Navratra Festival-2015: Cultural shows, various contests to mark celebrations

Jammu and Kashmir News

JAMMU, OCTOBER 09- The holy cave shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi ji is annually visited by millions of pilgrims from all over the country and abroad. Navratra festival started in the year 1996 to promote the holy cave shrine of Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Ji as an important pilgrim destination of the State.

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The Vaishno Devi Ji shrine and Katra Town of Reasi District witnesses a massive surge of devotees during the nine-day festival of Navratri.  Thousands of devotees from across the country and abroad arrive in Katra, the base camp, for their onward pilgrimage to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine. A pilgrimage to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine during the Navratri is considered most auspicious.  The entire Katra Town is given a new look and the pilgrims are impressed by the religious and festive atmosphere of the place. The entire premises of Mata Vaishno Devi Ji Shrine are illuminated presenting a marvelous look.

This festival is celebrated annually by the government in collaboration with non-government agencies and allied stake holders. It is an opportunity to showcase the rich cultural diversities of J&K state and to publicize various tourist destinations having huge tourism potential.

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This year also during the nine days of the festival various events like inaugural ceremony, shobha Yatra, all India Devotional Songs Competition, Religious Discourses, Cultural Programmes and international Wrestling Competition etc are going to be performed for which various organizational sub-committees have been put in place to make this event a grand success.

The festival will be inaugurated at Katra on October 13, 2015 at Asia Chowk at 11 am by Minister for Health and Medical Education, Ch Lal Singh with lighting of traditional lamp followed by cultural procession upto main chowk, Katra. Shoba yatra (cultural procession) of troupes and tableaux showcasing culture and tradition of the state will commence as per past practice from Asia Chowk at 7 p m from October 14 onwards on all festival days.

All India Devotional Song Competition will commence at 8 p m at Yog Ashram Ground Katra on all days and grand finale will be held on 21st October with a prize of Rs. 2 lakh for the winner.

Song & Drama Division, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, GOI will organize culture programme (Raas Lila) at Higher Secondary School, Katra at 8 pm daily. Besides this, a talent show of differently abled children of Muskan Welfare Foundation (NGO) will be organized.

Bhagwat Katha will be delivered daily at Shri Raghunath Mandir, Katra from 3 pm to 6 pm besides International Wrestling Competition will be held on October 18, 2013 between 12 noon to 6 p m at Multipurpose Sports Stadium, Katra and the wrestlers from England, Belarus, Ukraine and others are likely to contest in the event.

The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board on its part will be undertaking floral decoration of the entrance to the holy cave besides floral decoration of Bhawan, Adhkunwari, Banganga and Darshani Deodi at Katra. Massive painting and repair of physical assets at Katra Bhawan and all along the track have been undertaken. For providing better experience to the pilgrims, Shrine Board has launched a full-fledged sanitation campaign all along the track supported by hundreds of safai karamcharies, volunteers and yatries under Swatch Bharat Abhiyan.

A Shatchandi Yagya shall also be organized over a period of nine days at Bhawan attended by world renowned Vedic Priests and scholars alongwith Priests of Shrine Board culminating in the Purna Ahuti on the last day ofSharad (Autumnal) Navratras.

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