Jammu and Kashmir [India], December 5 (ANI): The number of pilgrims at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine this year, is set to cross the magical number of one crore, after nearly two years of closure due to Covid-19.
According to official statistics, 86 lakh pilgrims have visited the shrine, located on Trikota mountain in the Reasi district of Jammu province. Also, the number may cross one crore by the end of December as more people used to visit this Gupha in the month of December.
In 2013, 93.24 lakh pilgrims visited 'Gupha'. In the year, 85,86,541 pilgrims have come, while 85,63,138 pilgrims have done darshan so far.
In 2020, the Yatra was hit the hardest due to the restrictions imposed in view of the Covid pandemic, leading to the number of visitors dropping to 1987 levels.
Thousands of people have been coming daily from Union Territories and other parts of the country. The increase in pilgrimage has been possible due to the effective and pilgrim-oriented management of the Shri Vaishnava Devi Shrine Board.
During this year, an average of about 25-30 thousand devotees visited the cave on a daily basis. At present, the footfall has decreased due to winter and the wedding season, but the footfall is expected to increase in the second half of December.
In the year 2012, a maximum of one crore of four lakh five thousand devotees visited the shrine of Mata Vishnu Devi.
Till November last year, 49,49,967 devotees had performed puja while this year till the end of November 36,13,171 more pilgrims have visited the cave. Around 15 lakh people are expected to visit the shrine by the end of the year.
Since the establishment of the Shri Mata Vaishnava Devi Shrine Board in 1986, the shrine has seen a steady increase in the number of devotees.
The board has taken various initiatives over the years for the convenience of pilgrims including a mobile app, home delivery of pooja prasad, round-the-clock call centre for the convenience of pilgrims, installation of hi-tech video walls and construction of Durga Bhavan.
On its foundation in August, Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha launched the new RFID system for passenger convenience. This system will ensure seamless access control with minimum hassle to the devotees. For better crowd management and tracking of pilgrims, 29 counters and control rooms have been set up at Katra and verification counters have been set up at 7 locations on the track. (ANI)