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Mata Vaishno Devi Temple Katra
The Mata Vaishno Devi Temple, located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India, is one of the largest sacred pilgrimage sites of Hinduism. The pilgrims reach the temple to visit Mata Vaishno Devi after a 12-km trek to the Trikuta mountain near the town of Katra, located 46 km away from Jammu district. The temple of Mata Vaishno Devi situated on Trikuta mountain is only 1585 meters (5200 ft) above sea level.
The temple of Mata Vaishno Devi is built in an ancient sacred cave, in this cave, Mata Vaishno Devi sits in the form of three Pindis. These three Pindis are called as Mata Saraswati, Mata Lakshmi and Mata Chamunda respectively. These three Pindis set in the cave are called Mata Vaishno Devi.
According to mythology, Goddess Vaishno Devi is considered as the form of Mother Saraswati, Mother Lakshmi and Mother Chamunda. Millions of devotees and pilgrims from all over India and many countries of the world come here to visit to see Goddess Vaishno Devi.
It is believed that after Tirumala Venkateswara Temple located in South India, the most revered and pilgrims come to visit the temple of Mata Vaishno Devi. The temple of Mata Vaishno Devi is maintained by the Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.
History of Vaishno Devi Temple
Mythology of Mata Vaishno Devi
According to the mythology associated with Mata Vaishno Devi, it is believed that once Mata Saraswati, Mata Lakshmi and Mata Chamunda gathered at one place and they gathered their divine powers to reveal a very beautiful girl. The girl, who is revealed by the power of the three goddesses, asks the cause of her appearance to those goddesses.
So the three goddesses descend on that supernatural girl, that they made that girl stay on the dead land (earth) to protect virtue, virtue and mere living. After that, the three ladies tell the girl that she should be born at the house of our supreme devotee Ratnakar, who lives on earth.
And establish truth and religion while on earth and attain the highest level of consciousness by doing spiritual practice. And once you achieve the highest level of spiritual consciousness, then you will join Lord Vishnu and merge into them. By saying this, the three goddesses give many boons to that supernatural girl.
Now after some time, that supernatural girl is born as a girl in the house of Ratnakar and his wife. Ratnakar and his wife name the beautiful girl Vaishnavi. Vaishnavi has a keen curiosity to acquire spiritual knowledge from her childhood. Vaishnavi’s curiosity to acquire spiritual knowledge is so intense that she does not get satisfaction from any kind of education and initiation.
After some time, Vaishnavites started to become deeply meditated to acquire spiritual knowledge and after a while, Vaishnavi became adept in the art of meditation. After learning the art of meditation, Vaishnavi came to understand that only after deep meditation and penance can one attain the highest level of spiritual consciousness.
After a few days, Vaishnavi leaves her father Ratnakar’s house and goes to do penance in the dense forest. In those dense forests, Vaishnavi meets Lord Rama, who at that time is cutting his 14 years of exile. As soon as he meets Lord Rama, Vaishnavi recognizes that he is not an ordinary human being but Lord Vishnu himself.
At that time, Vaishnavi pleads with Lord Rama to mix it in himself so that he can meet the ultimate surgeon and be included in it. At that time, Lord Rama stops Vaishnavi by saying that it is not the right time and that when she meets him again after completing her 14 years of exile, if she recognizes him, then she wishes him Will complete Lord Rama, after completing his 14 years of exile, meets Vaishnavi in the form of an older man, but unfortunately she does not recognize him and gets angry, calling him evil.
When Vaishnavi is unhappy, Lord Rama explains to her that the right time has not yet come for you to join me. Next Lord Rama says to Vaishnavi that when I will come as Kalki in Kali Yuga, then that time will be the right time for you to join me. After that Lord Rama instructs Vaishnavi to establish an ashram at the foothills of Trikuta mountain and it is said that while staying there, he also instructs to raise his spiritual level through austerities.
