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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 28, 2007
Vaishno Devi devotees promise business boom in Katra
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Vaishno Devi devotees promise business boom in Katra

Hindus holiest shine Vaishno Devi near Jammu is witnessing a sharp increase in the number of pilgrims. The local traders and hoteliers anticipate a business boom in the days ahead.

By Suminder

Katra (Jammu), May 28 : Hindus' holiest shine Vaishno Devi near Jammu is witnessing a sharp increase in the number of pilgrims. The local traders and hoteliers anticipate a business boom in the days ahead.

Located in the Trikuta hills of the Shivalik hill range, the Vaishno Devi Shrine near Katra, 45 Kilometers from Jammu city, draws millions of pilgrims and tourists to the Jammu and Kashmir region.

The huge arrival of people from across the country strengthens Jammu and Kashmir's tourism sector besides benefiting the local traders and hoteliers from pilgrims visiting the Katra town.

Over 70 Lakh pilgrims visited the Vaishno Devi shrine in 2006-07, people arriving here during the corresponding period in the previous year was around 50 lakh.

"This year with over 30,000 devotees have been visiting the holy shrine every day, Katra is bustling with economic activities and the trend is likely to pick up, as the tourist season touches its peak during the summer vacation ( June-July)," said Deshraj Sharma, President Dry Fruit Association.

With increase in the number of pilgrims this season, there has been a boost in trade and business.

To prepare for the high influx of pilgrims to the Vaishno Devi shrine throughout the year, the hotel industry at Katra, the base camp for the pilgrims, is undergoing major development. Many luxury hotels are under construction and Katra is steadily undergoing a makeover.

"This season has seen a big growth. The development is evident in Katra. A large number of good hotels including five-star hotels have come up. New handicraft showrooms and, dry fruit outlets, is a result of trade expansion with growing number of pilgrims," said Shyam Kesar, President Hotel Industries Association.

Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation are also offering cheaper lodgings to the pilgrims.

Pilgrims as well as locals traders are happy with the attention Jammu and Kashmir government is paying to the region, said Mohammad Aslam, a potter.

"We are very happy. Katra maintains complete communal harmony. Both Hindus and Muslims live peacefully here. As the number of devotees has increased lately, everyone is getting benefit. We have all facilities here," Aslam added.

Setting aside personal religious faiths, individuals belonging to varying caste and creed throng the holy shrine located inside a cave in the Shivalik hill range.

The State tourism department is making all attempts to develop Katra and nearby places like Agar Jitto, Nau Pindias, Baba Dhansar, Dera Baba Banda, Reasi and Siarh water falls.


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