The Vaishno Devi Temple, an important Hindu shrine dedicated to Vaishno Devi, received 1,800 kgs of gold and over 4,700 kgs of silver from devotees in the last two decades. According to an RTI reply, the temple received a whopping Rs 2,000 crore cash between 2000 and 2020. The RTI was filed by Kumaon-based activist Hemant Gauniya.
The shrine is dedicated to Vaishno Devi. It is located in Katra at the Trikuta Mountains in Jammu. The temple is one of the richest temples in the country. The temple is one of the 108 Shakti Peethas dedicated to Durga, who is worshipped as Vaishno Devi.
The shrine is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in the country. Every year millions of visitors visit the temple. During festivals like Navaratri, the count even increases to one crore visitors.
Meanwhile, the RTI reply also revealed that around 50 lakh people visited the temple in 2000. The number rose to over 1 crore in 2011 and 2012 — highest tourist footfall in the last 20 year.
In 2018 and 2019, 80 lakh people visited the temple. In 2020, only 17 lakh people visited the shrine due to the pandemic, a drop of 78%.
Last year, the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) bagged the first prize in the ‘National Water Awards-2019’ for promotion of water conservation and proper management of water. The award was presented by the Ministry of Jal Shakt.
In 2019, it received the ‘Best Swachh Iconic Place’ award under the initiative of Swachh Bharat Mission, while in 2017, the board received the ‘Special Swachh Iconic Place’ Award under the Swachhta Hi Seva’ campaign.
In another related development, the shrine in September last year announced to begin home delivery of ‘Prasad’ to devotees throughout the country. Devotees can place orders by visiting the website maavaishnodevi.org.
The shrine was closed for devotees after the outbreak of the pandemic. It has now been re-opened for a limited number of devotees on a daily basis. Devotees coming from outside Jammy and Kashmir have to undergo a Covid-19 test before they are allowed to undertake the pilgrimage.