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Fire on road to Vaishno Devi shrine

     Katra: About 40 shops on way to the Vaishno Devi hill shrine in Jammu and Kashmir caught fire halting the pilgrimage for about four hours. The estimated loss runs into millions of rupees. There were many shops selling holy offerings, photographs and food in the market. Fire spread to several shops due to strong wind and cylinder explosions in the food and tea shops. Fire broke out in between the pilgrimage lane, a far too narrow path for fire brigade to reach the spot. Pilgrims and shop owners believe that it suddenly began to rain with blessings of goddess and the flames blew over. Two persons were reportedly injured in the fire. The eyewitnesses attributed fire to short circuit in a shop. Vaishno Devi, temple of Hindu Mother Goddess on the Shivalik range of the majestic Himalayas attracts millions of devotees and pilgrims round the year. Perched atop Trikuta hills at a height of 1,700 meters above sea level, Mata Vaishno devi shrine is held in high esteem among Hindus all over the country. It attracts more than three million pilgrims every year, particularly during summers and is a huge revenue source for the state.
-May 20, 2009


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