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Vaishnodevi pilgrimage on despite snowfall
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March 15, 2007 14:55 IST

The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway may be closed for the fifth successive day due to snowfall, but the pilgrimage to the Vaishnodevi shrine remains unaffected.

The Border Roads Organization, which maintains the highway, has pressed its men and machine on a round-the-clock basis to clear the debris at Panthal, 160 km from Jammu, officials said, adding that over 3,000 passengers are stranded at different places on the highway and are being provided food and shelter by the authorities in school buildings and other places.

The pilgrimage to Vaishnodevi shrine was progressing smoothly and over 25,000 devotees have had their 'darshan' so far. All facilities have been restored despite more snowfall on Wednesday night in the Bhairon Ghati areas near the shrine, Puneet Kumar, additional chief executive officer of Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board, told PTI.

He also asked the pilgrims to carry warm clothes and raincoats along with them.

The yatra is going through the old route as the new route has not yet been opened, he added.

Meanwhile, the bodies of five pilgrims, who froze to death en route to the shrine on March 13, were handed over to their relatives.

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