Vaishno Devi Katra Shrine: One of the Holiest and Most Powerful Shrine
Nestled amidst the majestic mountains of the Himalayas specifically Trikuta Hills of Jammu, Mata Vaishno Devi in Katra is a divine shrine that attracts millions of pilgrims from around the world. This sacred place is believed to be the abode of the Hindu goddess, Maa Vaishno Devi. This Shrine is believed to be the Most Powerful of all Shaktipeeths of Goddess.
Historic Legend of Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra
Geological studies conducted on the Holy Cave suggest that it has existed for nearly a million years, references to the mountain Trikuta can be found in the Rig-Veda, the oldest of the four Vedas. The practice of worshipping Shakti, the divine feminine energy, gained prominence during the Puranic period.
The mentions of Mother Goddess can be traced back to the epic Mahabharata. During the great fierce battle of Kurukshetra, when the armies of Pandavas and Kauravas faced each other, Arjuna, the chief warrior of the Pandavas, sought the blessings of the Mother Goddess through meditation upon the advice of Sri Krishna. Arjuna referred to the Mother Goddess as ‘Jambookatak Chityaishu Nityam Sannihitalaye,’ meaning ‘you who always dwell in the temple on the slope of the mountain in Jumboo’ (possibly referring to present day Jammu).
Legend has it that the Pandavas were the first to construct the temples at Kol Kandoli (currently named Nagrota Jammu) to express their reverence and gratitude towards the Mother Goddess. Adjacent to the Trikuta Mountain, overlooking the Holy Cave, stand five stone structures believed to be symbolic representations of the five Pandavas.
Guru Gobind Singh (10th and last Sikh guru), said to have visited the Holy Cave through Purmandal, according to ancient accounts.
There are different beliefs regarding the significance of the Shrine. Some traditions consider it the holiest of all Shaktipeeths, as it is believed to be the place where the skull or the right arm of Mata Sati, an incarnation of the Mother Goddess, fell. Within the Holy Cave of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, there are stone remnants resembling a human hand, popularly known as Varad Hast (the hand that grants boons and blessings). The three forms of the Goddess in cave are Maa Saraswati, Maa Lakshmi, and Maa Kali.
How to reach Vaishno Devi temple?
One can reach Katra City by Air, by bus or by Train
- By Air: The nearest airport to Vaishno Devi Temple is the Jammu Airport, which is about 50 kilometres away. From there, you can take a taxi or a bus to reach Katra.
- By Train: The nearest railway station to Vaishno Devi Temple is the Katra Railway Station, which are well-connected to major cities in India. From the railway station, you can take a taxi or a bus to reach the temple With start of Railway station specially Shree Shakti Express, Uttar Sampark Kranti and Vande Bharat Express train there is huge increase in devotees to Katra and Mata Vaishno Devi Temple.
- By Road: Sleeper buses and Volvos from various states provide passenger services to Katra bus station regularly You can take a direct bus from other states like Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan, U.P, M.P etc to Katra bus station or reach by train to Jammu and then by bus or taxi to Katra, From Katra bus station take Auto or taxi to Banganga and then start walking by foot on yatra.
· Helicopter Ticket
One can Book Helicopter Ticket to reach Shanjichat from where the Bhawan is 2 kms approx.
Always book ticket from official website or by visiting helicopter ticket booking counter at Katra. Helicopter takes only 8 Minutes to reach Shanjichat.
Vaishno Devi Yatra Details
The Sacred Yatra From Katra to Bhawan
- The pilgrimage to Mata Vaishno Devi Katra begins at the bustling town of Katra, situated in Reasi District of Jammu in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. From here, devotees embark on a spiritual journey, covering a distance of approximately 13 kilometres on foot to reach the holy shrine.. The devotees chant hymns, sing devotional songs, and offer prayers throughout the journey, creating an atmosphere brimming with devotion and serenity.The track passes through picturesque landscapes, with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and lush green valleys, providing a perfect blend of natural beauty and spirituality.
- Banganga:- Beginning from Banganga, which is 1 kilometre away from Katra, one can take a holy dip in Banganga rivulet, where one can take Langer (free food service) in Banganga and proceeds further to yatra.
- Charanpaduka Temple:-
After travelling for about 2.5 kilometres pilgrims reach Charanpaduka Temple it is named so as it contains Charan Padukas (foot prints) of Mata Vaishno Devi in temple.
After darshan at charanpaduka next stop is Adkuwari which lies about 3 kilometres away from Charanpaduka. Adhkuwari is almost half of the distance of this yatra In Adhkuwari an ancient cave is there named as Garbhjoon, wherein the Devi is believed to have hidden for 9 months, in order to protect herself from Bhairon Nath.
- From Adkuwari there are two treks The New Trek and the Old Trek.
- New Track: – New track is Shorter and easy this track is plain, no steep climbs are there in this path but this track misses out the important places of significance related to Yatra.
- Old Track:- Old track proceed to Sanjichat which is about 4 kilometres from Adkuwari. This section of Yatra involves steep climb known as Hathimatha (Elephants forehead) section .This is the highest point of this track, from where travellers can get a breathtaking aerial view of Katra, Udhampur, Reasi, and Jammu.
After reaching Shanjichat further track is 2.5 kilometres downhill journey, which leads to Bhawan, the sacred shrine and Holy Cave of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi.
Mata Vaishno Devi Darshan at Bhawan
On reaching Bhawan you feel that the atmosphere reverberates with devotion as pilgrims eagerly await their turn to seek the blessings of Mata Vaishno Devi. The temple is intricately adorned with beautiful carvings and sculptures, exemplifying the architectural grandeur of the region. The inner sanctum, also known as the Garbhagreha, houses the holy 3 Pindis (manifestations) of the goddess.
