- 9 Sep, 2023
- By chand.v
Prior to the take over of the Shrine by the Shrine Board, the scene in the area encompassing Bhawan was a chaotic one. The whole complex was lined with ugly structures housing a few shops. Ponies also lined up at the same place, adding to the already congested vista. Since the Bhawan complex housed the sanctum sanctorum and was obviously the hub of all activity, one of the the first steps taken by the Shrine Board was the shifting of old dilapidated and congested structures to a new and modern Shopping Complex constructed a little short of Bhawan. In addition, the Bhawan area was widened and tiles were laid in in order to give it an open and comfortable look.
To increase the capacity of clearance, a new artificial tunnel was constructed in tandem with the already available tunnel. This resulted in the creation of a one way circuit , thus adding considerably to the maximum clearance capacity. Thus, without compromising with the satisfaction level of the visiting pilgrims, more number of pilgrims were able to have Darrshans in a single day and the waiting period was also reduced.
Providing of adequate number of Cloak Rooms, Blanket Stores, construction of a new Bathing Ghat and renovation of the old Bathing Ghat , construction of additional accommodation, installation of a modern laundry plant etc. were some of the other developments for the benefit of the pilgrims undertaken by the Board in the first few years of its incorporation. Later, televisions sets were installed at various locations in the Bhawan complex. These are now being used to relay live the Atka Arti in the Holy Cave as well as Darshans of the Holy Pindies. Closed Circuit cameras have been installed inside the cave to offer to the pilgrims a view of activities inside the Sanctum Sanctorum while they wait for their turn for Darshans.
Improvements in the Atka area and Sanctum Sanctorum areas and the new gold decoration of the Holy Pindies were other major milestones in the development of the Bhawan area. Another accommodation complex called Manokamna Bhawan (I, II) with a restaurant and dormitory accommodation stands operationalised and construction of Parvati Bhawan is in advanced stage.
To further regulate the Yatra and strengthen the security in the area troops of the local police and the paramilitary along with the Security wing of SMVDSB have been deployed. In addition, X-Ray Baggage Inspection Systems and Metal Detectors have been provided, to ensure the adequate security of the Shrine and the visiting pilgrims.
Hence, a complete transformation of the area has been brought about. In fact, the very intention of takeover of the Shrine was to make best use of the donations and other incomes to make the Shrine as well as track from Katra to Bhawan, one of the most beautiful and serene spots of the country with proper roads, walkways, illumination, arrangements for drinking water, sanitation and sewage etc. However, the massive developmental activity has not led to any complacency and developmental works are still on.