Holy Shrine: Glimpses of Temple of Vaishno Devi

Temple of Vaishno Devi
Image Courtesy: The Financial Express

The Temple of Vaishno Devi Holy Shrine is one of the holiest pilgrimages of our time. Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji is also known as Man Maangi Muradein Poori Karne Wali Mata. This means the “Mother who fulfills whatever Her children want from her.” She lives in a Holy Cave in the folds of the three-peaked mountain Trikuta (pronounced Trikoo).

Every year, millions of pilgrims visit the Holy Cave. In reality, the annual number of Yatris who visit the Holy Shrine has crossed the one crore mark. The Mother’s Holy Cave is 5200 feet in height. The Yatris must walk roughly 12 kilometers from Katra’s base camp to reach the peak. The Yatris are graced with Darshans of the Mother Goddess inside the Prayer Hall Holy Cave—at the end of their journey. These Darshans are shaping like the Pindies, which are three natural rock formations.

The Call of Maa

There is a strong belief by everyone who visits the temple of Vaishno Devi that “maa” (referring to goddess Vaishno Devi) has sent a call for her children. When one person receives a call, he is bound to visit the temple. A popular song is there as TUNE MJHE BULAYA SHERA VALIYEE ,MAI AAYA MAI AAYA JYOTA VALIYEE.

History of The Temple of Vaishno Devi

In India, we cannot determine the exact time when most of our holy places were built. But the existence of the Vaishno Devi mandir is noted from thousands of years ago. The first mention of the maa is in Mahabharta. Some believe that Maa Vaishno Devi is one of the Shaktipeeth as the skull of Maa Sati fell here. Few feel that her right arm feels here, and the mandir was built surrounding it. However, these are matters of belief and many deny believing in such stories.

The Discovery of Temple of Vaishno Devi Mandir

The temple was discovered roughly around 700 hundred years ago. There was a pandit named Shridhar at whose place maa reportedly helped him in a Bandara. After that, he felt that he lost everything in his life. He stopped consuming food and water and went on a fast, locked himself in a room.

Stories have it that Maa showed him the way and ordered him to break his fast. Pandit has done the same as maa instructed him when he lost his way. A new dream was revealed to him and finally, he reached his destination. On entering and he found a rock with three heads. The stories state that Maa came to life and introduced herself as ma Durga, ma Lakshmi, and ma Saraswati. She blessed him with four sons and told him to worship them in the temple. After that, the pandit dedicated his entire life to the temple of maa Vaishno Devi. Same as Pandit Ji, there are a lot of stories that believe in the existence of maa.

Darshan of The Temple of Maa Vaishno Devi

The Temple is at Trikuta mountain. There is no idol or statue in the cave. Three Pindies are also known as holy Pindies. They are worshipped as mother goddesses known as Maa Kali or Durga, Maa Saraswati, and Maa Laxmi.

  • Maa Kaali: Towards the right is the holy pind of Maa Kali. The tinge of holy pind is black. She associates with the darker and unknown facts of life
  • Maa Laxmi: In the center of the three pinds, the middle one is Ma Laksmi with a yellowish tinge. Ma Lakshmi is known as the goddess of wealth. She gives us wealth, prosperity, happiness in our life.
  • Maa Saraswati: The last one on the left is the holy pind of Maa Saraswati with a whitish tinge. She is known as the Goddess of knowledge. White color denotes prosperity and purity.

Aarti of Maa

The Goddess’s ‘Aarti’ is performed twice a day,

  • in the morning just before sunrise
  • in the evening after sunset.

The ‘Aarti’ procedure is a very lengthy one. The Pujaris practice a form of self-purification known as ‘Aatam Pujan’. They use water, milk, ghee (clarified butter), honey, and sugar to bathe maa. After that, she is dress in a saree, Chola, and Chuni, and ornaments.

Vaishno Devi: Best Time to Visit

Vaishno Devi is open to pilgrims all year, but Vaishno Devi best time to visit is between March and October. Because the weather is cool and pleasant during these months. Many pilgrims visit Vaishno Devi during other times as well, but visitors mostly plan their trip during the Navratras.

The Mata lives in the Holy Cave, which is at an elevation of 5200 feet, and Yatris must trek up to see her. Summer is the best time to visit Vaishno Devi because the weather is ideal for trekking.

