Mata Vaishno Devi temple
Mata Vaishno Devi temple is recognized as one of the “Shakti Peeths” of goddess ‘ Durga’.This holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi which is situated in the folds of mighty ‘Tirkuta’ Hills’, visits here lakhs of devotees from all parts of India and abroad . . The Holy Cave of the Mother is situated at an altitude of 5200 ft. The Yatris have to undertake a trek of nearly 12 km from the base camp at Katra.
The Town Katra is 50 Kms away from Jammu and 35 Kms from District HQ Udhampur and is linked by road. The Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine is one of the most popular Shrines of India
People who visit here, constitute a heterogeneous profile comprising of wealthy & poor, aged & young, males & females from within and outside the country. The Shrine of goddess ‘Vaishno Devi’ is reached by an arduous climb.
The scenic beauty, the landscape around and the constant chanting of ‘Jai Mata Di’, leaves a mystic effect on the devotees. At the culmination of their pilgrimage the devotees are blessed with the ‘Darshans’ of the deity in her three manifestations as three Pindies, located inside the sanctum- sanatorium, which is open for the devotees through out the year in all seasons.It is truly a spiritually uplifting experience to witness the faith of the devotees, who are motivated to the heart by three words being chanted since the ages.
“Jai Mata Di”
Vaishnavi’ means the one who is related to lord “Vishnu”. Goddess Vaishnavi is the manifestation of the collective spiritual strengths of Mata Maha Kali, Mata Maha Lakshmi and Mata Maha Saraswati. It isseen from Durga sapatshati that the goddess was born as a young girl of extraordinary beauty and strength, out of the collectively pooled ‘Tejas’ of various ‘Devtas’ and three lords Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh . The immediate purpose of the creation of the goddess was the annihilation of Asura (devil) Mahishasura. However another purpose of her creation was that she might usher on earth an era of pious and ascetic life so that the peace could prevail upon the world and she through her penance could rise to higher levels of spirituality and ultimately merge with Vishnu.
Vaishno Devi Temple is a door way to religious affair and tradition. The very important activity lies in the Aarti, performed by the Pujaries. It is performed twice a day with the morning sunrise and evening sunset. The ritual starts with the loud chanting of Mantra’s, accompanied with uttering 108 names of Goddess Durga. Following this the Aatm Puja is performed for their own purification. With applying Tilak on each other’s forehead, the puja further continues with worshiping .Prithvi, Surya, Deep and Dhoop. After a strong devotion of two hours the aarti ends up with a vow to Mata Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi Vaishno Mata and Mata Maha Saraswati. At the culmination of their pilgrimage, the yatries are blessed with the Darshans of the Mother Goddess inside the Sanctum Sanctorum- the Holy Cave. These Darshans are in the shape of three natural rock formations called the Pindies. There are no statues or idols inside the Cave. Darshans are open round the clock throughout the year.