Vaishno Devi devotees face hardship due to security measures near Katra

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Katra (Jammu), Sep.25 (ANI): Pilgrims bound for the revered Vaishno Devi shrine on Friday lamented uncomfortable security measures which made the devotees, arriving in Katra during Navrartas, to get down of their vehicles two to three kilometres before the usual stoppage point.

Long queues of pilgrims, some elderly and others carrying children on their laps, could be seen at Katra town trekking uphill about two to three kilometres as police put up barricades for security measures for the visiting devotees.

"The vehicles, coming from Jammu, are stopping 2 kilometers behind. The policemen are guarding every nook and corner, they are not allowing vehicles to come here and the devotees are facing a lot of problems due to this," said Sandeep Shinde, a devotee.

Hundreds of thousands of devotees visit the Vaishno Devi shrine during the nine-day Navratra festivities.

A large number of devotees have turned up during the ongoing Navratras, which commenced on Saturday (September 19).

Meanwhile, officials said the measure was temporary in order to streamline the huge number of pedestrians and vehicular traffic.

"First of all I would like to tell you that the bus stand has not been shifted anywhere, it remains where it was before. There was rush on the first day of Navratri so we had stopped the yatra ahead of Katra," said Vijay Kumar, Senior Superintendent of Police (Railway).

Security forces have mounted a multi-tier security envelope for pilgrims during the Navratri festival.

Katra, which is 48 kilometers from Jammu, serves as the base camp for visiting the famous shrine of Vaishno Devi. Pilgrims have to either trek uphill 13 kilometers or take pony rides from Katra, to reach the Vaishno Devi shrine, located at an altitude of 6,700 feet.

"Navratri," which literally means nine nights, is observed twice a year. It lasts for nine days in honour of nine manifestations of Hindu goddess Durga and fall in the months of April-May and September-October. (ANI)

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