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blog-0290020001413926512.jpgMathura, 2014.10.20 (TOI): Ahead of the five-day Diwali festival beginning on Tuesday, security has been stepped up around temples in the city.

Officials said the district was on alert following inputs from intelligence agencies about terrorist acts during the festival season when lakhs of pilgrims visit the the twin cities of Mathura and Vrindavan. The Sri Krishna Janam Bhoomi complex here has been placed under the watch of National Security Guard. Additional force has been deployed around Vrindavan’s Bankey Bihari temple as well.

However, a senior official termed it “routine” affair for the police. “This is nothing unusual. When you have such big crowds, the government machinery has to be fully prepared and watchful.”

Mathura pandits said Dhan Teras would be observed on Tuesday, followed by “Narak Chaturdashi or Roop Chaudas” on Wednesday, Diwali is on Thursday, Goverdhan puja and Annakoot on Friday followed by Yam Dwitiya on Saturday, when lakhs of brothers and sisters would take a holy dip in river Yamuna and offer prayers Yamraj.

“This is peak festival time. The market places and temples in the Braj region draw lakhs of pilgrims from across the country. The month of Karttik, considered auspicious by devouts, has already attracted a large number of pilgrims for Yamuna snan or holy dip. Three Braj yatras (parikrama) are already underway with thousands of followers participating in them. The concern of district authorities towards security arrangements is understandable,” said Vrindavan’s activist Madhumangal Shukla.

Traffic police both in Vrindavan and Mathura are on their toes as an unusually large number of private vehicles enter the area from Delhi and Haryana. “The Yamuna expressway has made it easier to commute to Vrindavan from Meerut, Ghaziabad and Noida. And with the parikrama season on, there is chaos everywhere,” said Jagannath Poddar of Vrindavan.

The stretch from Mathura to Vrindavan is also packed with vehicles. Within the city, the Holi Gate crossing is perpetually jammed by traffic. “Due to encroachments by shopkeepers and pavement stalls, it is difficult to negotiate vehicles through narrow lanes,” said Ashok Bansal, a local resident.



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