Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Nirmal Kumar Singh lighted the sacred Jyoti on the ninth day of 22nd Navratra Festival that culminated here at the base camp of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi on Friday.
As a part of culmination ceremony, an attractive Shobha Yatra depicting rich cultural heritage of the state amidst spiritual ambience was also taken out from Asia crossing in which Dr. Singh along with dignitaries and pilgrims participated. The procession finally culminated at bus stand after taking round of the old market.
The congregations witnessed participation of large number of pilgrims flocking from many parts of the country who were also seen dancing on the shrilling voices of flutes and drums besides other instruments blowing high to recreate devotional taste and spiritual feelings in the devotees.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Singh greeted the people on Mahanavami and Dussehra and said that such festivals provides an opportunity to the local people and pilgrims from various corners of the country to have a glimpse of rich cultural heritage of the state.
Over basic facilities for the holy town, Dr. Singh said that government is taking all possible measures to develop requisite infrastructure for tourist sites of Shiv Khori, Baba Jitto and all other historic locations. He said the Katra town has been included in the list of iconic cities. He asked the tourism department to introduce attractive and innovative things to Navratra festival.
Describing festivals as means to promote the essence of secularism, mutual brotherhood and unity, the Deputy Chief Minister said that the government would take all conducive steps to promote the tradition of festivals in the state so that tourists footfall increases and cultural ideals of our society are kept alive.
Earlier, Dr. Singh also witnessed the popular show of Baba Jitto organised by Natrang Jammu at Spiritual Growth Center. He appreciated artists for designing and presenting such a stunning live performance of Baba Jitto.
Speaking on the occasion, he recalled the efforts of renowned writers Prof. Ram Nath Shashtri and Shiv Narmoi for keeping alive the dogra culture through their writings. He said that such theatric presentations play key role in drawing out the real value and essence of culture and becomes powerful medium to preserve our rich cultural heritage.
Ajay Nanda also extended warm wishes to the people on the occasion of last Navratra and Mahanavami He appreciated the tourism and Shrine board for this grand event.
Minister of State for Finance and Planning Ajay Nanda, Deputy Commissioner Reasi Prasana Ramaswamy G, SDM Katra Neelam Khajuria and officers of tourism and other concerned departments also present on the occasion.