Vaishno Devi yatra remains suspended due to forest fire in Trikuta Hills

vaishno devi

Jammu, May 24: The annual pilgrimage to the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine remained suspended for a second consecutive day on Thursday following a forest fire that broke out in Trikuta Hills of Katra district on Wednesday.

Around 25,000 pilgrims were currently stranded at the Katra base camp for clearance to start the uphill trek to the shrine located in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district. However, helicopter services have resumed, reported news agency IANS.

A massive forest fire broke out in the evening hours of Wednesday in the Trikuta Hills, following which the new battery car track for Vaishno Devi pilgrimage was suspended.

The fire department has deployed helicopters to douse the flames. Trenches were also dug to prevent the fire from spreading out.

Fire tenders were trying to contain the fire and two Mi-17s were put on standby for help in the case of fire going unruly.

Indian Air Force helicopters doused the fire, using under-slung bambi buckets.

Also, a light utility helicopter of Indian Air Force was sent to the recce in Trikuta Hills, according to the Indian Air Force.

“The blaze has been contained to a large extent. For the safety of the pilgrims, the passage to the shrine will only be permitted after the blaze is completely put out,” IANS quoted a police official as saying.

Over two crore pilgrims visit the shrine every year.

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