More things are wrought by prayer than the world dreams of'. And the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi gives credit to this famous line of Alfred Lord Tennyson's poetry. Sheer faith brings in multitudes of people of all ages, races and religions to kowtow before the Goddess, who showers her grace on each of them and grants them their wishes. The pilgrimage requires great fortitude, both physical and mental, as you have to climb mile after mile, uphill, before getting a glimpse of the Goddess. But as they say 'tough times never last, tough people do' and millions of people make this journey successfully, year after year. So can you!
Mata Vaishno Devi represents the collective energies of the three main goddesses of the Hindu religion: Lakshmi, Kali and Saraswati. Mata Vaishno Devi took the form of a young girl who spent her days in divine reflection at the base of the Trikuta Mountain, thus empowering herself with great spiritual powers. \\
There is interesting story behind the popularity of Vaishnodevo temple. A selfish saint, Bhairav Nath was trying to kill Mata Rani to get salvation. While escaping from Bhairav Nath, Mata Rani shot an arrow into the Earth from which water flooded out. This resulted in form of a river called as Baanganga. Devotees believed that taking bath in the river wash away all sins. She also took shelter in the concrete cave covered with ice to escape from him and took meditation for power and wisdom. Mata got the victory and cut the skull of the Bhairav which felt at 2.5 km above the main shrine. Mata granted him liberation along with granted him a boon. Vaisno mata told that every devotee had to visit Bhairav Nath temple for completion of pilgrimage. Since then Vaishno Devi Temple along with Adhkawari and Bhairav Nath Temple have become holiest Hindu Pilgrimage Tours
Pandit Shridhar recognised Vaishno Devi as a divine being and began searching for her. Guided by divine forces, he located the holy cave nestled in the Trikuta Mountain. There he found a rock form with three heads atop it. These three heads, known as pindis represent the three goddesses Lakshmi, Kali and Saraswati. The Mata then appeared before him in all her glory and asked him to spread the faith to one and all.
How to Reach
Wherever you are, reach Jammu and then take the road to Katra, a small town about 50 km away.
Jammu is connected air to Delhi and Srinagar; by train to all metros and important cities in northern India. There are regular bus services from all major north Indian cities like Amritsar , Chandigarh , Delhi , Srinagar and Mansar .
Jammu to Katra
You may hire cabs from Jammu airport, railway station and the Tourist Reception Centre. Buses services are also available from Katra every 10 minutes, the first bus is at 5.00 am and the last at 9:00 pm. The journey is about 2 hours, but the terrain is hilly and winding. So if you are prone to nausea and vomiting, then popping a pill is advisable.
Helicopter Service (7 minutes)
Vaishno Devi Helicopter Service from Katra to Sanjichhatis also available, just a couple of kilometers from the holy shrine. If you are driving down in your own vehicle and do not wish to halt at Jammu, then head straight on National Highway No.1A.
Katra to the Shrine
It's a 14-km long most pilgrims do it, so lace up, chant "Jai Mata Di" and keep walking! If you absolutely can't, then there are ponies and palanquins that you can ride on. Devotees put their luggage in Katra and just carry the necessary things for trek. Normal adult takes about 6 hours to reach the temple from Katra. Due to formation of trust facilities have considerably improved enroots and at the temple premises. The whole path is well ample lighting at Night. Resting places with sheds are built every 400 to 500 meters with facility of toilets and canteens.
Vaishno devi is located on a hill top,due to this there is temperature difference of around 10 degrees between the temple site and Katra. This needs to be kept in mind while planning for warm cloths, however free blanket service is available at the temple premises