Monday, April 22, 2024

Tourism      Pilgrim Centers      Temples      Jammu and Kashmir     Katra    

Vaishno Devi Temple




Jammu & Kashmir



Holy cave shrine of Vaishno-Devi 

Best time to Visit


Throughout the year except during winters

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The holy cave shrine of Vaishno-Devi is situated in the Trikuta Mountains of lower Himalayas in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The shrine is approachable on foot along a 12 kms trek from Katra town at the foot of the hills. Vaishno Devi, is mother goddess worshiped here in the forms of Maha Kali,  Maha Saraswathi and Maha Lakshmi. Thousands of Pilgrims from all over the world visit the holy shrine throughout the year except in winter. 

Legend behind the shrine

Vaishno Devi, a devotee of Lord Vishnu, used to pray to Lord Rama and had taken vow of celibacy. One day, Bhairon Nath, a demon-God, saw her and gave chase. The Goddess felt thirsty at Banganga (1kms from Katra) and shot an arrow into the earth from where water gushed out. 'Charan Paduka', marked by the imprints of her feet, is the place where she rested. She then meditated in the cave at Ardhkanwari ( 6kms) now a temple.  It took Bhairon Nath nine months to locate her.

Vaishno Devi assumed the form of Maha Kali and cut off Bhairon Nath's head, which fell at the place where the Bhairon Temple is now located. Vaishno Devi journeyed up to the mountains and took the present cave shrine as her home. The boulder at the mouth of the holy cave, according to the legend, is the petrified torso of Bhairon Nath who was granted divine forgiveness by the benevolent Mata in his dying moments.

The offerings for the goddess include coconut, mauli (sacred thread), red scarf with gold/silver trimmings, dry fruits, bangles, and incense and vermilion powder. Other offerings include ‘mehndi' (henna), ‘supari' (areca nut) and ‘chattar' (umbrella). 

All pilgrims are required to get passes at Katra for the yatra (pilgrimage) from Tourism Reception Centre, Katra Bus Stand. Facilities for food, water and public utility  are available all along the trek.  Overnight accommodation available enroute at Sanji Chhat and also at the shrine. Pony or Palanquin services are available for those who find it difficult to climb the trek.  The cave shrine is narrow and pilgrims have to walk through a running stream of cold water Charan Ganga to get to the sanctum sanctorum.