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Tirupati Balaji temple in Jammu opens door to pilgrims; will give boost to spiritual tourism, says LG Manoj Sinha

JAMMU: The second temple of Sri Venkateshwara (Tirupati Balaji) in northern India was thrown open Thursday to people in the picturesque Shivalik forests in the Majeen area of Sidhra on the outskirts of Jammu city.

Constructed at Rs 33.22 crore over 62 acres of land on a similar pattern to the famous temple of Tirupati Balaji in the hill town Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh, the temple is the sixth built by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) outside the southern state - Hyderabad, Chennai, Bhubaneswar, Kanyakumari and Delhi being the others. It is also one of the biggest temples in Jammu.

Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, accompanied by Union Minister of State in the PMO Dr Jitendra Singh, dedicated the temple to the public amidst the chanting of religious mantras and the beating of nagaras in the morning.

"The dedication of Lord Venkateswara temple will strengthen religious tourism circuit in J&K, give a boost to spiritual tourism and a major fillip to the economic development and employment opportunities in the Union Territory," L-G Sinha said.

"Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Shri Kailakh Jyotish & Vedic Sansthan and many other organizations are making immense contribution to promote Vedic culture & traditions. I am confident Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams will develop a Ved Pathshala & health Centre on priority," he added.

Apart from several pilgrimage facilities like amenities complex and kalyana mandapam (wedding stage), the project offers educational and developmental infrastructure like veda pathshala (Vedic teaching classrooms), hostel building and staff quarters.

From the first entrance to the sanctum sanctorum and a gold-plated tower, the temple is the replica of the original Tirupati Balaji temple in Tirumala, built following the Dravidian style of architecture. However, some works within the temple premises are still in progress.

The opening of Tirupati Balaji temple brought cheers among the local people, especially traders and those associated with tourism, who had fallen on bad times over the years. Most of the over one crore Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims earlier used to spend a day or two in Majeen before proceeding to Katra by road, providing earnings to local shopkeepers and taxi operators. However, after linking Katra through a railway line with the rest of the country in 2014, most pilgrims started going directly there.



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