Jammu: The cave shrine of Mata Vaishnodevi
situated at the Trikuta Hills in Jammu and Kashmir has
achieved a historic milestone by recording the visit of one
crore pilgrims so far this year.
The number of visitors this year is 12.5 lakh more than
the previous tear, a shrine board official said.
"Today, Mata Vaishnodevi shrine has created a new
milestone as it has crossed arrival of one crore pilgrims this
year. We are very happy over the new record," additional chief
executive officer (ACEO) of Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board
(SMVSB) Mandeep K Bhandari said.
Rakesh Vishawkarma, who arrived with family from Jaipur
today, became the one croreth pilgrim to pay the obeisance at
the shrine, Bhandari said.
The milestone was achieved in the silver jubilee year of
constitution of Mata Vaishnodevi board, he said, adding that
the pilgrimage went up from 13.96 lakh in 1986, the year when
the board was set up. From then, the traffic of pilgrims has
increased almost nearly five times till now.
Bhandari said in year 2010, 87,49,326 pilgrims visited
the shrine, over 5,14,430 lakh more than 2009`s figures of
82,34,896 and over 20 lakh more than total pilgrims arrival of
67,92,223 in 2008.
As many as 74.17 lakh pilgrims visited the cave shrine
in 2007, rising from previous marks of 69.5 lakh and 67.83
lakh in years 2006 and 2005 respectively, Bhandari further
said, noting that during past one decade, Mata Vaishnodevi has
become second busiest shrine in the country after Triputi
Temple in Andhra Pradesh.
Giving further break-up of the figures, Bhandari said
recorded visit of pilgrims include 21.69 lakh in 1990, 31.16
lakh in 1991, 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 number of
pilgrims rose from 3 lakh in 1970 to 52 lakh in 2000.
Bhandari said SMVSB will take all steps to cater the
requirements of the pilgrims arriving in future and expressed
hope that the shrine will continue to achieve new targets.
Ever since its takeover, the board takes care of all
basic amenities en-route to the shrine from Katra base camp,
which include hospitals, accommodations, 650 water-points, 35
shelters-cum-sheds, 13 cafeterias apart from several shops
serving eatables and beverages.
The board also provides transportation facility in the
13-km track through ponies, dandi, puthoos and horses besides
looking after the arrangement of lighting facilities en-route.
The sacred shrine among Hindus holds a belief that
anybody who walks the Himalayan trail, gets his wish fulfilled
and never returns disappointed.