One can take rest and bath and perform Darshan of 3 Pindis (Rock Form of Deity). After completing their darshans, devotees must proceed to Bhairon Nath temple, which lies at a 1.45 kilometres approximately from bhavan by foot.
One can trek this distance by foot or take a Gondola ride from Bhawan to Bhairon Baba Temple.
It is said that Darshans of Mata Vaishno Devi will be Assumed completed only if One performs Bhairon Baba darshan after performing Deity’s darshan. (After being beheaded by Deity, Bhairon Nath realized his mistakes and asked for forgiveness. Mata Vaishno Devi had mercy on Bhairon and gave him a boon. The boon was that pilgrimage of a devotee would be complete only when they will have darshan of Bhairon Nath temple after having Darshans of the Goddess). So next time when you come for Mata Vaishno Devi darshan, do darshan of Bhairon Baba also.
Vaishno Devi is believed to bestow strength to weak, sight to blind, wealth to poor Beauty to ugly and bless childless couples with children. This very powerful deity is benevolent enough to fulfil all of her devotees’ wishes. This is why followers visit her shrine regularly. Some people even visit her shrine in every Sankranti.
Facilities at Vaishno Devi Bhawan Yatra
Some of facilities provided throughout the yatra are given below. You can use these facilities during the Yatra.
- Well Lit and Fenced Track along with Shops.
SMVDU maintains and updates yatra track on regular basis with fencing on one side of track also the track has proper lighting arrangements for night travellers. Shops were located throughout the track till Ardhkuwari. New Track Has very limited shops so carry your eatables and water bottle along with you if you are going through new track, drinking water points were placed at some points.
- Shelter and Security
In order to protect Pilgrims from shooting stones various sheds, shelters and canopies were made in risky areas State Police is also deployed throughout the track to facilitate the pilgrims in case of any emergency.
- Cloak Rooms
Cloak rooms are provide to devotees for keeping there Valuables before pwerforming darshan as no items other than Prasad is allowed inside the Holy Cave
- Blankets Store at Bhawan
Blankets are provide to pilgrims at nominal security fees, as the nights are very cold at Bhawan and yatries need blankets to spend night at bhawan fee will be refunded on depositing the blanket back to stores.
· Dormitories and Rest Rooms
Dormitories and rest rooms were also provided at nominal cost per bed to rest at night as it is sometimes difficult to return back on same day when family with children and elderly visit Holy Temple They Operate on First Come First serve Basis
· Medical Facilities
As the trek comprises of some steep climbs Shri Mata Vaishno Shrine Board and State Govt operates Dispensaries at various places of track.
A Multitude of Faith and Festivities
Vaishno Devi Katra is not only a place of religious significance for Hindus but also a testament to India’s cultural diversity. Pilgrims from different walks of life, faiths, and regions come together, transcending barriers, to seek the blessings of the divine mother. The annual festivals of Navratri and Deepawali witness an influx of devotees, adding to the fervour and vibrancy of the place. The air is filled with the fragrance of incense, the sound of temple bells, and the joyous chants of devotees, creating an ethereal ambience.
Beyond the Divine:
While Vaishno Devi Katra is primarily known for its spiritual aura, there is more to explore in this enchanting region. The nearby town of Katra offers a range of accommodations, restaurants, and shopping opportunities, catering to the needs of pilgrims. After Reaching Back to Katra after yatra One can go to Devi Pindi trek, Nav Devi (9 devian)Temple , Baba Jitto temple, Dhansar Baba shrine, and Baba Siad place, A must Visit palaces if you want to perform darshans and see beauty of local place.
Tourist Places Near Mata Vaishno Devi Katra
There are some famous tourist’s spots near Katra Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine. Many people after performing darshan of Holy Shrine take a day off for rest and move toward these beautiful Tourist spots which will diminish all fatigue due to steep climbs of yatra. Some of these Tourist spots are:-
Patnitop is situated in Udhampur 80 km from Katra , Patnitop is a scenic hill station of Udhampur District known for its Conifer trees and adventure sports. It is located at an altitude of 2,024 meters and offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
· Baba Dhansar Reasi
Baba Dhansar is a popular pilgrimage site located around 15 km from the temple. It is known for its beautiful waterfall and the Shivling located in a cave near the waterfall. People can Bath nearby stream of natural and cool water in summers. Children’s enjoy a lot there.
Pancheri is a beautiful small hill spot in Udhampur distt. It is about 80 kms from Katra if you are a person who enjoys calm and cool Hill station Pancheri is a place to go. Basic facilities are limited there and road is broken at few places but it’s worth visiting, far from hustle bustle of city.
Vaishno Devi Katra is a mystical pilgrimage destination that beckons devotees from far and wide. It is a place Wishes of Devotees made true, where faith intertwines with nature’s beauty, leaving a lasting impression on the souls of those who embark on this sacred journey. The aura of divinity, the breathtaking landscapes, and the collective devotion of millions make Vaishno Devi Katra an unforgettable experience that ignites the spirit and nourishes the soul.
“Jai Mata Di”
Frequently Asked Questions
You Can reach Katra By bus Train and by air
Railway station and bus station were present in katra but if you plan to come by air then nearest airport is Jammu, after jammu you have to take either train or bus to reach Katra city.
There is no age limitation for Vaishno Devi Yatra.
It is approximately 13 kilometres.
You can travel by foot or travel by air by booking Heli tickets or by ponies palkies and horses available at banganga.
A yatra registration slip is must.
Patnitop, Nathatop, Sanasar and Pancheri are some of famous tourist hillstations
A comfortable track suit and track shoes, suncscreen, googles, cap (used in day travelling)
Pack a pair of light woolens if travelling in months from july to october
pack heavy woolens in month of november to feburary.
From official website link of SMVDSBK.
link is provided in article above