Amid tight security arrangements, officials said that over 1.76 lakh pilgrims had visited the famous cave shrine of Vaishno Devi during the first six days of the ‘Navratri’ festival in Katra town.

Located 42 kilometres from the winter capital, Jammu, along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, Katra — the base camp for the pilgrims — was decked up to welcome devotees from across the country abroad.

During the past six days, officials said that 1,76,174 pilgrims had visited the shrine atop Trikuta hills after trekking 12 kilometres from the base camp.

The highest 37,381 pilgrims visited the cave shrine on the first day of ‘Navratra’ on April 2, followed by 33,340 on the second Navratra, 29,078 on the 3rd, 27,302 on 4th, 29,078 on the 5th and over 20,000 on the 6th day, they said.

On average, over 27,000 pilgrims visit the cave shrine daily amid strict monitoring by the authorities to avoid the rush.
On Sunday, the nine-day festival will conclude with ‘Purna Ahuti’ on ‘Mahanavami’.

Arrangements were in place to control the flow of thousands of pilgrims to avoid any untoward incident, as the chilling memories of the stampede on the New Year here, which claimed 12 lives, are still afresh.