Vaishno Devi

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India >> Jammu & Kashmir >> Jammu >> Attractions >> Vaishno Devi

Vaishno Devi

History

Nestling on top of the Trikuta Hills at a height of 1,700 mt is the sacred cave shrine of Vaishno Devi, the mother goddess. At a distance of 61 kms from Jammu, the cave is 30 metres long and just one-and-a half mt high. At the end of the cave are shrines dedicated to the three forms of the mother goddess – Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasarasvati. Pilgrims have to enter in small groups through a narrow opening and walk through ice-cold waters to reach the shrines. According to legend, the mother goddess hid in the cave while escaping a demon (Bhairon Nath), whom she ultimately killed.

The shrine of Vaishno Devi is approached through Katra, which lies 13 kms from the shrine and is the base for the pilgrimage. From Katra, pilgrims climb one km to Banganga, where the goddess is believed to have stopped to drink water; then after a couple of kms you will reach Charan Paduka where the goddess stopped and looked behind while running away from the Bhairon Nath; 6 kms further is the cave shrine of Ardhkunwari, where it is believed she rested and meditated for nine months.

The last halt before the actual shrine is the Bhawan, where there are arrangements for wash- and- change, accommodation and for depositing luggage and valuables.

Best time to visit

The main season for visiting the shrine is from March till July. The area’s very cold through most of the year, so this is the best time to visit. Even during the summer, the temperature’s not exactly high, so take along light woollens just in case it gets cold.

Trivia

It is said that your visit to the Vaishno Devi Darbar remains incomplete if you do not visit the shrine of Bhairon Nath while returning, which is 2.5 kms from Bhawan.

The main Vaishno Devi Darbar has no Goddess idols instead you will witness three Pindees (rocks) dedicated to 3 goddesses. A rock just opposite these Pindees in the main Bhawan oozes out continuous natural water and is said to mark the presence of Lord Shiva in the temple.

Timing

Visitors can enter the shrine 24 hours. Only during the aarti time the darshans are not allowed - in the morning and evening for half an hour.


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