Keeping in view a surge in coronavirus cases, authorities have put in place strict Covid protocol and guidelines during the Navratras. Apart from producing corona negative certificates for pilgrimage to the cave shrine, the devotees have to strictly follow guidelines and restrictions on the 14 kilometer route from Katra to Bhawan.

Strict covid protocols have been put in place for the safety to all devotees coming from different parts of the country as well as from abroad during holy Navratras, CEO of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi ShrineBoard, Ramesh Kumar said.

Kumar had visited Bhawan last week and various other locations on the track and reviewed these arrangements. He checked the arrangements at Yatra registration counters at Katra and, at Darshani Deodi,  Banganga,  Adhkuwari, Tarakote Marg, Sanjichhat, HimkotiMarg, Bhawan, Bhairon Complex and other locations between Katra and Bhawan.

Vaisho Devi
Devotees standing in a queue during yatra of Vaishno Devisocial media

These arrangements include ensuring round-the-clock water and power supply all along the tracks leading to the shrine, sanitization, medicare, and availability of special "fast related" food at the catering outlets of the Shrine Board.

He also reviewed the arrangement which have been put in place for ensuring strict enforcement of all the precautionary measures vis-à-vis COVID-19 protocols and guidelines.

Giving details of these arrangements, the CEO said that like in the past, the Bhawan of Shri Mata Vaishno Deviji, Atka and the area surrounding it has been beautifully decorated with exquisite flowers. Likewise, the illumination of the Bhawan area with attractive and colourful lights has also been done. He added that as was done in the last year's Shardiya Navratras, there will be Bhajan and Bhaint performances by the renowned artistes besides the morning and evening Atka Aarti during these Navratras also.

Other special features of these arrangements include organising the Shat ChandiMaha Yagya at shrine during the Navratras for peace, prosperity and health of humanity. The Shat Chandi Maha Yagya will be telecast live from 10.30 a.m. to12.00 noon daily during the Navratras.

Mata Vaishno Devi
A view of the Bhawan of Vaishno Devi Shrinesocial media

Strictrestrictions during Navratras ·

  • For pilgrims coming from outside J&K, the protocol of 100% compulsory COVID-19 antigen testing will be followed. Permission to proceed beyond Katra on Yatra shall be accorded only when COVID result of these pilgrims is negative. Necessary administrative arrangement and coordination will be done by concerned  authorities.
  • Registration of pilgrims should be made only through online mode, in order to avoid any assembly of persons at current counters.·
  • Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) facilities at multiple locations at the start of yatra route could also be set up to randomly test and identify any potential carrier of infection ·
  • Periodic COVID-19 antigen testing of the exposed / frontline staff of SMVDSB and other service providers in the surrounding area shall be carried out in order to keep a constant tab on the spread of COVID infection in Katra and its surrounding areas.·
  • Highest level of cleaning and sanitization protocol for the sanctum sanctorum including the holy caves should be followed.·
  • Sanitization and hygiene of all toilet blocks, bathing ghats, guest houses, battery cars, Helicopters, cable car shall be ensured.·
  • Optimum use of all Yatra routes to ensure maximum staggering and physical distancing.