Over 1.70 lakh pilgrims pay obeisance at
Mata Vaishno Devi during first five Navratras
Katra, September 24 - With over 1.70 lakh pilgrims from within and various parts of the country at holy town Katra, the base camp of Shri Mata Vaisnhodevi Ji Cave Shrine during the first five Navratras, Navratra Festival is gaining popularlitywitheach passing day. The festival is being organized fourthly by Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board, Katra and J&K Tourism Department, is gaining momentum on the passing of each Navratra.
As many as 60897 devotees had darshans of the Mata Vaishno Devi Cave Shrine during first five Navratras last year and this year there is an increase of over 1,09,144 pilgrims.
In the All India Devotional Song competition being organized As part of the ongoing Navratra Festival, Vijay Kumar Malhotra of Jammu, Vinod Kumar of Amritsar and Vipon Gill of Ludhaina were adjudged first, second and third respectively. The Minister of State for Tourism, Housing and Urban Development, Mr, Nasir Aslam Wani was the chief guest on the occasion. Smt. Anoopma Sharma, Parduman Singh, Brij Mohan Sharma and Surinder Sharma acted as judges.
Earlier, an impressive Shoba Yatra- cum- cultural procession was taken out from the Asia Crossing which after passing through the main bazaars and other locations of the Katra town culminated at GHSS, Katra.
The District Development Commissioner, Reasi, Mr. Pandurang K. Pole, who was the chief guest, lit the Sacred Jyoti on the occasion.
President, Municipal Committee, Katra, Mr. Ambresh Magotra, Senior Superintendent of Police Reasi, Mr. Anand Jain, Sub Divisional Magistrate, Katra, Mr. Rashpaul Singh, Assistant Director, Tourism, President Indian Style Wrestling Association, Mr. Shiv Kumar Sharma, President All India Devotional Song Competition, Rakesh Wazir, President Hotel & Restaurant Association Mr. Sham Lal Kesar, President, Cultural Association, Mr. Surinder Khajuria and other other members of Navratra Festival committee were present on the occasion.
Cultural programmes by the Songs & Drama Division organized at Government Higher Secondary School , All India Devotional Song Competition at Shri Yog Ashram, religious discourses at Regunath Mandir, free langer by Seva Bharti and exhibition stalls by various departments were the other highlights of the Festival which is attracting thousands of devotees and locals.
Likewise, celebration of Navratras is in full swing in all parts of t Udhampur district where people are paying their obeisance at different shrine of Goddess Durga. Pingala Mata shrine situated at a hillock in village Pinger of Ramnagar tehsil is also witnessing huge rush of devotees where over 40,000 pilgrims had darshans of Mata Pingla during first five days of Navratras. Cultural events like bhaint and dance competitions are being organized at Ramnagar town every evening where a large number of school children are taking part.