Vaishno Devi Temple is a very Familiar Name in the Hindu families, especially in Northern India. This temple is located on Trikuta hills, a 13 km trek from the hamlet town Katra in Jammu and Kashmir.
Story of Vaishno Devi
According to legends, the story is from Treta Yuga where Earth was ruled by Demons, which made to the creation of the eight-armed Goddess Vaishnavi.
She was a combined power of Gauri, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. She destroyed all evils and requested to stay back on earth to keep earth pure and clean from evil and took birth as a human, named Vaishnavi, later known as Vaishno Devi.
Her journey started as a devotee of Lord Vishnu. During her adulthood, Vaishno Mata performed intense prayers to win Lord Vishnu as her husband.
After some years Vishnu’s incarnation – Lord Rama appeared in front of her and told about himself being already married to SITA, who was taken by Ravan and he was searching for her.
Seeing the immense devotion, Rama Promised her that he will return one day and if she recognizes him, he’ll marry her.
Years Later, one day she met an old man who offered to marry her. But she refused only to realize later that he was Lord Ram. Seeing the devotee shattered Ram gave her blessing that he will again come in Kalyuga as the 10th incarnation of Lord Kalki and marry her.
After Rama left, Vaishnavi continued her meditation and kept on moving to different places and solving problems of people. Soon Vaishno Devi’s name spread all around.
Bhairon Nath‘s Story
The popularity of her threatened the image of a local tantric who sent his disciple named Bhairon Nath to find about her.
Bhairon Nath was stun by her beauty and indecently started following her, resulting in Mata hiding in a cave and continuing her meditation for 9 months.
The demon discovered her hiding spot and tried to force himself upon her. Goddess than appeared in the form of Mahakali and chopped off his head with her sword and the head fall on a distant hilltop.
Bhairav Nath realized her true powers. He begged for forgiveness which was granted by the goddess with a promise that he will be enshrined there and the journey of a devotee is considered complete only after visiting Bhairav Nath temple.
Vaishnavi later returned to the cave and transformed into 3 rocks and is said she resides there to date continuing her meditation.
The Shrine became popular as Vaishno Devi Temple in Devotees.
Important places to visit
The Shrine is a trek of 13 KM from the Base camp of Katra and on the en-route, some of the places which are said to be visited are mentioned along with their resemblance in History.
1. Ban Ganga
This is a river stream, coming from the top of the mountain
This is a also a first checkpoint do try to take a dip in holy water.
2. Charan Paduka
It’s a Temple where you can spot footprints of Vaishno Mata,
As the name suggests Ardhkunwari is halfway for this trek and there is a must-visit cave, Gurbhjoon,
4. Sanjhi chat
Located near Bhavan, this place also has a helipad and is a very famous photo location.
The main Temple of Mata where the sanctum sanctorum is located in a cave,
6. Bhairav Ghati
The Journey is not consider complete if you do not visit this hilltop temple, this temple is located 2Km upwards and for nature and scene lovers this place is a paradise.
How to Reach ?
Nearest Airport – Jammu Airport located 50 Km from Katra.
The nearest Railway station to the Shrine is Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, Katra
Mode to Travel from Katra to Hill Top
- Trek – Best Way to reach (Road and staircase both options)
- Pitthu – to carry small kids during treks
- Helicopter – Quickest Way from Katra to Sanjhi chat Helipad
- Cable Car – from Bhavan to Bhairav Temple
- Upon entering the Jammu your prepaid mobile will stop working, for communications make sure to port on Post-paid.
- Upon visiting the gate, you’ll get a Parchi (registration slip) it is free of cost, but make sure you visit the next checkpoint in 6 hrs and also keep the Parchi handy as it will be checked by guards on the Bhavan entrance.
- No Need to worry about risk of overpaying anywhere as the Shrine board has mentioned all the rates at strategic locations
- Entire trek is well lit and roads with adequate amount of restrooms are available on the way.
- There is no chance to get lost on track as its informative milestones and very supportive locals are always ready to help you.
- Food is available on most locations serving a variety of delicacy, I recommend to must try Rajma Rice
- There are a lot of accommodation options available in Katra and on the Bhavan as well
- Alcohol, Tobacco products and Non Veg are strictly banned on this trek.
- If you are planning to take a helicopter ride, make sure to book in advance.
- After coming back from Vaishno Devi Temple try visiting Katra Market and purchase for your loved ones.
And most important when you are on trek to Vaishno Devi Temple keep chanting Jai Mata Di and feel the inner energy.
Jai Mata Di !!!
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