also be required to install the Aarogya Setu App on their Mobile Phones, before proceeding on the yatra. It will also be mandatory for the pilgrims to wear face masks/face cover(s). Every yatri will be scanned by way of Thermal Image Scanners at the yatra entry points.

The children below the age of 10 years, pregnant women, persons with co-morbidities and persons above the age of 60 years have been advised to avoid the yatra in the interest of their own safety from infection of COVID-19. Later on, as and when the situation normalises, the advisory for this group shall be revisited.

The Chief Executive Officer further said that the yatra will move in a uni-directional manner. The traditional route from Katra to Bhawan via Banganga, Adhkuwari and Sanjichhat will be used for going up and Himkoti route-Tarakote Marg will be used for coming back from the Bhawan.

The COVID negative test report of the pilgrims from outside J&K and also from Red Zone districts of J&K will be checked at the Helipad and the Yatra Entry Points at Darshani Deodi, Banganga, Katra. Only those with negative reports will be allowed to move beyond towards Bhawan. The Ponies, Pithus and Palkis will not be allowed to ply on the tracks, initially.

Free Langar at Tarakote Marg and Prasad Kendra at Sanjichhat will be opened for the facility of pilgrims.

For the ease and comfort of pilgrims, all the supplementary facilities set up by the Board like the Battery Operated Vehicles, Passenger Ropeway and Helicopter services will operate strictly by following the social distancing norms and other precautionary measures.

In order to avoid congregational gatherings, booking/sitting of pilgrims in the Atka Aarti area/ Shradha Suman Vishesh Pooja will not be allowed till further orders. The pilgrims in the queue complexes will be allowed to move only upon the markings to maintain social distancing. The cloakrooms will be allowed to open to facilitate the pilgrims; however, blanket stores will remain closed, initially. All the above measures will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis.

Meanwhile, a massive sanitization campaign has been launched by the Shrine Board right from Katra enroute to Bhawan and in the Bhawan area for ensuring utmost sanitization and cleanliness before the resumption of the yatra.

In this connection, the CEO reviewed all the arrangements in regard to the resumption of the pilgrimage at a meeting of the concerned officers and engineers of the Shrine Board here today.

He is constantly monitoring all the aspects of the pilgrim-centric arrangements for the facilitation of the yatris.