Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Navratra Festival at Katra 2011

Div Com inaugurates Navratra Festival at Katra

The 8-day Navrata Festival-2011 took to a colorful start with Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Dr. Pawan Kotwal inaugurating the mega event at the base camp of the holy cave shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji, by lighting the sacred Jyoti.

The Navratra Festival, 16th in the series, is being organized by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) and Tourism Department in collaboration with the District Administration, Reasi and local organizations.

As a part of the inaugural ceremony, a colourful Shobha Yatra depicting rich cultural heritage of the State was taken out from Asia Crossing to bus stand.

Extending greetings to the people in general and pilgrims in particular on holy Navratras, the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, who is also the chairman of Navratra Festival Celebration Committee, said that the Navratra Festival Katra is gaining new heights with every passing year. The Festival provides an opportunity to the visiting yatris from various corners of the country and abroad to have a glimpse of our rich cultural heritage and peaceful co-existence of people of different faiths.

Dr Kotwal said the Navratras have a special significance as the sacred Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji attracts a huge number of pilgrims within and outside the country. With the increasing influx of yatris, efforts are being made to upgrade the basic facilities for visiting pilgrims and local populace of Katra, he said and added that recently sanctioned water supply scheme for the Katra town is a step forward in this direction.

Additional Chief Executive Officer, SMVDSB, Katra, Dr. M.K. Bhandari while speaking on the occasion hoped that the number of devotees would cross last year's record mark and expected to reach one crore this year, adding that the yatra has shown an increase of 11 lakh till date. He said that Navratra Festival would go a long way in attracting the pilgrims from different locations of the country and abroad to the holy cave shrine and further help in boosting pilgrim tourism in the State.

Deputy Commissioner Reasi, P.K. Pole also spoke on the occasion and complimented the people on the occasion of holy Navratras.

As part of the Festival, cultural procession will be taken out from Asia Chowk at 7 p.m., All India Devotional Song Competition will be held at Shri Yog Ashram Air Strip, Katra at 8 p.m. and cultural programme will be arranged by the Song and Drama Division at GHSS, Katra at 8.30 p.m. daily.

Similarly religious discourses on the Ramayana and Bhagwat Gita will be held at Raghunath Mandir from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and International wrestling competition will be held at Multipurpose Sports Stadium, Katra on October, 2 from 2 pm to 6 p.m.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Udhampur-Reasi Range, Jagjit Kumar, Director Tourism, Jammu, R.S. Mehta, SSP Reasi, K. R. Chourisa, Additional SP Katra, Mohan Lal, Joint Director Information, Jammu, Soujanya Sharma, Dy. CEO SMVDSB Katra, Rash Paul Singh, Deputy Director Tourism, Arvind Kotwal, senior officers of district administration, Ex- Minister, Jagjeevan Lal, members of Navratra Celebration Committee, Katra including Shyam Kesar, Rakesh Wazir Shiv Kumar Sharma, Surinder Khajuria, Sardari Lal Dubey, Ambrish Magotra, Verinder Kesar, R.S. Manhas, other members and prominent persons were present on the occasion.

Meanwhile, a heritage walk was flagged off from Ambaran Monastery to Jeo Pota Ghat in which a large number of school children including NCC cadets took part.

The heritage walk jointly organized by the Department of Tourism and district administration Jammu was flagged off by Sub Divisional Magistrate Akhnoor Sushma Chauhan.

The school children drawn from Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Akhnoor, and Government Boys Higher Secondary School Akhnoor took part in the walk.

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