Mata Vaishno Devi shrine of faith
Mata Vaishno Devi is a much revered shrine for Hindu devotees and that’s why included in top 20 religious destinations of India. Vaishno Devi is a representation of Goddess Durga. Located on Trikuta mountains in Jammu & Kashmir, Vaishno Devi annually has 10 million devotee visitors. This is a religious belief that 33 Koti (Form or type) deities pay respect to Devi at one time or other at ‘Arti and puja’ time in holy caves. It’s also believed you can only visit her to worship when Goddess beckons you.
Best time to visit Maa Vaishno Devi
The shrine is open all through the year and 24 hours a day. The devotees crowd the place in Navratras, in spring and autumn time twice a year for nine days. Summer holidays too is also the prime reason for more footfalls. During maximum rush time one has to wait for 12 to 20 hours for Devi Darshan. If you want to avoid the rush, visit in the winters. Come armed with light woolens in summers and heavy woolens in winters.
How to reach
The devotees need to reach Katra before visiting the shrine on the mountain top. Katra is a small town which serves as base camp with ample of accommodation facilities.
Train- Katra is 50 km from Jammu city. Both Katra as well as Jammu are well connected to all major cities via railways.
Air– Jammu is the nearest airport, the flight from Delhi takes 1 hour 20 minutes. One can hire private cab to reach Katra from Jammu.
Road– Jammu is on National highway 1A and roads are good to travel. Both public and private transport can be considered to visit Katra via Jammu.
Passage to Vaishno Devi Holy Caves from Katra
Your passage to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine starts by getting yourself registered at YRC (Yatri Registration Counter). Traveler is photographed and the details are to be filled. A Yatri Parchi or Yatra access card is issued free but don’t forget to carry your photo ID. The first entry check post is Banganga that is to be passed within 6 hours of issue of the access card. The registration entitles travelers with accidental insurance also. You can use online service to register yourself.
14 km path from Katra to Bhawan area is developed extremely traveler friendly. Since centuries, old path was being used that was re-laid about 25 years back. The road is wide and has easy gradient to climb. About 5 km stretch of the path is covered with rain shelter. The path is well illuminated and has water points and toilet facilities on the way up to Bhawan.
One can use Helicopter services run by shrine board that lands at Sanjhi Chhat few kilometers away from Sanctum Santorum. Using pathway provides more sightseeing options and company of enthusiastic devotees who keep on chanting the praises of Mata. If physically one is not fit to walk, palki and horses are also available.
On way to shrine
- Banganga– First check-in point for devotees is Banganga at 2700ft above sea level, legend is Goddess used her arrow to induce water spring from the earth.
- Charan Paduka– Little ahead of Banganga this place, as legend goes, has the prints of Goddess’s feet.
- Adhkuwari– Midway to the sojourn Adhkuwari or eternal virgin is one important landmark associated with the Goddess.
- Holy Bhawan and caves– The caves of Goddess are in holy Bhawan where three holy pindies forms of Goddess Mahakali, Maha Lakshmi and Mata Saraswati are there for ultimate Darshan, thus culminating Yatra of Mata Vaishno Devi. Praise be with Goddess-Jai Mata Di.
It is believed that pilgrim to the shrine is incomplete till the devotees pay visit to the Bhaironath temple.