The Holy Shrine of Vashno Devi
Vaishno Devi - Heaven For Spiritual Redemption
Vaishno Devi is one of the holiest Hindu Pilgrimage site which is dedicated to Goddess Shakti. The temple is located around 12 km away from Katra in the Udhampur district. Vaishno Devi temple is situated at an altitude of 1615 m on the Trikuta Hills of Shivalik Range. Pilgrims, especially Hindus from all over the world visit Vaishno Devi making it the second most visited shrine in India after Tirupati Balaji Mandir. Undertake Vaishno Devi yatra to get awestruck by three rock cut statues in the 100 feet long cave. Inside the Vaishno Devi temple, middle one represents Goddess Lakshmi, right statue represents Goddess Kali and left one represents Goddess Saraswati. All kind of people, whether they are rich or poor, young or old, sick or healthy take the challenging trek from Katra to get to this holy place. Just join any group that is climbing to the cave and feel the devotion run down your body with every breath you take. The groups sing religious songs praising the goddess non stop till they reach the top. It is just an amazing experience to see so many people devoted to their devotion to the Goddess. There are many tea stalls and Dhabas along the way where you can stop for a while and take rest. On your Vaishno Devi tours, while resting or even while walking, just look around for the resplendent scenic beauty that surrounds you.
Legend Associated To The Vaishno Devi Temple
Every year thousands of devotees plan Vaishno Devi yatra to seek blessings of Goddess Vaishno Devi. She is considered to be the incarnation of Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Kali. The main reason of birth of Vaishno Devi was the destruction of Demon Mahishasura. The divine girl was born to a man called Ratnakar who named her Vaishnavi. She was brighter than all other children of her age, in fact, at a young age itself, she acquired more knowledge than many famous scholars. She renounced all worldly ties and went into deep jungles for meditating. She used to worship Lord Vishnu and on directions of Lord Rama, she built an ashram for meditating. Soon, a man called Bhairon Nath came to know about her and when he saw her, he was smitten by her beauty and grace. He started to pester her to marry him. Vaishnavi decided to run away to jungles to evade him. After long time of this hide and seek, she confronted him on the entrance of a cave and beheaded him. Bhairon Nath after death realized his mistake and prayed for forgiveness. He was forgiven by the Goddess and was blessed that every devotee who comes to worship her will also have to visit the temple of Bhairon Nath without which their Vaishno Devi yatra will be incomplete. Vaishnavi then left her human body and become a rock statue and went into meditation.
Vashno Devi Yatra
One Can visit Vaishno Devi temple at any time of the year, but avoid planning Vaishno Devi tours in winter season as it is extremely tough due to the excessive snowfall. The shrine is around 48 km away from Jammu airport and Jammu Tawi railhead. Both are well connected to all parts of the country. You can hire a taxi or a take a bus to the Katra Bus stand. This is where Vaishno Devi yatra starts. Before commencing your trip to the Vaishno Devi temple, obtain a yatra slip from the Yatra registration counter in Tourism center at the Katra bus stand. The slip is mandatory for carrying on with the trip. Don't forget to pack necessary items like caps, shoes and sticks from the counter during Vaishno Devi yatra. The climb is fairly steep and tiring, though there are regular resting areas where you can have some refreshments as well. But people who find it tough to move up hill, can take a ride on a pony or a palanquin. Make sure you hire them from an authorized person. On reaching the Bhavan, you will get a batch number on showing your yatra slip at the registration office. Keep The number with you as the number tells you your position in the queue for Darshan. Deposit all your offerings at the entrance of the cave and do not forget to collect the prasad on your exit.
It is said that one can only visit the sacred cave of Vaishno Devi temple only when the Goddess herself wants them to and beckons them. If you are reading this, probably this is your call for making the holiest trip of your life. Come prepared to lose your old self and find the new you who will be more wise and chaste.
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