Pilgrims paying obeisance at Vaishno Devi shrine via natural cave: Official

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Jammu, Feb 10 (PTI) The old and natural cave of the Vaishno Devi shrine was opened for devotees after 'Makar Sankranti', and since then, a large number of pilgrims have paid obeisance while strictly following COVID-19 protocols, officials said on Wednesday.

Every year, the natural cave is opened for pilgrims after Makar Sankranti amid chanting of Vedic 'mantras' and a number of other rituals.

Ramesh Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, said normally pilgrims are allowed from the natural cave when the number of daily pilgrims is below 10,000.

The yatra to the cave shrine is progressing smoothly and over 5.17 lakh pilgrims have paid obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum in 2021, he said.

The shrine board has recently launched a number of pilgrim-centric initiatives like online 'darshan', home delivery of 'prasad', Mata Vaishno Devi mobile app and call centre among others.

The mobile app features live 'darshans' in the morning and evening, besides letting users avail various other facilities made available by the shrine board, the officials said. PTI AB IJT