Katra (Jammu and Kashmir), Mar 23 (ANI): Katra traders and businessmen do brisk business on the occasion of the ongoing 'Navratra' festival.
Thousands of pilgrims throng here on their way to the Hindu shrine of Vaishno Devi.
Katra, which lies in the foothills of Trikuta is visited by devotees all around the year with about 4000-5000 pilgrims visiting the shrine daily.
This in turn boosts the local economy.
"I have always seen that devotees throng this place during Navratras. The devotees believe that visiting this shrine during this time is very auspicious for them," said Amarjeet Singh, a restaurant owner.
"So, when the tourist inflow increases each and every community, whether he is a businessman, a shopkeeper or a hotelier, earns profit. The people come here and buy things for their family," Singh added.
On this occasion around 70-75 lakh devotees visit the Shrine each year.
"There is something very special about this festival, as there is normally not much work to do during the rest of the year; but during Navratras the business is good. We do seventy to hundred ercent more business during this time than the whole year," said Anu Dubey, a shopkeeper
"People come here to buy things and the whole market place is also cleaned up during this festival," she added.
A pilgrimage to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine during the Navratras is considered most auspicious.
Navratra is celebrated with religious fervour twice in a year, during the spring and the autumn season.
The nine-day festival signifies nine manifestations of Goddess Durga, who stands for power. She is depicted as riding a raging lion, holding weapons in her ten hands.
The shrine of Vaishno Devi is one of the oldest shrines of the country, located at a height of 5,300 feet. (ANI)