Jammu, Jan 3 (PTI) The Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir has recorded the highest arrival of pilgrims in the past five years, with nearly 86-lakh devotees visiting the temple in 2018. There has been an increase of more than four-lakh pilgrims last year when as many as 85,86,541 pilgrims visited the cave shrine as compared to 81.78 lakh the preceding year. The number of pilgrims in 2016 was 81.73 lakh, officials of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board said.
The arrival of pilgrims in the shrine, located in Reasi district, is the highest in the past five years. It had dropped from 93.24 lakh in 2013 to 78.03 lakh in 2014, and further to 77.77 lakh in 2015 and 77.24 lakh in 2016, the officials added. In 1986, when the board took over the affairs of the shrine for better management, the annual footfall was around 14 lakh. Since then, there has been a steady increase every year, with the number of pilgrims touching an all-time high of 1.05 crore in 2012, the board officials said.