Thousands throng Vaishno Devi shrine on first day of Chaitra Navratri

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Jammu: Thousands of devotees from across the country thronged the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir as the nine-day long ‘Chaitra Navratri’ commenced on Tuesday.

‘Shat Chandi Maha Yagya’, a special havan organised by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB), was performed at the holy cave amidst the serene aura besides other rituals on the auspicious occasion, a spokesperson of the board said.

He said the sacred rituals at the shrine, located atop Trikuta hills, spanning across the Navratri are being performed to foster harmony, abundance and good health for all.

Anshul Garg, Chief Executive Officer, SMVDSB, along with other board members and officials attended the yagya ceremony, apart from the pilgrims, the spokesperson said.

The havan is being telecasted live on MH1 Shraddha channel from 12 noon to 1 pm daily for the nine days, he added.

The shrine has been specially decorated for Navratri with intricate colourful lighting, floral arrangements, coupled with traditional motifs and embellishments.

The spokesperson said the board has made elaborate arrangements as per the directions of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, who is also the chairman of SMVDSB, to facilitate the large number of pilgrims expected to visit the temple during the Navratri.

These arrangements include round-the-clock water and power supply along the tracks leading to the shrine, sanitation and medical facilities and availability of special ‘fasting food’ at the board’s ‘bhojanalayas’, he said.

“For the ease and comfort of pilgrims, facilities such as accommodation, battery-operated vehicles, passenger ropeways and helicopter services have been provided and are operating smoothly,” he added.

Free meals will also be available to the pilgrims at Tarakote Marg and Prasad Kendra at Sanjichatt, besides the ‘langar sewa’ at Bhairon Ji.

To facilitate the smooth pilgrimage for differently-abled pilgrims, the board is providing free pony and battery car services to the shrine, the official said.

Other special features of the Navratri celebration in Vaishno Devi shrine include ‘bhajan’ and ‘atka aarti’ by renowned artists, he added.

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