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Vaishno Devi shrine set to ink new pilgrim inflow record.

With increasing inflow of pilgrims at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine, the pilgrimage in Trikuta mountainous is all set to create new record this year, as it had already crossed the mark of 80 lakh pilgrims in 11 months of 2018, officials said.

Till November 30, as many as 80,430,56 pilgrims performed ‘darshans’ of goddess Mahasaraswati, Mahalaxmi and Mahakali in the form of natural ‘pindies’ inside the “bhawan” at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine situated in Trikuta Hills.

The average footfall of pilgrims at shrine has increased from 15,000 to 25,000 per day and if it goes like this, pilgrimage would surpass 81.78 lakh recorded in 2107. The officials expected peak season in last week of December, when yatra might goes up to around 40,000 pilgrims per day.

“The rush of pilgrims would also increase after commissioning of passenger cable car system between the Bhawan and Bhairon temple, which is in advance stages of the final commissioning and mandatory trials and testing of the project formally started on 26 November, after which the project is likely to commission anytime,” an official said.

“As the year is coming to end, the inflow of pilgrims from entire north zone and rest of the parts in the country has also increased,” an official of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, which manages the pilgrimage told Greater Kashmir.

He added that from Katra town, people either take traditional 13-km-long track or new Tarakot Marg for trekking, in addition to helicopter and battery car services for the devotees.He asserted most families accompanied by children are visiting hilly areas and tourist destinations in the state to utilise their yearly holidays and enjoy winters break in north, besides visiting Katra.

“To regulate the heavy rush and keep a close watch on the movement of pilgrims, the shrine board authorities work round the clock, while special information counters have been set up in Katra base camp to provide first hand information about the status of the rush at the Shrine,” he added.

He further added that elaborate security arrangements have been put in place in and around the town so as to ensure the safety of the pilgrims visiting the cave shrine.

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