Apart from this, Lord Rama also blesses Vaishnavi while living in the ashram to bless human beings and remove the distress of poor and unhappy people. According to the instructions given by Lord Rama, Vaishnavi faces many difficulties and reaches the foothills of Trikuta mountain. Upon reaching the Trikuta mountain, Vaishnavi establishes an ashram for herself and is absorbed in spiritual meditation and penance.
The glory of Vaishnavi spreads far and wide after some time of living in the ashram near Trikuta mountain. Hundreds of devotees visit Vaishnavi’s ashram daily to seek her blessings. After some time Mahayogi Guru Gorakhnath who heard and saw the dialogues between Lord Rama and Vaishnavi. In Guru Gorakhnath a strong curiosity arises in the mind whether Vaishnavi has succeeded in attaining the highest level of her spiritual consciousness.
To know all this, he sends his disciple Bhairavnath to the ashram of Vaishnavi. Finding the ashram, Bhairavnath starts hiding and monitoring Vaishnavi, after some time while monitoring, Bhairavnath comes to know that Vaishnavi is a sadhvi but she keeps a bow and arrow with her all the time. Apart from this, Vaishnavi is always surrounded by wildlife like lions and langurs etc.
After some time Bhairavnath becomes enamoured of the supernatural beauty of Vaishnavi and forgets all his wisdom and insists on Vaishnavi for marriage. At the same time, Sridhar, the supreme devotee of Vaishnavi, organizes a mass feast at his house in which he also invites the disciples of his entire village and Guru Gorakhnath.
Bhairavnath, a disciple of Guru Gorakhnath, also attends the mass feast. During a mass feast, Bhairavnath attempts to kidnap Vaishnavi but Vaishnavi pushes Bhairavnath and leaves. Vaishnavi decides to go to Trikuta mountain to do penance so that no hindrance in her austerity comes again.
But Bhairavnath still does not stop chasing Vaishnavi.After escaping from Bhairavnath, Vaishnavi stops at several places on the Trikut mountain and finally reaches the holy cave (presently all these stops are known as Banganga, Charanpaduka and Ardhakuvari). But Bhairavnath chases Vaishnavi and reaches the holy cave also. After trying all the way to avoid any kind of conflict with Bhairavnath, Vaishnavi finally gets forced to kill Bhairavnath.
After that Vaishnavi takes the form of Mata Chamunda and beheads Bhairavnath at the mouth of the holy cave. Bhairavnath’s head falls apart and falls on a small hill. Knowing his near-death, Bhairavnath apologizes to Goddess Vaishno Devi. On requesting Bhairavnath’s pardon, Mother Vaishno Devi takes pity on it and forgives her, along with giving a boon to Bhairavnath that every devotee will come to this holy cave to see the Goddess.
If he does not visit Bhairavnath after seeing Goddess Vaishno Devi, then the visit of that devotee will not be considered complete. After granting this boon, Goddess Vaishno Devi decides to renounce her physical form. And in that holy cave, she is transformed into a body of three Pindis and engages in penance forever. At present, only those three Pindis sitting inside the sacred cave located in Trikuta mountain are called Goddess Vaishno Devi.
Beginning of Vaishno Devi Yatra
The walking tour of the temple of Mata Vaishno Devi starts from the town of Katra situated at the foothills of Trikuta mountain. The pilgrimage of the pilgrims to the temple continues overnight for the visit of Goddess Vaishno Devi. All pilgrims and devotees must have “Yatra Slip” to see Mata Vaishno Devi. No person can visit Goddess Vaishno Devi without a travel slip.
Only after taking the travel slip from Katra can the pilgrim start climbing from Katra to the court of Mata Vaishno Devi. After taking the travel slip, the pilgrim can start his trek to visit Mata Vaishno Devi by getting his travel slip checked at the “Banganga” checkpoint. If any devotee does not get his entry at the checkpoint for 06 hours after taking the travel slip, then the travel slip of that person is considered cancelled.
