Old cave of Mata Vaishno Devi to remain open till yatra is below 10,000

The period can be extended depending upon the pilgrimage, which generally picks up after December 15 due to winter vacations.
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Dec. 4, 2009 - PRLog -- With pilgrimage hovering below 10,000 mark except for the weekends, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) has decided to keep historic old cave shrine of the Goddess Vaishno Devi open especially during the day time till December 15.

The period can be extended depending upon the pilgrimage, which generally picks up after December 15 due to winter vacations.

Additional CEO SMVDSB Dr Mandeep K Bhandari told the Excelsior that historic old cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi Ji is being opened as long as it can accommodate rush of the pilgrims.

Generally, the rush is less during day time. Today, the ancient cave was opened from 11 am to 4 pm. However, when the rush increased in the evening, the cave was closed again. This practice is being followed almost regularly during past few days and will continue till the pilgrims can be accommodated from the old cave.

While number of the pilgrims is likely to go up between December 15 to January 1 due to vacations, the months of January and February are also known for lean season. During these two months also, the old cave is opened for the days when the yatra is 10,000 per day or below.

It may be mentioned that ancient and historic cave shrine was closed more than one and a half decade back after the construction of a new cave to accommodate heavy rush of the yatris. The old cave shrine is now opened only for few days between December to February.

At present, less than 10,000 pilgrims are reaching holy town of Katra, base camp of the cave shrine. During first two days of December, 17,149 pilgrims paid obeisance to the Goddess Vaishno Devi in Trikuta hills. The number of yatris during corresponding days last year was 19,179.

In November this year, the yatra was down by about 31,000 as compared to last year. While 4.75 lakh yatris visited the shrine in November this year, the number for the same month last year was 5.06 lakh.

However, the yatra this year is up by 13.87 lakh so far. By last evening, 76.88 lakh yatris visited Vaishno Devi Bhawan this year as against 63.01 lakh during the same period last year.

The pilgrimage this year was set to touch eight million mark for the first time in history of the shrine, the previous highest being 74.17 lakh in 2007.

In January this year, 4.14 lakh pilgrims had visited Mata Vaishno Devi shrine as compared to 3.40 lakh last year while the number of yatris in February was 2.97 lakh, up from 2.25 lakh the previous year. In March, 6.73 lakh yatris had darshan of natural pindies of the Goddess, the number being 6.18 lakh last year.

In April, the number of pilgrims stood at 6.99 lakh from 6.23 lakh last year. However, it was in May when the number of yatris came down to 7.25 lakh this year from 9.65 lakh last year. In June as well the yatra was down to 10.13 lakh as compared to 11.18 lakh last year.

In the month of July 9.09 lakh yatris visited the holy cave shrine, averaging about 30,000 per day while in the same month last year only 5.31 lakh pilgrims had come to the Bhawan. In August 8.25 lakh pilgrims offered prayers to the Goddess against 2.71 lakh last year. In September this year, 7.83 lakh yatris prayed at the holy cave shrine while the number during same month last year was 4.24 lakh. In October, the yatra stood at 7.64 lakh this year as compared to 6.56 lakh last year.


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