Vaishno Devi pilgrimage resumes after forest fire (Lead)

June 23rd, 2012 - 12:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, June 23 (IANS) Pilgrimage to the Hindu shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi near Jammu resumed Saturday morning after it was suspended due to a forest fire.

The fire broke out Friday evening in the forests near Adhkunwari, six kilometres from the Katra base camp. It started spreading fast and reached close to the trek.

The blaze had stranded a large number of pilgrims.

The inferno was brought under control after hectic efforts of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) and others working in synergy, a board official said. There was no damage to property or injury to any pilgrim.

“The pilgrimage was suspended immediately as precautionary measure for safety of the pilgrimage,” the official added.

There is a heavy rush of pilgrims visiting the famous shrine with about 40,000 arriving in Katra everyday from different parts of the country.

Fire in pine forests of Jammu are common in intense heat conditions.

The shrine, dedicated to Goddess Durga, has three natural rock formation called “pindies”.

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