Vaishno Devi yatra remains suspended due to forest fire in Trikuta Hills

The annual pilgrimage to the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine remained suspended for a second consecutive day on Thursday following a forest fire, police said. Around 25,000 pilgrims were currently stranded at the Katra base camp for clearance to start the uphill trek to the shrine located in Jammu and Kashmirs Reasi district. However, helicopter services have resumed. A huge forest fire broke out yesterday (Wednesday) in the Trikuta Hills, a police official said. The fire department have deployed helicopters to douse the flames. Trenches were also dug to prevent the fire from spreading out. The blaze has been contained to a large extent. For the safety of the pilgrims, the passage to the shrine will only be permitted after the blaze is completely put out, the official added. Over two crore pilgrims visit the shrine every year.