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Devotees throng temples across the country as Navratri begins

On the first day of Navaratri, Devi Durga is worshipped as 'Shailaputri'.

Devotees throng temples across the country as Navratri begins
Image Courtesy: ANI

NEW DELHI: The nine-day long festival of Navratra, which marks the worship of Goddess Durga, began with religious fervour and gaiety on Wednesday.

Thousands of devotees thronged temples across the country since morning to offer their prayers to the Goddess. 

On the first day of Navaratri, Devi Durga is worshipped as 'Shailaputri'.
In the national capital, devotees thronged Kalkaji, Jhandewalan and other temples to offer prayers.

In Mumbai, devotees in large number were seen at the famous Mumba Devi Temple on the first day of Navaratri. 

Devotees of Goddess Durga also thronged temples in Varanasi to offer their prayers to the deity. 

Meanwhile, a large number of devotees thronged the cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi in Jammu and Kashmir on the first day of Navratri.

In view of the Navratri festival, security has been tightened in and around the Mata Vaishno Devi temple and its base camp in Katra.

More than 60 lakh pilgrims have visited the cave shrine in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district till the end of September this year, while over 80 lakh had paid obeisance at the shrine last year, according to officials. In view of terror threats, the security agencies are leaving no stone unturned to ensure no untoward incident occurs during the festivities.

Tight security arrangements have been made and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has increased vigilance at Katra as well as the track that leads to the shrine.

The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and the J&K Tourism Board has also made several arrangements to make sure that the festivities leave a lasting impression on the devotees.

"All arrangements have been put in place for the pilgrims expected to visit the shrine during the Navratri festival beginning from Wednesday,'' Dheeraj Gupta, Chief Executive Officer of the shrine board said.

According to him, the track leading to the shrine will have adequate water and power supply along with proper sanitation. In addition, special food for those observing a fast will be made available at the bhojanalayas (eateries) of the shrine board, he said.

A sanitation drive has also been launched to ensure cleanliness on the track, along the hill slopes, the holy Banganga river and the area surrounding the bhawan, he said.

Gupta also reviewed the arrangements made enroute Katra to the cave shrine and said that like in the past, the bhawan and the area surrounding it has been decorated with flowers brought from across the country and abroad.

All the routes leading to the shrine have been renovated and the establishments have got a fresh coat of paint, he added.

According to the Director of J&K's Tourism Department Om Parkash Bhagat, the festivities will begin on Wednesday at 11 AM at the Asia Chowk in Katra followed by a Shobha Yatra and a grand event showcasing the cultural heritage of the state and the country.

Various events will be organised during including presentation of mata rani ki kahani, ram leela, prabhat pheris, devotional song competition, cultural programmes and even a wrestling competition, Bhagat said.

(With Agency inputs)