Summer season

The months of May, June, and July are ideal for visiting Vaishno Devi. The days are quiet and the evenings bring a significant drop in temperature. During this time, going for darshan is really a pleasant experience.

Autumn season

Because of the festivals, these are the busiest months for Vaishno Devi darshan. The Navratri and Dussehra, which honor the power and glory of Goddess Durga/Chandi, attract every pilgrim. As people rush forward to catch a glimpse of the Devi, the chant of “Jai Mata Di” fills the air.

Winter season

Because of its high elevation, Vaishno Devi receives snow during the winter months. Tourists should visit during this time unless they are with children. Snowfall is a unique experience in itself after all.

How to Reach the Temple of Vaishno Devi

Planning a trip to Vaishno Devi and don’t know how to get there? Here are some directions for your favorite religious destination.

Vaishno Devi, also known as Chandi or Durga, is the Hindu Goddess Mata Adi Shakti’s holy abode. The temple is 13 kilometers from Katra, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, nestled among the Trikutta Hills. As one of the country’s 108 Shakti Peethas. Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Railway Station in Katra is the closest rail station to the temple. Katra has built good connectivity with some of the country’s major cities, with trains running regularly between them and Katra. Tourists will find excellent lodging options close to the station. The real journey to Mata Ka Bhawan begins from here.

On the other hand, Katra connects to some neighboring cities. Pilgrims can either trek up to the holy sanctum or take a helicopter to Sanjhichchat, from where they must walk the final 5 kilometers to the temple.

Vaishno Devi From Katra: The Path

For Vaishno Devi from Katra, you have to pass through many different Darwazas to meet the Bhawan of God.

Bhawan to Katra

According to legends, Mata Vaishno Devi met Pandit Shridhar is an avatar of a young girl at the Darshani Darwaza. It provides a panoramic view of Trikuta Mountain and it also works as an entrance. Hence, the name: Darshani Darwaza.

Old Track: Sacred Track

They use an unpaved track and a few flights of stairs that led to Bhawan in the past. This track, known as the old or original track.

Ban Ganga

Banganga, at 2700 feet and on the bank of a small river called Banganga, is the first station for a Yatri on his on-foot journey from Katra to Bhawan. According to legend, the god was on her way to her destined abode in the Trikuta Hills with Langoor-Veer when Langoor-Veer became thirsty.

Adhkuwari

Adhkuwari is a Sanskrit word that translates to “eternal virgin.” According to the mythos, the Goddess used to worship Lord Shiva in a cave for nine months. However, when Bhairo Nath discovered her inside, she used his trident to make an opening in the cave and proceeded towards Bhawan. Adkuwari also marks the halfway point of the Yatra, and most pilgrims like to take a break and rest here.

Himkoti

On the new track, Himkoti is located 2.75 kilometers from Adkuwari. Himkoti is one of the most scenic spots on the trail, with panoramic views of the entire valley. This location has no traditional or religious significance. However, the pilgrims experience an ethereal and mysterious charm of nature. The spot has its own natural splendor.

Sanjhichhat

The pilgrims’ highest point on their journey to the Holy Bhawan is Sanjhichhat. The location is approximately 6,200 feet above sea level and provides a panoramic view of the landscape below.

Bhairon temple

After visiting the holy temple of Mata Vaishno Devi Ji, pilgrims proceed to the Bhairon temple. From the perspective of a sacred legend associated with the Shrine, this old temple is significant. Following Bhairon Nath’s beheading and profuse repentance, the Almighty Mother Goddess forgave, blessed, and granted him the boon that his temple’s Darshans would be the final link.

The temple of Vaishno Devi is the ultimate destination of the Yatris. The Goddess has three forms inside the Holy Cave as Holy Pindies: Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi, and Mata Saraswati.

Recommended Read 

A Tour Guide To The Temples Of Delhi

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • How old is Vaishno Devi Temple?

Ans. Geological studies explain that the caves are a million years old. The temple entry in Jammu and Kashmir state government act is known as Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Act.

  • What is the best time to visit Vaishno Devi Temple?

Ans. March and October. During this time, the weather is very pleasant and it’s the best time for trekking as well.

  • How long it takes for Vaishno Devi darshan?

Ans. It takes almost about 5 to 8 hours to reach the Bhawan. While returning it can be completed within 3 to 5 hours depending on the weather condition.