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Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra

    Place to Visit :
  • Katra
  • Mata Vaishno Devi Darbar (by foot 14 k.m.)

    A TOUR OF THE HOLIEST SHRINE IN INDIA

  • Katra: A small town located around 50 kms from Jammu; it is the starting point for every pilgrim visiting the world famous shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi.

  • After a brief rest and bath, proceed to Mata Vaishno Devi Darbar

  • From Katra it is a trek on foot for 15 kms which takes around 5 to 8 hours depending on the age and fitness level of the person undertaking the trek. For older people who are unable to walk, there is an option of hiring a pony ride as well. For people who don't mind splurging extra money for convenience, there are Helicopter trips available from Katra as well, which operate on 1 way as well as 2 way basis.

  • Arrival at Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in the afternoon

  • Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine: One of the oldest shrines in India; this shrine is located at an altitude of 5300 feet above sea level on Trikuta Hills in the Shivalik Ranges. The abode of Maa Vaishno is in a 100 feet long cave with a narrow opening. Inside the cave, a narrow hill stream with cold and crystal clear waters washes the lotus feet of Maa's 3 'Pindies' that represent Maa Saraswati, Maa Lakshmi and Maa Kali; the creative, preservative and destructive aspects of the Super Power (The Shakti). The Vaishno Devi temple is recognized as one of the "Shakti Peeths" of goddess 'Durga'.

  • Along the route to Mata Vaishno Devi Temple, there are other important holy places as well that find a special mention in the legend involving the salvation of demon Bhairav from the hands of Maa Durga.

  • Bhumika Temple: This Temple is at Darshani Darwaza which is only at the beginning of the trek; located just 1-km from Katra. This is the place where the holy Goddess disappeared. This place is called Darshani Darwaza because the Trikuta Hills are clearly visible from here with their 3 peaks that are said to be the abodes of Maa Vaishno Devi.

  • Ban Ganga Temple: After leaving Bhumika Temple, the Goddess is said to have passed through this place. While she was passing, she saw the brave Langoor (Veer Langoor) feeling very thirsty. To quench the thirst of the Veer Langoor, the Goddess is said to have shot an arrow into the ground from which a holy river was produced which is now known as Ban Ganga. Most pilgrims visiting the Vaishno Devi Shrine proceed forward only after taking a bath in the holy waters of the Ban Ganga here. Pilgrims are also supposed to show the slip they get near the Katra Bus Stand to pass this point which is located at a distance of 3 kms from Katra.

  • Charan Paduka Temple: This is where the Goddess is said to have stopped for some time during her run from Demon Bhairon who was right on her heels all the time. One can see the holy footprints of the Goddess engraved on a stone at this place. Located at a height of 3,380 feet above sea level, this place is 1.5 kms from Ban Ganga..

  • Ardh Kuwari: This is the halfway point leading to the shrine of Maa Vaishno Devi. This place has a 15 feet long cave called Garbha Joon, where the Goddess hid herself for nine months to escape being chased by Demon Bhairon. The cave is pretty narrow, and the pilgrims have to virtually crawl through it to pass. According to legends, when Bhairon finally found this place and went inside the cave to catch hold of the Goddess, the Goddess is said to have made a new opening on the other side using her trident and escaped. Situated at an altitude of 4800 ft above sea level, Ardh Kuwari is 4.5-km from the Charan Paduka Temple.

  • Hathi Matha: Immediately after crossing Ardh Kuwari, the path leading to the Vaishno Devi Shrine gets very steep for about 2.5 kms. This steep path is called Hathi Matha ascent, because the shape of the mountain looks similar to the forehead of an Elephant. From here it is another 1,500-ft climb to Sanjhi Chhatt, and from there another 4 kms to the cave.

  • Sri Ram Temple: This temple is located very close to Maa Vaishno Devi cave. There is also a Shiva-linga in a nearby cave located just 125 steps down from the Ram Temple.

  • Bhairon Temple: Situated at a height of 6,700 feet, this temple is located just 2.5 kms from the holy Vaishno Devi cave. For most pilgrims, it is customary to visit this temple after visiting the Maa Vaishno Devi's Temple. According to the legend, when Bhairon was finally killed by the Goddess, his head flew and fell on this place. There is a huge stone outside the Temple that represents the body of Bhairon. Before Bahiron's death, he had prayed to the Goddess for forgiveness, and the Goddess is said to have blessed him that the wishes of her devotees would only be fulfilled if they visited his Temple after visiting Maa Vaishno Devi's shrine.

  • After Darshanas and a brief rest at the Darbar, proceed down to Katra at night

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