Famous Temple Vaishno Devi
It is one of the holy Hindu temples dedicated to Shakti. It is located near the town Katra, in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, India. Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani and Vaishnavi, is a manifestation of the Mother Goddess. The temple is located at an altitude of 5200 feet and a distance of 14 kilometers from Katra. It is believed to be the second most visited religious temple in India, after Tirumala Balaji Temple.
Mythology says that Ma Vaishno Devi was born in Ratnakar Sagar family in South India. Her parents were childless for a long period of time. After Ma Vaishno Devi was born they named her as Trikuta. Trikuta with her father’s permission went to seashore for penance when she was 9 years old. Trikuta prayed Lord Vishnu in the form of Rama. When Shree Rama was searching for Sita, He reached the seashore along with His army. He saw Trikuta in deep meditation. Trikuta told Shree Rama that she accepted Him as Her husband. Shree Ram told His Incarnation to Trikuta. Shree Ram once vowed that he would be faithful only to Sita and so he cannot marry her now. Pleased with her devotion Lord Rama named her as Vaishnavi (devotee of Lord Rama and assured to marry Her in Kaliyuga when she would take birth as Kali and till then asked her to meditate in the cave found in the Trikuta Range of Manik Mountains in North India. Lord Ram gave her a bow and arrows, army of monkeys and a lion for her protection, Ma decided to observe the ‘Navratra’ for the Victory of Shree Rama against Ravana. And this is the reason people read the Ramayana during the 9 days of Navratra. Shree Rama promised that the whole world would pray Ma Vaishno Devi. Lord Rama also said Trikuta was to become famous as Vaishno Devi and would become immortal.
With the passage of time many stories have emerged about the Mother Goddess. Mata Vaishno Devi is recognized as one of the Shakti Peethas. Lakhs of devotees pay homage to Mata Vaishno Devi every year. Mata Vaishno Devi fulfills all the wishes of her devotees. Devotees come not only from India but other parts of the world. There is no idol of Mata Vaishno Devi inside the cave. There are only three
rocks called as Pindies.
Shree-Dhar was an ardent devotee of Ma Vaishno Devi who resided in a village called Hansali near Katra town. Once Ma appeared to him in the form of a young bewitching girl and asked Pandit to hold a ‘Bhandara’. (A feast to feed the mendicants and devotees) The Pandit invited people from the village and near-by places and also invited ‘Bhairav Nath’ who was selfish tantrik. Bhairav Nath asked Shri-Dhar asked about the arrangements of Bhandra and frightened him by explaining about the failure consequences. When Panditji was worrying the Divine girl appeared and told Him that she would arrange everything. She told him that over 360 devotees would be seated in the small hut. After Bhandara went smoothly Bhairav Nath agreed that the girl had supernatural powers and wanted to test her. He followed the Divine girl to Trikuta Hills and searched for 9 months in the mountains. When Devi was running away from Bhairav, she shot an arrow into the Earth from where water gushed out and the resultant river was known as Baanganga. It is believed that by taking a bath in Baanganga (Baan: Arrow), as Mother Goddess will wash away all his sins. There are foot prints of Mata Vaishno Devi in the bank of the river Charan Paduka which remained till date. Vaishno Devi then took shelter in a cave and meditated for 9 months to attain spiritual wisdom and powers. Her meditation was cut short when Bhairav found her. Vaishno Devi took the form of Maha Kali and killed Bhairav when he tried to kill her. The manifestation of the Mother Goddess took place at the mouth of the Holy cave at Darbar. The Goddess then beheaded Bhairav with such sheer force that his skull fell at a place known as Bhairav Ghati, 2.5 km from the Holy Cave. Bhairav pleaded for forgiveness. So Mata Vaishno Devi granted him a boon that in order to ensure completion of the pilgrimage devotees have to visit Bhairav Nath’s temple near the Holy cave after the darshan of the Goddess.
People can travel in train and also airways as the nearest airport is located at Jammu airport. The management of the devotees and regulation of the shrine is under Mata Vaishno Devi Ji Shrine Board formed in 1986.The accommodation facilities are taken care by the board.