Located in Trikuta hills, 13 km from Katra at the height of 1560 m above sea level with bright clouds and thinning air, this town is the holy cave temple of Mata Vaishnodevi, with spirituality and vibrancy lingering in the atmosphere.
Revered and highly believed in, thousands of Pilgrims visit each year to seek blessings and show unflinching faith in this temple. Vaishno Devi is a religious trekking destination where pilgrims walk about 13 km uphill to reach the little caves which is among one of the 108 Shakti Peetha. Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani is a manifestation of Durga, a Goddess according to Hindu mythology. The trek itself is very enjoyable, though it might be a little difficult for kids and elderly people. However, ponies and palanquins are available by various vendors to take you there at the top. The whole way is decently paved with lots of shops selling snacks, food items and various religious goods. The pilgrims show their dedication and enthusiasm by shouting slogans and singing songs in the praise of Maa Vaishnavi all along the road. Overall, a great place if you are inclined towards both Hinduism and nature.
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It is advisable to avoid monsoons. The rush is relatively less during the monsoons but heavy downpour makes it a bit difficult to walk to the Bhavan.
Bahut hi shandaar jagah hai aur yaha aa ke kaafi aatmik shanti milti hai mataji ke darshan se saare dukh dur ho jate hsi
- Do not forget to get Yatra Parchi√•√?on whose absence, you will have to return from Ban Ganga. Visitors keep shouting the slogans in praise of Maa Vaishno Devi to keep everyone motivated. You might join the wagon and you might find it really interesting and motivating.
Home to a spiritual culture. Revered site for Hindus. Well connected to the rest of India. A nice ambiance on the hills. Lovely in summers.
Congested in peak seasons. Not ideal in winters, unless you are a snow enthusiast. Trek is not very simple for people of all ages.
Vaishno Devi is typically frequented by Hindus and Sikhs from North India. Vaishno Devi also sees a lot of religious devotees from other parts of the country.
Known as 'The Wish-Fulfilling Goddess' or ' Mann Mange Murad Poore Karne Wali' in Hindi, Vaishno Devi is a pilgrimage hotspot located in Trikuta Hills at Katra, in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, India. In reality, Vaishno Devi is a trio of three Goddesses: Mahalaxmi, Mahasaraswati, and Mahakali, who joined forces to create the warrior Goddess Vaishnavi, who had slain the demon overlord Bhairon Nath, and blessed her topmost devotee, Thronged throughout the year by religious devotees, this pilgrimage is a near perfect amalgam of serenity and spiritualism. The view of the sunrise, as well as the sunset from the Trikuta Hills, is absolutely breathtaking. Not to forget, the charm of view the lighted Bhawan in the night, especially during snowfall will leave you astounded for sure. All in all, if you want some spiritualism and scenery combined, go for the holy site of Vaishno Devi.
Although many legends prevail behind the discovery of the Holy Cave, the most accepted one is that of Pandit Sridhar's journey to the same. A devout priest from a nearby village, Hansali, Pandit Shridhar was blessed by Goddess Vaishnavi for organizing a Bhandara in her honor. Her sudden disappearance depressed Shridhar to the core, and he took a fast unto death, hoping for the Goddess to reappear. Distressed by his vow, Goddess Vaishnavi reappeared in his dream and instructed him the way to discover her abode in the cave on Trikuta Hills. The moment he got up, he set off for the journey to the Holy Cave. After days of toiling and traveling long distances, he found the Cave. It is then that Goddess Vaishnavi appeared in her true form and blessed him with four sons, and gave him the boon of being the official custodian of her Holy Cave. To this day, the successive generations of Pandit Shridhar honor this commitment. ††††
The helicopter services to Vaishnodevi are extremely popular, and offer tourists a beautiful ride amongst the clouds to the temple. The services start from the foothills of the Katra and end at Sanjhichatti, and takes approximately 8 minutes. The temple is around 2.5kms from the helipad at Sanjhichatti. Around 5 to 6 passengers can be accommodated in one flight, and each one-way ticket costs INR 1005, while the round fare costs INR 2050 per passenger. Tickets can be availed at the heli-ticket counters, where valid ID proofs and travel documents have to be presented. The tickets can also be booked online (https://www.maavaishnodevi.org/OnlineServices/login.aspx).
Day 1 - If you have reached Katra, preferably in the afternoon, take some rest, and visit the local market in the evening. There are umpteen choices of goods and crafts available here. In terms of accommodation, you can take up either a reservation in the available hotels or in the luxurious guest house built in the vicinity of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra railway station. Day 2 - This is the day when you should ideally start off on your trip. After taking the Yatra slip from the regional office near Bus Stand, Katra, go for the Darshani Darwaza, from where the long trek officially begins. You shall start with Ban Ganga and moving on, cross Charan Paduka. Thereon, you would cross Adi / Ardh Kumari, the turning point for many travelers. By evening, you will have reached the Holy Bhawan. You can either continue your journey from here or rest for the day. Day 3 - This is the day when your Darshan of the Holy Trinity is complete. Before heading down to the base, you should visit Bhairon Nath Mandir, which is the place where the demon overlord was beheaded. As per the boon given by Goddess Vaishnavi, pilgrims must pay a visit to Bhairon Mandir before heading down, or else, their trip will remain incomplete. Once done, you can head back to the base, either on foot or by the helicopter from Sanjhhi Chhat.
Just as Vaishno has a distinct tint in terms of spirituality, religion, culture and traditions, it does so in cuisine too. The influence of these translates into a cuisine that stands out from a larger part of Jammu and Kashmir and borrows a lot from a typical Hindu cuisine. A number of restaurants here will also serve food without onion and garlic.
The local specialties here include chocolate barfi, Sund Panjeeri, Patisa, Rajma with rice, Kalaadi (a type of processed cheese), Kulthein di Dal, Aria (a dish made of potatoes) and Maa da Madra. Other than this traditional North Indian snacks are available and popular. However alcohol may be prohibited in most areas here.
There are Shakti peeths between Pathankot and Himachal Pradesh. Districts Kangra and Una have a Shakti peeth each