President pays obeisance at Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine

President Pranab Mukherjee prayed at the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in Katra town.

Jammu: President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday paid obeisance at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu region's Katra town.

The President signed the visitors' book and waved to the other devotees.

Despite the President's presence, no restrictions were placed on devotees proceeding to the shrine. Katra town is located about 50 km from Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir.

The President was accompanied by Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra, who is also the chairman of the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (MVDSB) that manages the affairs of the shrine. Each year, more than 10 million devotees from different parts of the country pay obeisance at the shrine.

Earlier, Mukherjee landed at the newly-laid Panchi Helipad in Katra town.

From there, his entourage drove in a convoy of six battery cars to the Yatra Bhawan where he inaugurated the Shridhar Bhawan elevator.

The elevator can be used by the aged and infirm devotees to reach the shrine without having to climb the 127 steps up the mountainous trek.

The President had arrived in the state on Monday. 

The newly-laid Panchi Helipad will also reduce the distance to the shrine for the pilgrims using helicopter services to undertake the pilgrimage.

After paying obeisance at the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine, the President will leave for New Delhi ending his two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir. 

The President on Tuesday addressed the 14th convocation of the University of Jammu where he was the chief guest.

The Governor hosted an At Home for the President in winter capital Jammu on Monday.

Vohra also briefed Mukherjee during a one-on-one interaction at the state Raj Bhawan about the latest security situation, socio-economic issues as well as those related to education and healthcare in the state.

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