Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani and Vaishnavi, is a manifestation of Hind Goddess or Durga. The words “Maa” and “Mata” are commonly used for Mothers in Hinduism and these are often used in association with Vaishno Devi.
Vaishno Devi Temple located near the town of Katra, Resai dist.Jammu and Kashmir. The shrine is at a height of 5300 feet from sea level and at distance of approximately 12 kilometers from Katra.
It is from one of the most honored and worship places to visit in India. About 8 million pilgrims (Devotess) visit the temple every year and it is the second most visited religious temple in India, after Tirumala Tirupati Venkateswara Temple. The Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board looks after the maintenance of the holy place. A Train link from Udhampur to Katra is recently completed to facilitate pilgrimage. The Jammu Airport is the nearest airport and has very high flight frequency, and services of all leading domestic airlines are available. This temple contains three idols of Maha Saraswati, Maha Lakshmi, and Maha Kali, which are all images of Vaishno Devi
This holy place is worshiped as a Shakti Peetha which believes its association towards the mythology of Daksha yaga and Sati’s self immolations its origin. Shakti Peethas are shrines enshrined with the presence of Shakti due to the falling of body parts of the corpse of Sati Devi, when Lord Shiva carried it and wandered throughout in sorrow. There are 51 Shakti Peeth linking to the 51 alphabets in Sanskrit. However as per Chandi purana, Vaishno devi is not counted among 52 shakti peethas, this peeth is counted among 64 shakti peetha listed in Devi Bhagwat purana and 108 Shakti Pethas listed in Chandi Purana. The sources claim that vardaayini haath [Blessing Hand] of maa Sati fell here.
Reach Maa Vaishno Devi temple from Katra a small but busy town around 45 km. from Jammu.
From Katra, you have to take the “Yatra Parchi” (Journey Slip) for darshan, then after devotees can proceed to the Bhavan.
The way to Bhavan is vertical and requires a long climbing walk. Alternatively ponies and palanquins [Palkhi] are also available. Helicopter services are also available for a large part of the trip. The Trust offers comfortable stay for pilgrims.
There exist various versions regarding the origin and legend of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji. There seems unanimity on the discovery of Shrine around 700 years back by the Pandit Shridhar, at whose place Mata had helped to arrange a Bhandaara. When she left amidst the Bhandaara to escape Bhairon Nath, Pandit Shridhar is felt as if he has lost everything in his life. He felt in huge grief and gave up the food or even water intake and closed himself in a room of his house, enthusiastically praying for Vaishnavi to reappear.
Then Mata Vaishnavi appeared in his vision (dream) and tells him to search her at the Holy Cave situated on Trikuta Mountain. She show the way to the Holy Cave and insisted Pandit Shridhar to break his fast. Pandit Shridhar then go on to find out the Holy Cave in the mountains. Every time he seems to lose the way, the vision of his dreams reappeared again in his eyes and lastly he reached his objective. In the Caves he found three rock forms with three heads atop it.
At that moment Mata Vaishno Devi appeared before him with all her glory (another version says, the Supreme Energies of Mata Maha Saraswati, Mata Maha Lakshmi and Mata Maha Kali appeared in this Holy Cave) and introduced him to the three heads (now known as the Holy Pindies) of the rock form along with various other identification marks in the Holy Cave. She sanctified him with a gain of four sons and a right to worship her manifestation and asked him to spread out the glory of this Holy temple all over. Pandit Shridhar spent his remaining life in the service of Mata Devi at the Holy Cave.
Best period to visit the Holy shrine
Prefer winter or summertime to visit the Vaishno Devi Holy temple instead monsoon.
The Holy Cave remains open during this period and one may have unique experience during this period. Shrine area residue very cold even in the summertime also hence the temple Trust provides blankets to all pilgrims.
Have a look on the Do’s and Don’ts of this Yatra.
|Do’s Follow The Vaishno Devi Yatra Rule strictly
The Do’s and Don’ts of this Yata also focuses on ensuring that the temple premises isn’t damaged anyway especially the property.
Make sure to wear canvas shoes in the tour for the sake of getting better support to climb. Keep a stick to simplicity the climbing process. These items are available in Katra