Painting a beautiful picture, the cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi in Katra received the first snowfall of the season on Sunday (December 27).

The snowfall at the shrine became an extra attraction for the many tourists and pilgrims visiting the holy shrine in Jammu and Kashmir. Along with the pilgrimage, many visitors fulfilled their wishes to encounter a snowfall.

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The popular pilgrimage site in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir opened its doors again on August 16 after staying shut for nearly five months in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has limited the daily number of visitors at the shrine so as to implement strategies and avoid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The administration allows a maximum of 15,000 pilgrims to visit the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi per day. Earlier, the upper limit of the pilgrims allowed to come and pray at the shrine was fixed at 7,000.

Other provisions and facilities like helicopter services, passenger ropeway and battery-operated vehicles are operational for the benefit of the pilgrims that arrive to visit the shrine. Proper social distancing measures, among other restrictions, are being followed to limit the chances of COVID-19 infections.

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For the benefit of the pilgrims, free community kitchens were also in operation at the Prasad Kendra at Sanjichat, the Tarakote Marg, along with other such facilities along the track to the shrine.

The Vaishno Devi shrine is one of the most popular Hindu temples visited by lakhs of pilgrims every year. Many visitors come to offer their prayers during the auspicious occasions of Navratri and Diwali.

The Vaishno Devi shrine is registered under the Jammu and Kashmir Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Act No. XVI/1988 and is administered by a board of nine members. 

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