: Situated at an altitude of 5200 ft above sea level in the state of
Jammu & Kashmir. The Vaishno Devi shrine is nestled in the Trikuta
Mountain. It about 650 km from Delhi, the capital of India.
Time : Any time of the year.
Perched on top of the Trikuta Hills at a height of 1,700 mtrs is the sacred
cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi, the Mother Goddess. At a distance of 61
kms from Jammu, the cave is 30 mtrs long and just one and half mt high. The
Holy Cave Shrine of Maa Vaishno Devi is one of the most revered holy sights
of India, visited by the people of almost all the religions. The holy shrine
is visited by millions of Indians from all parts of the country.
At the end of the cave are shrines dedicated to the three forms of the
mother goddess Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasarasvati. Pilgrims to
Vaishno Devi have to enter in small groups through a narrow opening and walk
through ice-cold waters to reach the shrines. There are many legend
associated to the Holy shrine. According to legend, the Mother Goddess hid
in the cave while escaping a demon, whom she ultimately killed. It is
believed that devotees visiting the Mata or Mother for the fulfillment of
their wishes, never returns empty handed. There are some visitors to Vaishno
Devi for no other reason than their wish to see Mata.
The shrine of Vaishno Devi is reached through Katra, which lies 13 km from
the shrine and is the base point for the pilgrimage. From Katra, pilgrims
climb one km to Banganga, where the goddess is believed to have stopped to
drink water; 6 km further is the cave shrine of Ardhkunwari, where it is
believed she 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
Reaching Vaishno Devi -
The nearest airport is in Jammu, which is 48 km from Katra.
There is a helicopter service that departs from the airport at Sanjhi Chat
in Jammu in the morning. The ride costs about Rs. 2,000 one way (baggage 2
kg, 15 minute)
The nearest train station is in Jammu.
There are regular buses leaving for the 52 km trip from the
central bus stand in Jammu to where the road ends at Katra (2 hr).
From Katra it is a steep 13 km walk. You can rent a horse or
be carried up from Katra. You can go up to the cave and back in the same
day. It takes about 4 hours to climb up and 3 hours to come down. Pilgrims
must get a Yatra-Slip from the tourist reception center near the bus stand
in Katra to get pass Ban Ganga. It is a hard climb to Vaishno Devi.