Vaishno Devi (also known as Mata Rani, Trikuta, Ambe, and Vaishnavi) is a folk manifestation of the Hindu Mother Goddess, Devi. The words “Maa” and “Mata” are commonly used in India for mother, and thus are often heavily used in connection with Vaishno Devi.
Vaishnavi was formed from the combined energies of Parvati, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. The temple is located in Katra, India.
About Mata Vaishno Devi Mandir in Katra, Jammu
The second-most visited Hindu pilgrimage destination in India, Vaishno Devi Cave Temple is situated in the Trikuta Hills in Katra, Jammu & Kashmir. Hindu devotees from all over the world visit this famed religious site where the Mother Goddess or Vaishno Devi is said to fulfill their wishes. This religious place is considered the most important Shaktipeeth as it is believed, here the skull of the Goddess Sati fell.
At Vaishno Devi Cave, the goddess is in the form of a five and a half feet tall rock which has three heads or the Pindies. On Vaishno Devi pilgrimage, devotees make traditional offerings to Mata of chunri (a red coloured drape), sarees, dry fruits, silver or gold ornaments, cholas, flowers, etc.
History of Vaishno Devi
Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board was formedu in 1986 and ever since this most popular religious site in Jammu started to attract a lot of Hindu pilgrims.
The holy cave of Vaishno Devi is said to have been discovered by Pandit Sridhar, a Hindu priest. Goddess Vaishnavi appeared in the dream of the priest and instructed him on how to find here abode on Trikuta Hills. The priest following her instruction heads out for the journey after the dream and found the cave as instructed earlier. Vaishno Devi appeared to him and blessed him with four sons. She also gave him the boon of being the custodian of the cave. Even today, Pandit Shridhar’s descendants abide by the commitment.
The temple does not allow photography and videography.
Mata Vaishno Devi was born as Vaishnavi and was asked by the goddesses who created her to live on earth and spend her time attaining a high level of consciousness. She was then later directed by Lord Rama to set up an Ashram at the base of Trikuta Hills, meditate and grow spiritually; and she did as she was directed.
When the goddess started to stay in Trikuta Hills in Katra, Mahayogi Guru Goraksh Nathji sent his disciple, Bhairon Nath to test if the goddess had attained the higher level of spirituality yet. However, Bhairon Nath gradually lost the sense of purpose and fell in love with her, and started to annoy her to marry him.
In order to continue her Tapasya/meditation undisturbed, Vaishnavi fled to the mountains but was chased by Bhairon Nath. The goddess killed him and while dying, Bhairon Nath realized his mistake, and thus, asked for forgiveness. Shri Mata Vaishno Devi not only forgave him but also granted him a boon. Each devotee performing a pilgrimage needs to have the Darshan of Bhairon after the goddess’; and only then would the Vaishno Devi Yatra will be complete.
A 13-km trek from Katra town in Jammu Region leads to Vaishno Devi pilgrimage site where the goddess manifests herself in the natural rock formation (holy pindies) in the sanctum sanctorum (cave). A tunnel was used by the devotees to reach the sanctum sanctorum of this holy site in Jammu. However, due to its narrowness, two new tunnels are built that help in the swift movement of pilgrims who come in queues here.
Helicopter Service for Mata Vaishno Devi Temple
A helicopter service from Katra to Sanjhichatt, from where the shrine is just 2.5 km away.
Vaishno Devi Temple is open throughout the year, however, the best time to visit is between March and October. Devotees also like to plan their pilgrimage during the holy time of Navratras.
Things to Know Before Visiting Mata Vaishno Devi Temple
A trek of 13 km takes one to Vaishno Devi, however for those who are unable to walk, ponies are also available. A ropeway is constructed between Vaishno Devi Cave and Bhairon Ghati. Alcohol is strictly banned in Katra and vegetarian food is available in the town. Cameras are not allowed on the trek, thus, one should leave them in their hotels.
A yatra slip has to be obtained from Yatra Registration Counter near Bus Station in Katra. One is not allowed to visit Vaishno Devi without the yatra slip. Confirm the rates of porters, palanquins, and ponies before hiring them.