Therefore, you have to take special care that your journey starts by making your entry at the checkpoint within 06 hours after the travel slip is deducted. At present, the facility of cutting travel slips for Darshan of Mata Vaishno Devi is now available online for all devotees.
Now the facility of doing Mata Vaishno Devi is also available on the Internet, any devotee and pilgrim can get a travel slip for themselves on the official website of Mata Vaishno Devi (www.maavaishnodevi.org). During the ascent of Mata Vaishno Devi, a very elaborate arrangement has been made for the devotees to have refreshments and food on the way.
During the climb from Katra to Bhavan, clock room facilities have also been provided. For these clock rooms, you can provide the facility of the clock room for yourself by paying a predetermined fee. You can start the climb to the court of Mata Vaishno Devi by keeping your heavy goods in the clock room.
Note: – At present, all travelers coming to visit Mata Vaishno Devi can visit Mata Vaishno Devi only by taking online travel slip. The travel slip taken by the passengers is checked at Lakhanpur located on the Jammu and Punjab border. This place is also famous as Lakhanpur Border. Apart from this, all passengers are also required to have a negative report of covid-19.
Darshni Darwaja Katra
The road from Katra to Mata Vaishno Devi is located at a distance of about 01 km from the bus stand of Katra. Located at a distance of 01 km from the bus stand, the entrance of Mata Vaishno Devi walking tour is also known as Darshani Darwaja. According to the mythology associated with Darshani Darwaja, Mata Vaishno Devi gave the first darshan to Pandit Sridhar as a girl at this place.
From this place, the Trikuta mountain is completely visible, due to this also this place is called Darshani Darwaja. There are two doors near the Darshani Darwaja, from the first door of Purana Darwaja. the first door, pilgrims can reach the court of Goddess Vaishno Devi via stairs. The second door has been constructed by Vaishno Devi Shrine Board just a few years ago.
A very beautiful porch has been constructed for the new door. And on this new road, a very magnificent ramp has been constructed by the Shrine Board till the court of Mata Vaishno Devi. The new ramp is completely covered with an iron shed and for safety sake, the iron sides are also made on the sides of the ramp.
There is enough space to park your private vehicle near the new sighting door, here you can park your car by paying the prescribed parking fee. If you have come to Katra by bus or by train, then you can reach the Darshani door with great comfort. If you leave your car without parking and go to see Goddess Vaishno Devi, then you lock your car properly and go to see Goddess Vaishno Devi.
Vaishno Devi Temple Main Road
The Vaishno Devi Shrine Board was given the responsibility of managing the Mata Vaishno Devi Temple on 30 August 1986. After the Vaishno Devi Shrine Board came to the responsibility of managing the temple, he first started the work of getting the broken path to the temple corrected.
The Vaishno Devi Shrine Board got the broken path flattened and made even wider than before and the whole way was made of concrete tile. Apart from this, countless parapets have been built on the route and rallying has also been done for safety. A strong shelter has also been constructed to protect the pilgrims from heavy rains and landslides.
Most travellers start their trek to visit Mata Vaishno Devi at the time of night, so currently, more than 1200 high-pressure sodium vapour lamps have been installed. Proper drinking water arrangements have been made for pilgrims on the route, 120 hot and cold water sites have been constructed on the route and about 20 water coolers have also been installed.
Apart from all these facilities, around 600 modern toilet seats have also been provided for the convenience of pilgrims toilets etc. on the route.
Vaishno Devi Temple Alternative Route
The Vaishno Devi Shrine Board started construction of an alternative route for the temple of Mata Vaishno Devi in 1990 due to the increasing huge crowd of pilgrims to visit Mata Vaishno Devi. This new path leading to the Mata Vaishno Devi Temple is known as the alternate route.
Construction of the alternate route was started in 1990 and in 1999 the new route was opened to pilgrims. This new route is shorter than the old route and is also easier. Apart from this, no mule is allowed on this route. The alternate route starts at the site viewpoint named Indraprastha, a little before Ardhakuvari and ends near the main campus of the Mata Vaishno Devi temple.
