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Amid festivity, CS inaugurates Navratra Festival-2023

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JAMMU: Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta, the Chief Secretary of J&K, inaugurated the Navratra Festival 2023 on Sunday. This glittering event took place at Yog Ashram, Katra, and was graced by the presence of dignitaries including Principal Secretary J&K PDCL, H. Rajesh Prasad, Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Ramesh Kumar, DIG Udhampur-Reasi range, Suleman Ch, Director Tourism, Jammu, Vivekanand Rai, CEO Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board Katra, Anshul Garg, Babila Rakwal DC Reasi, Amit Gupta SSP Reasi, Sunaina Sharma Mehta,Joint Director Tourism and other distinguished senior officers.
The inaugural ceremony commenced with a traditional Puja amid chanting of religious mantras, accompanied by a formal reception of all esteemed guests through the presentation of Pagris, Pitambars and Mata ki Chunaries. Renowned artist groups presented a vibrant cultural and devotional program, captivating the audience with their mesmerizing performances. The inauguration also featured the mesmerizing world of Yakshagana, a vibrant theatre art from the coastal Karnataka region,which received warm appreciation from the gathering.
This unique form combines dance, music, dialogue, costumes, make-up and stage techniques, creating a captivating experience.
During his inaugural address, the Chief Guest of the occasion, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta emphasized the Administration’s commitment to providing high-quality services to tourists visiting Katra. He extended his heartfelt congratulations to the local community on the auspicious occasion of Navratras and conveyed warm greetings. He further emphasized that truth always triumphs, and the epic Ramayana beautifully illustrates this timeless lesson.
The Divisional Commissioner Jammu expressed his appreciation for the collective efforts of the Tourism Department, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, District Administration Reasi, Central Bureau of Communication, and all other agencies that contributed to the successful organization of the festival.
Anshul Garg, CEO of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, extended a warm welcome to the guests, emphasizing that Navratras signify the dawn of fresh beginnings and spiritual rejuvenation.
The Navratra Festival, which was initiated in 1996, has evolved into an event of grand proportions. Thousands of people congregate not only to pay their respects to Maa Vaishno Devi Ji but also to partake in the grand festivities. During these Navratras, Katra and Jammu come alive with bright lights, colorful drapes, and the melodious tunes of folk and devotional music.
The main highlights of the nine-day event taking place in Katra from the 15th to the 23rd of October, 2023, include Ramleela, All India Devotional Song Competition, Bhagwat Katha, Prabhat Pheri, Shobha Yatra, Mata Ki Kahani, Laser Show narrating Mata Ki Kahani, Wrestling Competition, Hassaya Vyang and Devotional dances, Kavi Sammelan,Program by Specially abled children among others.
Furthermore, a cultural program and multimedia exhibition organized by the Central Bureau of Communication will be held at Higher Secondary School, Katra, where artists from across India will showcase their diverse art forms.
Beyond Katra, this year the celebrations will extend to Jammu, Udhampur, Samba, and Kathua. Attendees can immerse themselves in the sacred mystique of Mata Ka Jagran, partake in Folk Festivals and witness the grandeur of the Basholi Utsav, a stunning showcase of Ramleela, Art, Culture and Traditions. Don’t miss the chance to marvel at exquisite Basohli paintings and luxuriate in the splendour of Pashmina shawls.
The vote of thanks was presented by Vivekanand Rai, Director Tourism, Jammu, who expressed his gratitude and appreciation to all the stakeholders for their unwavering commitment and overwhelming support.
In addition, the event was graced by esteemed guests, including Rani Jyoti Slathia, ADDC Reasi, Abdul Satar, ADC Reasi, Deepak Dubey, SDM Katra, Vipin Chandran, SP Katra, Dr. Umesh Shan, Deputy Director Tourism, Ajay Salan, Dy.CEO SMVDSB Katra, Abdul Jabbar, Deputy Director Tourism Publicity, and Arif Lone, ADT Katra, as well as Sugandhi Banotra, AD Tourism Jammu and PRIs representatives among other notable dignitaries.

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