Jammu and Kashmir Bank Chairman and CEO Parvez Ahmed today inaugurated the All India Devotional Song Competition as a part of Navratra Festival 2018 at Yog Ashram Complex Katra by lighting a traditional lamp in presence of Director J&K Bank D.K Pandoh, Chairman Devotional Song Committee & President Hotel Association Katra Rakesh Wazir.
The function was attended by Chairman PHDCCI Vikrant Kuthiala, Yog Acharya Swami Yoganand, Celebrity singer Diljaan from Bollywood, SDM Katra Ashok Sharma, CRPF Commandant Jitender Gupta, CEO Katra Development Authority Jagdish Mehra, and Addl. SP Naresh Singh.
Chairman Parvez Ahmed, who was also Chief Guest on the occasion, wished everyone on the commencement of Navratra Festival and said that the holy days teach us to observe restraint not only through fasting but also in thoughts and actions thereby purifying mind, body, and soul.
He appreciated the efforts of the Shrine Board, Tourism Department and all other stakeholders for grand preparations for an impeccable organization of the festival every year.
He said that the consistent efforts of the Shrine Board have placed the holy town of Katra on the world map as an important destination.
Chairman asserted, “Tourism is the backbone of the state economy and through this forum I urge upon all stakeholders to explore opportunities and create a complete pilgrimage circuit wherein the pilgrims visiting the holy Katra Shrine can be connected to various other places/temples which are still hidden gems in adjoining areas of the state to offer a holistic pilgrim tour across Udhampur, Doda, Kishtwar and other districts.
“Tourism in J&K can be explored in various specialties such as Pilgrim Tourism, Wellness Tourism, Adventure Tourism and much more to realise its true potential. Besides, offering a travel experience like none-other-state to millions of visitors each year will create more employment opportunities for the people of J&K.”
“The devotional song competition event hosts contestants from across the country, who go through different stages of the competition to prove their mettle in the field of singing. It also brings together the most renowned artists and provides a platform to explore the new talent in the field of singing and creating a profound experience for all the pilgrims. As I see a lot of youngsters here, I believe that these celebrations are a perfect way of depicting our traditions and presenting them in novel ways to acquaint the new generation about our rich culture and beliefs”, he added.
Later, while interacting with the media Parvez Ahmed said that the bank’s branches at Vaishnodevi Bhawan and enroute are made to function beyond banking hours to facilitate the pilgrims without commercial considerations. The Bank, he said, was keen to use its pan India footprint to provide registration facilities to the Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims on the lines of Amarnath Yatris to give a further boost to the pilgrim tourism in J&K.
On the first day of the preliminary round of competition, Sushmita from Jammu got 1st position and Khushi Shubh from Chamba Himachal Pradesh came 2nd while as the 3rd position was held by Sumit Bhalla and Mohinder Soni from Jammu.
Chief Guest distributed cash prizes among the 10 auditioned participants, 4 of whom were from outside J&K and 6 from within the state.
The celebrity singers enthralled the audience on the occasion with their spiritual songs.