Paid entry at Vaishno Devi Shrine being reviewed

June 5th, 2008 - 12:38 am ICT by IANS  

Jammu, June 4 (IANS) The proposal to charge pilgrims for a quicker entry at the Vaishno Devi cave shrine in Jammu and Kashmir is under examination following widespread criticism. The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, which manages the shrine, has received a series of representations from various organisations asking it to do away with the system of charging fees ranging from Rs.200 to Rs.1,000 for various categories of early darshan.

The board in a clarification issued Wednesday said it was examining various representations received from religious organisations and other groups and the issue would be reviewed after it receives a report from its officials studying the pattern of the regulation of the pilgrims.

A board spokesman said the term “paid darshan” was a misnomer and, in fact, it was “an experiment to further regulate the pilgrimage”.

The Vaishno Devi shrine in trikuta hills in Jammu region, about 60 km from here, currently attracts about 30,000 pilgrims daily and more than 7.5 million pilgrims annually.

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