Vaishno Devi Shrine >>
Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine
Katra, 61-km From Jammu, J&K
March-April And September-October
Best time to travel
March to July
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi
Shrine is one of the oldest shrine of India, located
at a height of 5300 feet on the holy Trikuta Hills of the Shivalik Hill Range.
The Holy cave is 13 Kms from the Base Camp Katra. The Town Katra is 50 Km away
from Jammu and 35 Kms from District HQ Udhampur and is linked by road. The Mata
Vaishno Devi Shrine is one of the most popular Shrines of India. Faith has moved
mountains. From a cave shrine tucked away deep in the the Trikuta Mountains of
Kashmir to a bustling religuous centre, the call of Mata Vaishno Devi has drawn
and converted many a non-believer. The Goddess Vaishno Devi's abode is in 100
feet long cave with a narrow opening. The holy cold and crystal clear water
washes the lotus feet of the Mata's "Pindian". There are three natural pindies
representing Maha Sarswati, Maha Lakshmi, Maha Kali, which represent creative,
preservative, and destructive aspects of the Super Power. It is an ancient
shrine whose reference is found in the Vedas and ancient scriptures.
History of Vaishno
'Vaishnavi' means the one who
is related to lord "Vishnu''. Goddess Vaishnavi is the manifestation of the
collective spiritual strengths of Mata Maha Kali, Mata Maha Lakshmi and Mata
Maha Saraswati. It is described in Durga Sapatshati that the goddess was born as
a young girl of extraordinary beauty and strength, out of the collectively
pooled 'Tejas' of various 'Devtas' and three lords Brahma, Vishnu and Shankar.
The immediate purpose of the
creation of the goddess was the annihilation of Asura (Devil) Mahishasura.
However another purpose of her creation was that she might usher on earth an era
of pious and ascetic life so that the peace could prevail upon the world and she
through her penance could rise to higher levels of spirituality and ultimately
merge with Vishnu. According to a legend the holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi
was discovered by a Brahmin, Pandit Sridhar about a thousand years ago. He used
to live in Hansali village at the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains. One day,
as he was grazing cattle, he met a beautiful child, Vaishnavi, on the hills. She
urged him to call the people of his village to a feast. By mid-day when his
guests arrived he had still not made arrangements for any provisions.
Other Shrine at
Vaishno Devi Shrine
At Darshani Darwaza, 1-km from Katra, the Goddess disappeared. This place is
called Darsani Darwaza because the Trikut mountain is visible from here Tikuta
Parvat is three high peaks that are the abodes of the Goddess Vaishno Devi.
Ban Ganga Temple:
After the Goddess left the Bhumika Temple, she went to the Trikuta Hills passing
through here. At this time, Langoor Vir (Veer Langur) felt thirsty. The Goddess
shot an arrow into the stone and a holy river was produced, now known as Ban
Ganga. It is called Ban Ganga because the Goddess washed her hair at this place.
Most pilgrims take bath here. You must show the slip you got near the Bus Stand
in Katra to pass this point. Ban Ganga is about 3-km from Katra.
The Bhairon (Bhairav)
This temple is about 2.5-km from Vaishno Devi cave at about 6,700 feet. It is
traditional to visit this temple after visiting the Vaishno Devi Temple. Bhairon
(Bhairav) was absolved of all sins when Durga killed him.
When Bhairon was killed by the Goddess his head flew to this place. There is a
huge stone outside the cave that represents the body of Bhairon. After he was
killed, her prayed to the Goddess to forgive him. It is said that the Goddess.
How to Reach There
The nearest airport is in Jammu, which is 48-km from Katra. There is a
helicopter service that departs from the airport at Sanjhi Chat in Jammu in the
The nearest railway station is in Jammu, which is well connected to all the
major cities in India.
There are regular buses leaving for the 52-km trip from the central bus stand in
Jammu to where the road ends at Katra (2 hr). Walking From Katra it is a steep
13-km walk. You can rent a horse or be carried up from Katra. You can go up to
the cave and back in the same day. It takes about 4 hours to climb up and 3
hours to come down. Pilgrims must get a Yatra- Slip from the tourist reception
center near the bus stand in Katra to get pass Ban Ganga. It is Hard climb to
You must pass through Katra to get to Vaishno Devi. It is where the road ends.
There is an ISKCON temple (01991-33047)in Katra. It is located at the Kalka Mata
Mandir, opposite the petrol pump. The Kalka Mata Mandir is an ancient Siva and
Kali temple which has been put under the care of ISKCON. The deities are said to
be self-manifested. This temple is visited by many pilgrims. Construction has
begun on a temple and large guest house here.
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