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Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra – Mata Shera Wali Story

Jai mata di.
 

Vaishno Devi Temple is a holy Hindu temple dedicated to Shakti which is situated on the hill of Vaishno Devi in Jammu and Kashmir of India. In Hinduism, Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani and Vaishnavi, is an incarnation of Mother Goddess.

Vaishno Devi is situated in the beautiful hills of Jammu.

Vaishno Devi is situated in the beautiful hills of Jammu.

The temple is situated near the town of Katra in Jammu district of Jammu and Kashmir state. It is one of the most revered holy places in northern India. The temple is located at a distance of 5,200 feet and about 12 kilometers (7.45 miles) from Katra. Every year millions of pilgrims visit the temple and it is the second most visited religious pilgrimage site after the Tirumala Venkateswara temple in India. This temple is maintained by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi shrine. To facilitate pilgrimage, a railway connection has been made from Udhampur to Katra.

THE LEGEND

There are many stories about Mata Vaishno Devi. According to a famous legend, the Goddess, pleased with the devotion of Sridhar, a devotee of Mata Vaishno gave evidence of her existence to the world. Once Brahmin Shridhar hosted a feast in his village and invited all the villagers and saints to it. The villagers did not believe that the poor Sridhar was capable of hosting such a feast. Sridhar also invited Bhairavnath along with his disciples. In the feast, Bhairavnath asked for meat instead of kheer-pudhi. But Sridhar politely declined the request as the feast was in the honor of Goddess Vaishno Devi. The Goddess came in the form of a little girl to the feast to make sure that everything goes well. She tried to put sense into Bhairavnath’s mind but he wouldn’t listen.

Bhairavnath got angry and tried to capture that girl. Mata Vaishno Devi (who was in the form of a little girl) went to the Trikuta Mountains while Bhairavnath chased her. She summoned lord Hanuman and asked her to play with Bhairavnath while she will meditate inside the cave for nine months. Hanumanji spent nine months playing with Bhairavnath to protect the Goddess outside this cave. Today this sacred cave is known as ‘Ardakvavari’.

The charan paduka (footwear) of Goddess can be found near the cave. It is believed that at this point Goddess turned around and glanced at Bhairavnath while she was running. It is said that Hanumanji was with Mata Vaishno Devi to protect her. Hanuman Ji felt thirsty and he requested for water. At that moment the Goddess took a bow and an arrow and shot at a mountain. When the arrow hit the mountain, a stream of fresh water sprung from it and Vaishno Mata washed her hair in it. This stream is known as “Baan Ganga”.

Goddess killed Bhairavnath at the Trikoot mountain and forgave him after he realized his mistake. She gave him the boon that he too will be worshiped. If anyone does not visit his holy shrine then their pilgrimage will remain incomplete. This is the reason that the devotees of Goddess Vaishno Devi visit the temple of Bhairavnath when they go to Vaishno Devi.

Also read: Guru Nanak Dev Ji and the story of Panja Sahib

BHAIRAVNATH TEMPLE

The place where Mata Vaishno Devi slaughtered Bhairavnath is known as ‘Bhawan’ in the whole world. Here Goddess Kali (right), Goddess Saraswati (left) and Goddess Lakshmi resides in the form of Pindi. The combined form of these three Goddess is known as the form of MataVaishno Devi.

When Mata killed Bhairavnath, his head fell 3 kilometers away from the “Bhawan”. This point is known as the Bhairavnath temple.

HOW TO REACH VAISHNO DEVI

The starting point of the journey to Vaishno Devi is Jammu. You can reach Jammu by bus, taxi or airplane. Every year Indian railways run special trains in summer as there is a sudden increase in the number of devotees traveling to Vaishno Devi.

Jammu is located on National Highway No. 1A of India. You won’t face any trouble reaching Jammu. You can get Bus and taxi to Jammu service easily from the major cities of Northern India. The journey to Vaishno Devi’s temple starts from Katra, which is a village in Jammu district. Distance from Jammu to Katra is about 50 km.

Bus service is also available from Jammu railway station to Katra, through which you can reach Katra easily in 2 hours.

THE JOURNEY

The journey to Vaishno Devi starts from Katra by foot. Most of the devotees rest here before starting their journey. People have to climb way up in order to reach Vaishno Devi. They keep on walking the entire night.

Many people visit Vaishno Devi throughout the year.

Many people visit Vaishno Devi throughout the year.

You have to take a slip which is free of cost from Katra before you can start your journey. Three hours after taking the slip you have to register yourself at Baan Ganga checkpoint. You have to go through security check there. Only after that, you can proceed. If you fail to register at the checkpoint six hours after taking the travel slip then your slip will be canceled and you will not be allowed to go further.

Arrangements for food and snacks are made at regular intervals during the journey. This journey is difficult and tiring so you can refresh at these points and start again. There is “clock room” facility also available. You can pay a fixed amount and keep your luggage in these rooms safely and continue your journey.

Katra is situated at an altitude of 2500 feet above sea level. It is the last stop for modern Vehicles (excluding helicopters). You have to travel on foot from here on.

The cave of Mata Vaishno Devi is situated 14 kilometers away from Katra. It is a steep climb from this point. Bhairavnath’s temple is 3 km away from the “Bhawan”. Palanquin and horse riding services are also available.



If you are unable to complete the journey by foot or want to complete it in less time then you can use the helicopter service. Devotees can reach “Sanjhichat” (a place near Bhairavnath temple) from Katra by spending between Rs 700- Rs 1000.

Battery car service is also available. Around 4-5 passengers can sit in these cars.

You can hire local people on rent to carry small children on their back. You have to pay between Rs 250 – Rs 1000 per person for horse riding services. You have to pay extra in order to accommodate small children or overweight person on such services.

WHERE TO STAY

Vaishno Devi shrine board has opened many hamlets and halls in places such as Jammu, Katra, and Bhawan. You can stay in them and refresh yourself. It will be good if you pre-book these hotels if you want to avoid any inconvenience.

You can also stay in private hotels.

During the days of Navratri, millions of devotees visit the place. There is so much rush that the management is forced to stop giving any more slips to avoid undesirable situations.

NEARBY SIGHTSEEING

There are many hill stations near Katra and Jammu where you can enjoy the immense beauty of the valley. Amar Mahal, Bahu Fort, Mansar Lake, Raghunath Temple etc are some famous places in Jammu.

Patni top near Jammu.

Patni top near Jammu.

Patni Top is a famous hill station about 112 km from Jammu. Here in the winter, you can also enjoy snowfall. Near Katra, Shiv Khori, Jhajjar Kotli, Sanasar, Baba Dhansar, Manantalai, Kud, Battote are many other places of interest.

Also read: Life story of Sai Baba of Shirdi – Miraculous tale of a fakir

POINTS TO REMEMBER

  • It is best to visit Vaishno Devi in the summer season.
  • In winters, the minimum temperature falls up to -4 degrees and there is a risk of falling of rocks. So, avoid going in the winter season.
  • Those who have blood pressure problems must not use stairs for the journey.
  • Keep a first aid kit and necessary medicines with you as you can face the problems related to vomiting and jaggery.
  • Don’t take too much luggage with you.
  • Keep a walking stick with you. It will be of great use to you.
  • Wear trekking shoes as they will be comfortable.
  • Keep chanting “Jai Mata Di”. You will feel good.

 
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Holds a Bachelor degree in English Hons. and is pursuing animation which has been his childhood dream.He has a keen interest in writing and unlocking various aspects about different fields of education

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