Devotees who are coming from outside Jammu and Kashmir to visit the Vaishno Devi Shrine will now require covid-19 negative test report.
According to Ramesh Kumar, CEO, Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, J&K,”All devotees coming from outside J&K for Vaishno Devi Yatra require valid covid-19 negative test report not more than 48 hours older at the time of arrival. Without negative test report, they won’t be allowed for the yatra,” he said
The shrine along with other religious places across the Union Territory reopened for devotees on 16 August after remaining closed for almost five months due to the covid-19 outbreak.
“The government has come out with a detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and the pilgrims are requested to follow the guidelines for their own safety and the safety of others,” Kumar said while inspecting the automatic thermal screening point which along with hand sanitizer was set up along the entry point dotted with circles to ensure social distancing.
“For the ease and comfort of pilgrims, all supplementary facilities set up by the Board like battery operated vehicles, passenger ropeway and helicopter services will ply by strictly following social distancing norms and other precautionary measures,” Kumar added.
Only the pilgrims who have registered themselves online are being allowed to undertake the pilgrimage.
The pilgrims are directed to use traditional routes — from Katra to Bhawan via Banganga, Adhkuwari and Sanjichhat — to reach the shrine and Himkoti route-Tarakote Marg for their return journey.
“The pilgrims, coming from red zones, and outside Jammu and Kashmir would have to undergo COVID-19 test and only those pilgrims with negative reports will be allowed to move towards Bhawan,” Kumar said.
Children below 10 years, pregnant women, persons with comorbidities and those above 60 years have been advised to avoid religious places for the time being