KATRA, MAY 8- Governor N.N. Vohra, Chairman of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) reviewed the completion of new track to Shrine, called “Tarakote Marg” with Sh. Umang Narula, Chief Executive Officer; Dr. M. K. Kumar, Addl. Chief Executive Officer; Sh. Anshul Garg, Additional CEO, SMVDSB; Sh. M.M. Gupta, Chief Engineer and other concerned officers in a teleconferencing meeting at Raj Bhavan, Srinagar today.

It may be recalled that keeping in view the progressively increasing pilgrimage to the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine, the Board had approved in February 2011 Governor Vohra’s proposal to construct an alternate track between Banganga and Adhkuwari, to decongest the rush of pilgrims on the existing 6 Km track from Banganga to  Adhkuwari and besides provide a pony free route from Katra to Bhawan, which is exclusively meant for use by Yatris who walk to the Shrine.

The alternate 7 km track which is 6 meter wide, has an comfortable gradient, and very attractive wayside amenities. The Tarakote Marg provides the pedestrian pilgrims a cleaner and scenic route which has 2 Bhojanalayas, 4 View Points and 7 Toilet Blocks. The toilet blocks have been provided with facilities for the convenience of elderly pilgrims and for the specially-abled.

A medical unit fully equipped with doctors, paramedics, medicines and equipment has been established to facilitate the pilgrims on 24×7 basis.

The entire track is based on a ramp type design, without any steps and has an average and smooth gradient of one in 12 which, with interlocking antiskid tiles, makes it easier for walking.  The entire track has been aesthetically landscaped and over 46000 ornamental plants, herbs, flowering and avenue trees have been planted to improve the ambience of the track and three floating fountains have been installed in water bodies along the track.

The track is illuminated with 500 energy efficient LED lights beside DG sets have been installed for ensuring round the clock power supply. To provide high quality filtered drinking water free of cost to the pilgrims, 16 Water ATMs have been installed on the Tarakote Marg at approximate intervals of 400-500 meters.

Almost the entire track has been covered with blue-roofed sturdy shelter sheds for the safety of pilgrims against shooting stones and for protecting them from rain and sunshine. The shelter sheds have been got specially designed by IIT Roorkee and a welded mesh fence has been erected all along the track to ensure against children or aged pilgrims meeting any accident on the hill slopes.

Identified vulnerable spots have been treated for slope stabilisation to ensure the safety of the pilgrims from shooting stones and landslides. The interventions undertaken for slope stabilisation include cladding, cement pressure grouting, high tensile wire mesh, gabions and construct debris flow barriers etc.

Governor Vohra, who has been monitoring the completion of this new track on a daily basis, has travelled on the Tarakote Marg several times to review the nature of services to be provided at the wayside facilities for the pilgrims. At the request of the business community and local residents of Katra and Purana Daroor the Tarakote Marg has been linked with the existing Banganga – Adhkuwari track at a point which takes off near Gulshan Langar. The 1.5 km link road provides the Yatris the choice of walking on the existing Banganga – Adhkuwari track or on the purely pedestrian Tarakote Marg, once they have crossed the Darshani Deodi.

At the request of Governor N.N. Vohra, Chairman of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Sh. Narendra Modi, has very kindly agreed to formally inaugurate the Tarakote Marg on 19th May, 2018.

Sh. Narula, CEO, has invited pilgrims to start using the Tarakote Marg from the morning of 13th May, 2018 for their forward and return journeys and get a taste of walking on the beautiful new track.