Influx of tourists declining in flood-ravaged J&K

Jammu: The inflow of tourists has drastically come down in Jammu and Kashmir in the last few weeks owing to the devastation caused by floods.
There is a particular fear in the minds of pilgrims planning to undertake the pilgrimage to the Vaishno Devi shrine during busy Hindu festival season. The number of pilgrims has dropped.
Floods have also shattered the hopes of small and big businessmen. People associated with the tourism industry, however, are hopeful of making some recovery.
Katra is a small town in Reasi District and is situated at the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains, where the Vaishno Devi shrine is located.
Businessman Harshad said, “Due to the floods, the pilgrimage here has been affected. There are very few pilgrims and the business community is worried.”
Navratri, which comes before the festival of Dusshera is a period of fasting for devout Hindus and is followed by joy and celebrations across India.
The nine-day-long Navratri Festival is dedicated to the nine forms of Mother Goddess Durga. It is believed that during Navratri, the goddess descends to earth to rid it of demons and bless her devoute subjects with happiness and prosperity.
Gujarat-based devotee Raju Bhai said, “I am coming here since last 22 years in every Navratri. This year due to the floods I can experience the rush here is less.”
The floods have badly affected the tourism industry and disrupted the lives of more than 75,000 people in Srinagar alone.
Over 200,000 people have been rescued so far and communication networks have also been partially restored.
The Indian Army has deployed about 30,000 troops for rescue and relief operations, and its soldiers have distributed 2,24,000 litres of water and food to survivors.

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