The new alternate route is about 500 meters shorter and less uphill than the old route. This new route has been made flat and wider than the old route. In this route, two viewpoints and three sales centres have been made for pilgrims from which you can buy food and snacks etc.
Apart from this, hot and cold water coolers and toilets have also been built on this route. Shelter sheds have also been constructed for safety all the way. Electric taxi service has also been started on the new alternate route.
Facility for electric vehicles is available from Indraprastha and Manokamna Bhawan for the disabled, sick, old and weak pilgrims. Pilgrims can get this facility based on the availability of booking.
Stop during Vaishno Devi Yatra
During the journey of Mata Vaishno Devi, the police check post at the Darshani Darwaza, the pilgrims reach a small bridge after getting their travel slip checked. Banganga is the only small river flowing under this small bridge. The Banganga River is the first stop for the walking tour of Mata Vaishno Devi.
According to the mythology associated with the river, when Mata Vaishno Devi was going towards the sacred cave located in the Trikuta mountain, she created a waterfall by running an arrow at this place.
Because of this, this river is called Banganga. Apart from this, it is also believed that Mata Vaishno Devi took a dip in this holy river and washed her hair here. Due to its religious significance, pilgrims visiting here love to bathe in this holy river. Ghats have also been built on the Banganga River for pilgrims.
The second stop of the Vaishno Devi Yatra after Banganga is called Charan Paduka. The distance from Banganga to Charan Paduka is about 1.5 km and Charan Paduka is about 1080 meters (3380 ft) above sea level. Presently there is a temple at this place in which the footprints of Mata Vaishno Devi are built on a stone rock.
According to the legend associated with Charan Paduka, when Mata Vaishno Devi was going away from Bhairon as a girl, she stopped at this place for a few moments to see how far Bhairon was away from her. Due to Mata Vaishno Devi staying for a few moments at this place, her footprints were made at this place.
This place is called Charan Paduka because of the footprints of Mata Vaishno Devi at this place. It is believed that the walking tour of Mata Vaishno Devi is successful when you visit the feet of Mata Vaishno Devi situated in the temple. Vaishno Devi Shrine Board near Charan Paduka has set up a medical unit for pilgrims to provide medical facilities at any time of medical emergency.
The next stop of the Mata Vaishno Devi walking tour after Charan Paduka is called Ardhakuvari and Garbhajoon. ardhkuwari is just 1463 meters (4800 ft) above sea level and it is 06 kilometres from Katra. The distance of the building of Mata Vaishno Devi from ardhkuwari is also only 06 km.
In this way, the pilgrims reach ardhkuwari, Mata Vaishno Devi Darshan completes half of the walking tour. Visiting Ardhakuvari during the visit of Goddess Vaishno Devi is considered very important. According to the mythology associated with this place, Mata Vaishno Devi, as a little girl, leaves from the treasury of her supreme devotee Sridhar, when she leaves for the Trikuta mountain, she reaches Banganga and Charan Paduka and reaches ardhkuwari.
Here Mata Vaishno Devi meditates in a womb-shaped cave for 9 months and engages in penance. It is believed that there is a womb-shaped place on the right side of the cave and at this place, Mata Vaishno Devi meditated for 09 months. Mata Vaishno Devi did penance in this cave for 09 months, due to this the place is also called Garbhajoon. Mata Vaishno Devi spent time doing austerities for nine months in a cave situated on ardhkuwari, due to which this cave is also called Garbhajoon.
When Mata Vaishno Devi learns that Bhairon has reached the cave while looking for her, she takes the cave with her trident and makes her way to the other side. This cave is so tight that only one person can get out of it at a time and that too by lying down. Garbajoon is a very holy place. Pilgrims visit this place and feel new energy inside them.
After walking about 2.75 km from Ardhkuwari, the next stop is Himkoti. Himkoti is built on the new route leading to the temple of Goddess Vaishno Devi. From here one can see very beautiful views of Trikuta mountain and valley.
