Jammu, Apr 8 : A group of fifty-two Hindu pilgrims from Pakistan offered prayer at the Vaishno Devi shrine on Tuesday.
The pilgrims visited the shrine on the third day of the nine-day 'Navratri' festival dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Durga.
"We are thankful to the people of Katra as they have welcomed us with immense love and affection. We have come here for the first time. And we'll begin our journey to the shrine of Goddess Durga," said, Nanak Ram, a Pakistani devotee.
The pilgrims were provided lodging facilities for their fifteen-day visit to India for which they have been granted a special visa to visit three Hindu shrines - Katra, Haridwar and Amritsar.
Necessary security arrangements have been made for the Pakistani citizens.
"They are fully protected," said Purushottam Mengi, Station house officer, Katra.
It may be recalled, that last month, a group of 200 Hindu pilgrims visited Katas Raj temple located in Pakistan to celebrate Maha Shivratri.
Devotees believe that wishes are fulfilled with prayers to Goddess Durga during the nine-day festival. They observe fasts and consume only fruits and milk in their meals and make offerings of fruits and flowers to the Goddess during the festival.
"Navratri", dedicated to Goddess Durga is celebrated twice in a year, during the spring and the autumn season.