Heli service from Jammu to Vaishno Devi shrine from June 18, says CEO SMVDB

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Jammu: Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board is mulling a direct helicopter service from Jammu Airport to the Panchhi helipad near the shrine in Trikuta Hills of Katra, Reasi from June 18.

As per official sources, private players namely Himalayan Heli Services and Global Vectra Helicopter will operate regular sorties for the pilgrims, who availed package for travelling direct from Jammu towards Bhawan.

Officials said that initially two packages have been available for the pilgrims, which include same day return and night halt at Bhawan, which in future are likely to be made available for everyone.

“Right now two packages are available for the pilgrims, who wish to avail the service from Jammu. This includes same day return and night halt,” said the official.

The officer said that for same day return to Jammu, pilgrim has to pay Rs 35,000 per person for helicopter journey and will also get other services included Priority Darshans at Bhawan and Bhario Mandir, Ropeway tickets for Bhairomandir, Transport from Bhawan to Helipad and vice-versa meals and Panchmeva Parshad.

For a night halt at Bhawan, the pilgrim has to shell out Rs 60,000 and will get an additional facility of Shradha Suman Vishesh Puja (SSVP) and an AC room at Bhawan.

Chief executive Officer, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board Anshul Garg confirmed that development. He said that the facility will start from June 18 and booking details available on Shrine Board’s website www.maavaishnodevi.org

He said earlier Katra Bhawan heli service is regular and chartered flights operate for Bhawan from Jammu on irregular basis, which we tried to structure and give pilgrims an option to directly book service from Jammu.

He said that this move comes as part of shrine boards’ continued endeavours to streamline the pilgrimage and provide better facilities.

Last year, shrine board hiked helicopter service charges between Katra and Sanjhi-Chhat to 4,200 from 3,640.

Earlier, on the occasion of World Environment Day, the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) has introduced an eco-friendly practice of distributing plants as souvenirs to devotees.

Shrine board also operates a free langar (community kitchen) for the pilgrims at Bhairon Ghati, Tarakote Marg and Sanji Chhat—(KNO)

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