On the auspicious occasion of Sharad Navratras, the cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi is decorated with flowers and fruits imported from different parts of the country and abroad. These flowers namely gladiolus, carnations, lilies, and anthurium orchids will stay fresh for almost 10 days.
Pilgrims visiting the shrine will also be greeted by a gold-plated door adoring the entrance of the 96-foot-long main cave.
Besides making elaborate arrangements for the pilgrims visiting the cave shrine, especially during Navratras, the Bhawan, Atka, and surrounding areas are tastefully and artistically decorated with exquisite fresh flowers of varied varieties brought from various parts of the country and abroad.
"Grand decorations are made at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan, Atka, and the area surrounding it with indigenous-foreign fruits and flowers, as well as huge reception doors and pandals are installed in the Bhawan area", spokesperson of Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) said.
Likewise, the illumination of the Bhawan area with attractive and colorful lights has also been done. The breathtaking and festive decorations are a special visual delight for pilgrims who trek about 12km from Katra to Bhawan.
Also, as was done in last year's Sharad Navratras, this year's other special features of arrangements included Bhajan and Bhaint performances during morning and evening Atka Aarti by renowned artists.
Selfie points for devotees on the 12-km track
Apart from erecting welcome gates on the track, the Shrine Board has unveiled special selfie points for the first time en route to the holy shrine for the pilgrims to capture fond memories of their visit during Navratra.
As one starts trekking towards the cave, flowers of all hues adorn the way giving it a colourful and festive look. The illumination of the Bhawan area with attractive and colourful lights has further added to the ambiance of the surroundings. These decorations are just breathtaking and festive making it a special visual delight for the pilgrims after trekking about a 12 km track from Katra to Bhawan.
Chief Secretary inaugurates Navratra festival
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta today inaugurated the Navratra Festival 2022 in a glittering function here at Yog Ashram, Katra.
The inaugural ceremony was marked with traditional puja and formal reception of all important guests by a presentation of Mata ki Chunaries. A colourful cultural and devotional program was presented by renowned artist groups which mesmerized the public with their vibrant performances. Also, a laser show on Mata Ki Kahani was displayed which was well appreciated by the audience.
The Navratra festival, started in 1996, has metamorphosed into an event of outrageous proportions with thousands of people coming together not only to pay obeisance to Maa Vaishno Devi but also to be part of grand celebrations. Bright lights, the drape of varied hues, sound of folk and devotional music in the background shall be a common occurrence during these Navratras at Katra / Jammu.