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82 Lakh Pilgrims Visit Vaishnodevi Shrine In 2009

PTI 01 Jan 2010, 13:48:16 IST

Surpassing all previous records, the authorities at the holy cave shrine of Mata Vaishnodevi registered over 82.05 lakh faithfuls who visited the cave-shrine located in Trikuta hills in Jammu and Kashmir in 2009.

"The pilgrimage to Mata Vaishnodevi has set a new milestone. A total of record number of 82.05 lakh pilgrims have visited the cave shrine in 2009. It is highest number of the pilgrims visiting this shrine," Additional Chief Executive Officer (ACEO), Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board (SMVSB), Dr Mandeep K Bandari told PTI. 

82,05,917 pilgrims had 'darshan' at the cave shrine in 2009. It is 14 lakh more than that of 2008 and 8 lakh more than the total pilgrims arrival records of 2007 that amounted to 74.17 lakh.

In 2008, there was fall in the pilgrim flow to cave shrine due to a 2-month long Amarnath land row agitation in Jammu and Kashmir and only a total of 67.5 lakh pilgrimage visited cave shrine.

"Now we will move towards next target of 1 crore pilgrim arrivals. We hope to make it by next few years", he said.

In 2006, the yatra reached to 69.5 lakh mark and 67.83 lakh pilgrims visited cave shrine in 2005.

During past one decade, the cave-shrine of Vaishnodevi has become the second busiest after Tirupati across India. The number of pilgrims rose from 3 lakh in 1970 to 52 lakh in 2000. From 1986, when shrine was taken over by SMVDSB, the pilgrims traffic of 13.95 lakh have increased almost nearly five times till now.

The breakup of traffic to cave shrine shows abrupt increase of nearly ten lakh pilgrims in just one year from 21.69 lakh in 1990 to 31.16 lakh in 1991.  Similarly, pilgrim traffic recorded included 35.16 lakh in 1992, 33.68 lakh in 1993, 37.05 lakh in 1994, 40.11 lakh in 1995, 44.09 lakh in 1996, 47.19 lakh in 1997, 48.30 lakh in 1998, 49.10 lakh in 1999 and record 52.31 lakh in 2000, 51 lakh in 2004.

The faithfuls cover the 13-km distance from Katra to shrine bhawan by foot or pony, dandi, puthoos and horses. The entire track is lit up with 710 powerful sodium lamps besides 5000 parapet walls and 3000 meters of railings set up along track for security and safety reason.

Facilities are available en route at over 650 water disposal points, 35 shelters-cum-sheds, 13 cafeterias and over hundred odd shops serving eatables and non-alcoholic beverages. Over 150 hotels, lodges, guest houses and dharamsalas operate here. PTI