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tourism is Mata vaishno devi. The shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi
is one of the most visited pilgrim sites in India. Situated at a height
of 5, 300 ft., the site is located inside a cave in a hill. One of the most visited
pilgrim sites in India, the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi
in a cave, amidst the folds of the Trikuta Bhagwati hill at a height of 5, 300 ft.,
in the state of
(J & K). This cave temple is at a distance of 61 kms from
and the last 13 kms of the way have to
be negotiated on foot by the yatris, as the devotees are called. Once at the entrance
to the cave, the path turns into a narrow tunnel with a cold stream named the Charan
Ganga running through it. The pilgrim has to wade through this to reach the sanctum
The holy cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi
in a beautiful recess of the Trikuta Mountains forming a part of the lower Himalayas.
It is located 61 km north of Jammu
at a height of 5,200 feet
above the sea level in the state of Jammu
. In the cave
there are images of three deities viz. the Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati.
Mata Vaishno Dev
i shrine is nestled in the Trikuta Mountain. It lies 61
km north ofJammu
in the northern state ofJammu
at a height of 5,200 feet above the sea level, Mata VaishnoDevi katra
is a cave in the lower Himalayas.
the town at the foot of the Trikuta hills is the base camp for the Mata Vaishno Dev
is 48 km fromJammu
650 km from Delhi (via Una), 520 km from Udhampur, 410 km from Chandigarh and 80
km from Patnitop The shrine is visited all through the year, but the path is difficult
during the winters when the route is often blocked by snowfall.
- The Manifestation of Goddess
The temple of
Mata Vaishno Dev
i is dedicated to Vaishnavi, the human manifestation of
Goddess Shakti. Within the temple is the deity in the form of a five and half feet
tall rock with three Pindies or heads. It is written that the goddess to achieve
her destiny of finally merging with Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a human and
was born as Vaishnavi, in the household of one Ratnakar. Even as a young girl, Vaishnavi
displayed an immense thirst for knowledge that soon out thought her teachers. Soon
she started to search within herself for the answers that she couldn't find elsewhere
and learnt the art of meditation. Realizing the importance of Tapasya (meditation)
Vaishnavi renounced all worldly comforts and betook herself to the forest to meditate
Legend has it that while Vaishnavi was in the forest she encountered Lord Rama,
prince of Ayodhya, who was in exile. Recognizing him immediately as an avatar of
Lord Vishnu she begged him to merge with her, but Lord Rama, knowing that the time
was not ripe promised her that on the completion of his exile he would again pass
that way. If she recognized him then he would fulfill her wishes. True to his word
he returned in the guise of an old man, but Vaishnavi failed to recognize him. Rama
consoled her and advised her to set up an ashram at the base of the Trikuta Hills
and continue with her penance.
The holy Shrine of
Mata Vaishno Dev
i Ji is unique as it contains the holiest of holy Pindis
manifesting Mata in her three forms which are Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswati.
Each of these forms represent particular attributes.
Maha Kali represents Tam Guna
Tam stands for darkness or unholiness. In her attribute of Maha Kali, Mata is constantly
endeavoring to vanquish the forces of darkness. She blesses her devotees by giving
them strength to never lose heart and constantly battle the forces of darkness till
they prevail upon them. Maha Lakshmi represents Raj Guna : Raj stands for sustenance,
prosperity and well being. In her attribute of Maha Lakshmi Vaishno Mata blesses
her devotees with wealth and prosperity and thus makes their life more comfortable
Maha Saraswati represents Satva Guna
Satva stands for purity and goodness. In her attribute of Maha Saraswati, Mata blesses
her devotees with pure thoughts and a high intellect. This enables them to distinguish
between the good and the bad, between righteousness and unrighteousness and helps
them to adopt the correct path in life.
A combination of these three attributes in a single Shakti is known as Mata Vaishno Dev
and this unique combination is what makes her revered all over the world. Each person
on earth contains the attributes of Tam Guna, Raj Guna and Satva Guna in some degree
or the other. His or her behavior is therefore, conditioned by the attribute that
is predominant. However, to lead a full and meaningful life a balance has to be
struck amongst the three. This balance is extremely difficult to achieve. It needs
divine blessings. It is only at Mata Vaishno Dev
i Ji that such
blessings are possible simultaneously from a single source of Shakti . This is what
makes the holy Shrine of Mata Vaishno Dev
iJi unique in
The YatraThe Yatra begins at
and pilgrims have to cover 13 km of terrain on foot to reach the Darbar. One kilometer
, is Banganga,
place where Mata quenched her thirst and at 6 km further down, is the holy cave
at Adhkawari.The entire 13 km route is quite wide and tiled. Besides, the whole
path is lit up every night by powerful sodium vapour lamps. The whole route is swept
and cleaned from time to time throughout the day. Yatris are requested to keep the
Shelter cum sheds and shelter cum cafeterias are setup throughout the route. Pure
vegetarian food is available at these outlets. Price charts are exhibited at all
these outlets prominently. Drinking water has been made available all along the
route, with water coolers and storage facilities.
