Jammu and Kashmir News
JAMMU, OCTOBER 13 – On the occasion of first Navratra, Minister for Health and Medical Education, ARI and Trainings Choudhary Lal Singh inaugurated the annual Navratra festival by participating in the magnificent Shobha Yatra, taken out from Asia Crossing depicting rich cultural heritage of the State with culmination at Bus Stand Katra.
Katra town, the base camp of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine is witnessing huge rush of pilgrims from across the country and abroad during the ongoing Navratras.
The Minister inaugurated the festival with lightening of the sacred Akhand Jyoti.
MLA, Reasi Ajay Nanda, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu and Chairman of Navratra Festival Dr. Pawan Kotwal, Inspector General of Police Danish Rana, District Development Commissioner, Reasi, Sushma Chauhan, Director Tourism, Jammu R K Verma, Director Health Services, Baljeet Singh Pathania, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Reasi Shiv Kumar Gupta, Director Family Welfare Dr. Baldev Raj Sharma, Chairman All India Devotional Song Competition Rakesh Wazir and President India Style Wrestling Association, Shiv Kumar Sharma besides other senior officers of civil and police administration including thousands of devotees and locals took part in the Shoba Yatra arranged by Department of Tourism and district administration, Reasi.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said that such festivals symbolize unity in diversity besides highlighting composite culture of the state. These events also provide a common platform to the people irrespective of caste, colour and creed to interact with each other and share their culture and traditions which further help in strengthening bonds of brotherhood and communal harmony.
Extending greetings to the people in general and pilgrims in particular on Navratras, Choudhary Lal Singh said that the festival provides an opportunity to the visiting yatris to have a glimpse of our rich cultural heritage and peaceful co-existence of people of different faiths.
The Minister said that efforts are being made by the present Coalition Government to create additional infrastructural facilities at the holy town Katra to meet the increasing rush of pilgrims effectively.
Lauding the role of various local associations connected with the Navratra festival, Singh said that such mega event could not get successful without the active participation of the locals.
He said that the annual nine-day Navratra Festival at holy town Katra would start from October 13, 2015 offering a series of events for the visitors till its culmination on October 21.
The Minister informed the holy event will be organized jointly by Department of Tourism, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) and district administration, Katra Municipality and the local hospitality industry. He added that 18 Sub-Committees have been constituted to make necessary arrangements in connection with the Navratra festival-2015 besides elaborate security and traffic arrangements have been put in place for the Navratra festival.
Highlighting the fast growing popularity of the festival, Choudhary Lal Singh said the yearly event was started for popularizing the Holy Cave Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi Ji as a major pilgrim destination of the State.
The Minister said that since inception of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board at Katra town, massive development has been witnessed from Katra town to Bhawan. He said that government is committed to extend all facilities to the people of Katra and visiting pilgrims. He assured all possible help from the Government and said that their genuine problems would be mitigated in a time phased manner.
Singh said that it is all due to the blessings of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji that over 1 crore pilgrims visit the holy cave shrine every year which supplements the tourism industry of Katra.
In his address, MLA Reasi Ajay Nanda greeted the people of the State on Navratras and said that Government is making all out efforts to provide all modern line basic amenities to the visiting pilgrims from across the country. He said the devotees of Shri Mata Vasihno Devi Jee and Shiv Khori is increasing day-by-day.
While elaborating the events being held during the Navratra festival, Divisional Commissioner as Chairman of the Navratra Festival informed the gathering that All India Devotional Songs Competition will commence from October 13 to 21 at Yogashram Ground, Katra at 8 pm daily. This event will host contestants from across the country who will go through different stages of competition to prove their mettle in the field of singing. The mega final will be held on October 21and the winner will be rewarded with cash prize, he added.
The cultural programmes will be performed by the renowned artists of the State at Government Higher Secondary School, Katra at 8.00 p.m. daily. Religious Discourses (Bhagwat Katha) will be delivered at Shree Raghunath Mandir Katra from 3 pm to 6 pm daily.
The Divisional Commissioner informed that this year the International Wrestling Competition will be held on October 18, 2015 between 12 noon to 6 pm at SMVDSB Sports Stadium, Katra in which the wrestlers hailing from Belarus, England and Ukraine will flex muscles with the local players.
Hasya Vyang (Comedy Show) competition will be organised on October 19 and 20 at Durga Bhawan Complex, Katra while as Kavi Samelan (Poetry) will be held at Bus Stand, Katra on October 13 and 14 at 5 pm, he added.
Later, Director Tourism, Jammu R K Verma presented the vote of thanks.