Unable to visit Vaishno Devi this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Now you can book your puja online and local priests will offer it on you and your family’s behalf. Also, get prasad delivered at your doorsteps. All you have to do is visit Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board’s (SMVDSB) website and request a puja. According to Ramesh Kumar Jangid, the Chief Operating Officer of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, booking for puja and prasad can be done on their website.

“Three packages are available — priced at Rs 500, Rs 1,100 and Rs 2,100. When a devotee makes a booking, a puja is performed in the family’s name and prasad is packed. We’ve made an arrangement with the Postal Department for dispatching it within 72 hours.” As per the SMVDSB website, the Rs 2,100 package provides Category A Individual Poojan, under which prayers will be offered to the Goddess “in the name of the person(s) for/by whom Pooja has been registered”. It adds the puja can be booked for any day.

SMVDSB is devising new methods so that devotees who are unable to take nearly 12-kilometer trek to the Holy Cave can still have the Darshan while sitting at home. In Jammu and Kashmir, there are 18,199 active cases of COVID-19 and 1,132 deaths reported until September 27, said the Department of Information and Public Relations.

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Since the inception of the Shrine Board in the year 1986, there has been a steadfast increase in the pilgrims’ visit (Yatra) to the holy shrine, however, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it witnessed a significant decline this year. The Yatra was resumed on 16 August initially with a ceiling of 5,000 pilgrims per day with the safety procedures. (ANI)