Public utilities with automatic flushing systems along the track and at the Bhawan.
After 6 km. of trekking, you would reach Adhkawari, the holy cave where Mata meditated
for nine months. Do visit the cave. After 9.5 km., you would reach Sanji Chhat where
you can rest for sometime. Accommodation is also available at this place. Bhawan
is just 3.5 km. away.
At the entrance to the cave is a place called Bhavan where the worshipper buys prasad
(offering to the God, a little of which is returned to the devotee for distribution
amongst his near and dear ones) and other offerings. Here the Yatri is issued a
token number on showing the Yatra ticket. The group no. and the time for the Yatri's
turn is mentioned on the token.
At Bhavan there are cloakrooms, lockers for your belongings and change rooms. It
is customary to bathe and change clothes before joining the queue for the darshan.
Amidst the continuous chanting of Jai Mata Di, pilgrims wait patiently for their
turn after depositing their coconut at the entrance for which they are given tokens.
Each one has to enter the cave alone as the tunnel to the shrine is very narrow
and has to be negotiated with care. Once inside it widens out to provide darshan
of the goddess. The return is via a different route that takes the devotee to the
shrine of Bhairon and then back to
The total length of the holy Cave is about ninety eight feet. Here you can see symbols
of a large number of Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. At the mouth of the
original tunnel to the holy Cave on the left hand side of the rock face you can
see the symbol of Vakra Tunda Ganesha. Adjacent to the symbol of Lord Ganesha you
can see the symbols of Surya Dev and Chandra Dev. When you crawl into the holy Cave
through the natural tunnel you cross over the Dhadh of Bhairo Nath who was beheaded
by the Goddess at the entry point to the holy Cave. The Dhadh is fourteen feet long.
After this you come across the symbol of Lord Hanuman who was also called Launkra
Beyond the Launkra Beer point you have to wade your way through water Twenty three
feet beyond Launkra Beer, on the left upper hand side, the roof of the cave flares
out and the weight of this over hang appears to the resting on the innumerable heads
of Shesh Nag. Immediately below Shesh Nag there is the Havan Kund of Mata. Adjacent
to the symbols of Shankh, Chakra, Gada and Padam. Higher up, almost touching the
ceiling of the cave are the symbols of the five Pandavas, the Sapt Rishi, the Than
of the divine cow, Kamdhenu, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiv and Parvati.
Three feet further ahead, on an elevation some what lower than Shiv and Parvati,
is the Khamba that was gripped by the legendary worshipper Prahalad. Diagonally
below this, at the water level you can see the Yantra with innumerable mystical
signs and symbols inscribed on it. Twenty two feet beyond this point, the Sher Ka
Panja symbolising the lion, which is the mount of Mata Vaishno Dev
Ji is located.
The distance from the entry point to the Sher Ka Panja is fifty nine feet.. Six
feet further ahead, on the left hand side, are the symbols of Shankar and Gouri.
Thirteen feet beyond the symbols of Shankar and Gouri the holiest of the holy Pindies
of ``Mata Maha Kali Ji'', ``Mata Maha Lakshmi Vaishno Devi Ji,'' and ``Mata Maha
Saraswati Ji''.appear .To the right of the holy Pindies on the upper side we can
once again identify the symbols of Ganesh, Surya Dev, Chandra Dev and Goddess Annapurna.
Slightly behind the holy Pindies, on the right hand side you can see the symbol
of the seated Sinh Raj. A little ahead of this you can make out the full hand of
the Goddess raised in the Vard Hast mode, granting boons to the world. Immediately
opposite the Holy Pindies is the natural symbol of Lord Pashupati Nath.
Water(Charan Ganga) gushes out of the base of the holy Pindies and flows out of
the holy Cave. Charan Ganga is collected in small containers by the devotees and
is taken home. It is also channelised to the bathing ghat and the devotees can take
a bath in this water before they join the queue for Darshan of the holy Pindies.
How to reach:
Mata Vaishno Dev
i is located 14 km from the town of
and 52 km north of
is situated at 2,800 feet and takes about 2 hours to each from Jammu
by bus.AirThe nearest
airport is in
, which is 48 km from
. There is a helicopter service that departs from the airport at Sanjhi Chat in
in the morning. The ride costs about Rs. 2,000 one way (baggage 2 kg, 15 minute)TrainThe
nearest train station is in
.BusThere are regular buses leaving for the 52 km trip from the central
bus stand in
to where the road ends at
it is a steep 13 km walk. You can rent a horse or be carried up from
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
to get pass Ban Ganga. It is a hard climb to Mata Vaishno Devi
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