Divisional Commissioner, Jammu (Chairman Navratra Festival Committee), Dr. Raghav Langer, today inaugurated 09 days “Navratra Festival” at Katra being held amid strict adherence to the Covid Safety protocols.The inaugural event was attended by Additional Director General of Police Jammu, Mukesh Singh; Deputy Inspector General of Police Reasi-Udhampur, M. Suleman Choudhary; Joint Director Tourism Jammu, Natasha Kalsotra; SDM Katra, Abhishek Sharma; ASP Katra, Amit Bhasin; Dy. CEO SMVDSB, Deepak Kumar; Dy. Director Tourism Jammu, Naresh Kumar; Chief Executive Officer Katra Development Authority (KDA), Preeti Sharma; Chairman MC Katra, Shashi Bhushan; Vice Chairman MC Katra, Ajay Baru; Assistant Director Tourism, Katra, Ambika Bali and other officers of Tourism and other Departments.In his inaugural address, the Divisional Commissioner appealed to the stakeholders of Tourism Sector to come forward and work in synergy for the revival of the lucrative Tourism Industry and economy of the Union Territory of J&K which has come to stand still due to COVID -19 pandemic.The Festival was organized by the Directorate of Tourism, Jammu in collaboration with Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Katra, District Administration Reasi, Municipal Committee Katra, Regional Outreach Bureau GOI with the active Participation of Local Tourism Trade Industry and stakeholders of Katra, NGOs etc. The Navratra Festival was started in the year 1996 to promote pilgrimage tourism in J&K UT and has now become an annual event which is held during the auspicious nine days of the Sharad Navratras.
The people celebrate Feminine Divinity referred to as Shakti during the auspicious 9-days. In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been decided by the Navratra Festival Committee to celebrate the Festival this year in a simple yet spiritually fulfilling manner by following all COVID-19 protocols.The Festival started with Shobha Yatra from Panchvati Hotel, Katra which culminated at Fountain Chowk where inaugural Rath was decorated with grandeur of Mata Ki Pindies, Kanjaks and audio players. A well decorated Pandal was also erected at Fountain Chowk. The Jhankies and cultural Troupe depicted the rich Folk culture of Union Territory of J&K & the nation. The Jhankies were admired & applauded by the pilgrims visiting the holy shrine. The Gate-way to the Holy Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi ji was illuminated/decorated by the Municipal Committee, Katra and Floriculture Department Reasi to give it a festive look.The Navratra Festival will continue for all the days during the Navratras wherein various programmes for pilgrims/tourists will be held at different venues at Katra like Mata Ki Kahani stage show at Spiritual Growth Centre Katra at 4:00 pm daily, Wrestling Competition on 10th October at SMVDSB Stadium, Devotional Song Performances on 11th and 12th October at Yog Ashram Katra, Cultural programmes and Multimedia Exhibition daily at Higher Secondary School Katra from 8 pm onwards, Hasya sammelan on 12th October at Higher Secondary School Katra, Kavi Sammelan on 11th October 6 pm onwards at Higher Secondary School Katra, Bhagwat Katha daily at Raghunath Temple Katra 4 pm onwards, performance by specially abled children at Spiritual Growth Centre Katra on 13th October, among other events.The Festival is being promoted in a big way by the Tourism Department in collaboration with Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and District Administration, Reasi and with active support of local community, Tour, Travel and Trade Associations, Katra; NGOs etc. This event will give fillip pilgrimage tourism of Katra in particular and in Jammu Province in general.