Update: Respecting popular demand, the shrine dropped all sort of paid darshans.
The shrine board refers to paid darshan as a tatkal system and is limited to 1000 devotees per day.
- A traditional ‘mata ki aarti’ can be organized inside the sanctum sanctorum at Rs 1000 in the morning
- Skip the long queue and have a darshan of the deity from the Bathing Gate (gate No 2) for Rs 500 per person,
- For darshan through gate no 5 it is Rs 200.
- The paid darshan is also available to pilgrim groups
Several organizations have protested against the paid darshan stating that it will only help the rich.
The shrine board has defended the paid system by saying that it will help those people who have a hectic schedule and want to finish of the darshan in a hurry.
No idea, why such people who are in a hurry visit shrines. Such shortcuts, bought using money power, disturb millions of poor Hindus who stand in long winding queues.
Some might suggest to ignore it, by saying that Vaishno Devi lives in the heart of the people. Or quote Vedanta saying that everything is Brahman and visiting or not visiting a shrine is a non-issue.
All these excuses cannot satisfy a poor villager who spends all his fortune to have a personal conversation with Vaishno Devi. He is not demanding any special treatment, all that he wants is at least not to discriminate him at the abode of Vasihno Devi in the name of money.