After remaining suspended for five months, pilgrimage to the holy cave shrine of Vaishno Devi will resume on 16 August. It is pertinent to mention that in view of the COVID-19, the pilgrimage was suspended since 18 March.
Ramesh Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, said that during the first week of resumption of pilgrimage there shall be a ceiling of 2,000 pilgrims per day, including 1900 from within Jammu and Kashmir and the remaining 100 from outside J&K.
The situation will be reviewed thereafter and the decision will be taken accordingly.
Pilgrims will be allowed to undertake the pilgrimage after registration through online mode only in order to avoid any assembly of persons at the Yatra Registration Counters.
The pilgrims will also be required to install Aarogya Setu App on their mobile phones before proceeding on the yatra. It will also be mandatory for the pilgrims to wear face masks. Every pilgrim will be scanned by way of thermal image scanners at the yatra entry points.
Children below the age of 10, pregnant women, persons with co-morbidities and persons above the age of 60 years have been advised to avoid the yatra in the interest of their own safety from infection of COVID-19. Later on, as and when the situation normalises, the advisory for this group shall be revisited.
The Chief Executive Officer further said that the yatra will move in a uni-directional manner. The traditional route from Katra to Bhawan via Banganga, Adhkuwari and Sanjichhat will be used for going up and Himkoti route-Tarakote Marg will be used for returning from the Bhawan.
COVID negative test report of the pilgrims from outside J&K and also from Red Zone districts of J&K will be checked at the helipad and the yatra entry points at Darshani Deodi, Banganga, Katra. Only those with negative reports will be allowed to move towards Bhawan.
Meanwhile, a massive sanitization campaign has been launched by the Shrine Board right from Katra enroute to Bhawan and in the Bhawan area for ensuring utmost sanitization and cleanliness before the resumption of the yatra.