Although Himkoti has no religious or traditional significance, due to the scenery seen here, this stop is very much liked among pilgrims. Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has provided a viewpoint, eatery and medical facility for pilgrims at Himkoti. Apart from all these, if a pilgrim has difficulty breathing due to high altitude, then the facility of oxygen cylinder is also available here.
Presently, Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has decided to make an artificial pond, garden and a meditation centre at this place besides resting pilgrims at Himkoti and viewpoint.
Sanjhi Chhat is the last stop of the journey of Mata Vaishno Devi. After the Sanjhi Chhat the Mata Vaishno Devi temple finishes climbing, and a slight slope begins. From the Sanjhi Chhat, the temple of Mata Vaishno Devi is only 2.5 kilometres away.
Even before the management of the Mata Vaishno Devi temple came into the hands of the Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, the Sanjhi Chhat was in very bad condition. Before 1986, the Sanjhi Chhat and the buildings around it were very poorly located and the shops built in this place were also very unstable.
Due to the lack of proper arrangements, there was a lot of dirt here. There was also no special stay facility for pilgrims, there was only one Dharamshala built by a Dharmath Trust, even in which there was no proper stay. Food, drinking water and toilet facilities were negligible here.
With the responsibility of managing the temple to the Shrine Board, they first started developing the proper roof. First of all, the Shrine Board started removing the old buildings built here and started cleaning the Sanjhi Chhat. Strong floors were erected at various places, floodlights were installed at night and fountains were installed to give beauty to the place.
Eateries, water coolers, shopping plazas and toilets were built for pilgrims. A 24-bed hospital was also constructed for pilgrims to avoid any kind of medical emergency. Many pilgrims coming to visit Mata Vaishno Devi lack time or they cannot climb 12-13 kilometres on foot.
Helipads have been constructed on the Sanjhi Chhat for such pilgrims so that pilgrims are very less In time and with great comfort, Goddess Vaishno could see Goddess.
Mata Vaishno Devi Temple
Walking from the Sanjhi Chhat, the pilgrims reach the last stop of their journey, that is, the temple of Goddess Mata Vaishno Devi. The main building is visible to pilgrims only after walking some distance from the Sanjhi Chhat. The temple of Mata Vaishno Devi is also called Bhavan.
The temple is an ancient sacred cave, in which a new route for entry has been constructed some time ago. The entrance to the old cave used to enter the sacred cave has now been completely closed. After entering the cave, pilgrims going through the old route were able to crawl and see Goddess Vaishno Devi.
Recently, pilgrims can visit Mata Vaishno Devi very comfortably with the new route prepared. Mata Vaishno Devi sits in the sacred cave in the form of three pindis known as Mata Lakshmi, Mata Kali and Mata Saraswati. On seeing Goddess Vaishno Devi, you realize that you are standing near one of the largest nuclear power reactors in the world. After seeing Goddess Vaishno Devi, new energy is transmitted to you.
Bhairon Temple – Vaishno Devi Temple – Katra
It is considered obligatory to see Bhairon after seeing Mata Vaishno Devi, if the pilgrim does not visit Bhairon after seeing Mata Vaishno Devi then the journey of Mata Vaishno Devi is not considered complete. Before 1986, the route from the temple of Mata Vaishno Devi to the temple of Bhairon was rough and bumpy. At that time it was very difficult for pilgrims to see Bhairon.
But ever since the Shrine Board came to the management of the Mata Vaishno Devi temple, the development work of the main temple and Bhairon temple was done very fast. In addition to widening the path leading from Mata Vaishno Devi temple to Bhairon temple, the stairs leading to the temple were rebuilt.
Shelters and sheds were installed along the way leading to the temple for the safety of pilgrims. For the pilgrims travelling at night, sodium viper lamps have been installed along the way. Food stalls, water coolers and toilets have also been constructed for the convenience of pilgrims.