Navratra Festival Inaugurated
Katra, Jammu (J&K), October 6, 2013 - Deputy Chief Minister, Jammu & Kashmir, accompanied by Minister for Tourism, J&K, today inaugurated eight-day long Navratra Festival by lighting the sacred Jyoti here.
The Navratra Festival is being organized by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB), Tourism Department and District Administration, Reasi in collaboration with local organizations.
As a part of the inaugural ceremony, an attractive Shobha Yatra depicting the rich cultural heritage of the J&K state amidst spiritual ambience was taken out from the Asia Crossing which culminated at Bus Stand. The congregation witnessed participation of a large number of pilgrims from across the country and abroad, school children, cultural troupes and tableau. The helicopters showered flower petals on the procession adding colours to the occasion.
Extending greetings to the people in general and pilgrims in particular on holy Navratras, the Deputy Chief Minister said that the Navratra Festival provides an opportunity to the visiting yatris (pilgrims) from various corners of the country and abroad to have a glimpse of the rich cultural heritage of Jammu and Kashmir based on the peaceful coexistence of people of different faiths.
Deputy CM lauded the efforts of State Tourism Department for diverting Shri Vaishno Devi Ji Pilgrims to different tourist destinations for the promotion of tourism industry. He said work on artificial lake, cable car project at Bahu Fort, beautification of Mubarkh Mandi Complex and expansion of the Jammu Airport is under process for attracting more tourists to Jammu division.
He assured that problems like water supply, solid waste management and other similar issues of Katra town related to the smooth flow of Yatra would also be given due consideration for their early redressal. Minister for Tourism, while speaking on the occasion, said it was all due to the blessings of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji that over 1.25 crore pilgrims visited the holy cave shrine which supplement the tourism industry in the state in a big way.
Describing the Festivals as means to promote mutual brotherhood, composite culture and secularism, the Minister for Tourism said that the events, like the Navratra Festival provide and opportunity to the people of different faith to share the joys. He said public cooperation is imperative for making such event a great success. Minister for Tourism announced Rs 10 lakh enhancement in the budget of the Navratra Festival. MLA Reasi, and MLC also spoke on the occasion and assured all out help for smooth conduct of the Navratra Festival Katra.
Divisional Commissioner Jammu, who is also the Chairman of the Navratra Festival Celebration Committee, gave a resume of various events going to be held during the Navratra days. Director Tourism, Jammu, delivered welcome address, while Deputy Commissioner Reasi, presented vote of thanks.
As part of the festival, Shobha yatra-cum-cultural procession was taken out from Asia Chowk at 7.30 p.m., All India Devotional Song Competition was held at Shri Yog Ashram Air Strip, Katra at 8 p m and cultural programme was arranged by the Song and Drama Division at GHSS, Katra at 8.30 p.m. and will continue daily.
Similarly, religious discourses on the Ramayana and Bhagwat Gita are going to be held at Raghunath Mandir from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m, everyday Hasya Vyang Competition at Durga Bhawan Katra on October 9 to October 11 at 8.30 p.m daily and wrestling competition will be held at Multipurpose Sports Stadium, Katra on October 11 from 12 noon to 6 p.m. Talent Show for blind children would also be held on October 12 in the premises of GHSS, Katra at 11 a.m.
Natrang Jammu is going to stage internationally acclaimed Dogri play ‘Bawa Jitto’ on 6th and 7th of October, 2013 in the ongoing Navratra Festival, Katra. The shows will be staged at 7 p m on both the days in the Auditorium of Spiritual Growth Centre, Katra. This was disclosed here today by Balwant Thakur at a press briefing held at Natrang Studio Theatre, Jammu.
Giving details he said that with the support of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Katra and Navratra festival Committee is organising two shows of the much celebrated Dogri play ‘Bawa Jitto’ are being organised at the Auditorium of Spiritual Growth Centre, Katra which will add further colour and attraction to the ongoing Navratra Festival, Katra. Balwant Thakur thanked Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and Chairman Navratra Festival Committee Chairman Mr. Shantmanu for giving Natrang an opportunity to demonstrate before public the glimpses of their own history, heritage and culture. He further informed that Bawa Jitto has been one of the great devotee of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi who use to offer prayers at the Shrine every morning climbing the hills all way from the village Aghar and wanted the staging of the shows based on this saga of the supreme sacrifice of Bawa Jitto to become a permanent feature during the annual Navratra Festival, katra. He appealed all the stakeholders to come forward and support him to use this as an opportunity to revive the priceless cultural traditions of the region which have the capacity to become global tourism attraction..
Written by Prof. Ram Nath Shastri, the play Bawa Jito is set in the rural backdrop, story of Bawa Jitto portrays the age-old saga of exploitation of landless farmers by landlords. Due to the constant and persistent pressures of relatives, with a piece of land as bone of contention, Bawa Jitto, a hard working, farm less farmer is forced to leave his native village.
Accompanied by his nine-year-old daughter, he takes shelter in the house of a friend in Shamachak, a nearby village. The efforts of his friend Rullo result in a land grant from landlord in Shamachak and one fourth of the produce is fixed as land revenue. The hard work put in by him, the sweat and toil of Jitto turns a barren land into prolific treasure. This makes avaricious landlord to back out on his word and ask for major share of the crop. Helpless Jitto, unable to endure injustice, kills himself. The agony becomes boundless when Gauri, his little daughter immolates herself on her father's pyre.
In the mean while Governor, who is the Chairman of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, visited the Holy Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Deviji and inaugurated several infrastructure development projects, launched a number of schemes and reviewed the various ongoing development works of the Shrine Board with a view to meet future requirements of this round the year Yatra.
On the auspicious occasion of the commencement of holy Navratras, the Governor paid obeisance at the Shrine and prayed for peace, harmony and prosperity of the State. He was accompanied by First Lady, Member and Technical Consultant, Shine Board, Chief Executive Officer and Additional CEO.
The Governor, while inspecting various projects of the Shrine Board stressed the need for ensuring expeditious completion of all the development schemes. The Governor inspected the Outer Cave area and inaugurated Parvati Bhawan, in the Bhawan area, which has been constructed at a cost of about Rs. 3.58 crore. This 4-storey building has dormitory accommodation for 200 persons, besides locker facilities. He went around the building and was briefed about the facilities created for the pilgrims in this complex.
The Governor also inaugurated Jaikara Bhojanalya at Bhawan and looked at the food and other eatables being made available there. During inspection of the under-construction Pony Stand, the Governor issued instructions for speeding up the work for its expeditious completion, which is estimated to cost Rs. 3.80 crore.
The Governor met and spoke to a good number of pilgrims to ascertain the difficulties faced by them. He asked the CEO of the Shrine Board for exploring possibility of replacing the existing tiles of the track by skid proof material based on the latest technologies. He also asked for replacing GC sheets of the shelter sheds, wherever required.
Earlier, on arrival at Sanjichhat Helipad, the Governor was received by Additional CEO; Deputy Commissioner, Reasi, SP, Reasi, and other senior civil, Police and Shrine Board officers.