Yatra to Vaishno Devi temple in Kashmir :
The Vaishnodevi temple is one of the greatest pilgrim of the Hindus and recognized as one of the Shakti Peethas, loctaed in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir around 12 km away from Katra in the Udhampur district. Vaishno Devi temple is situated at a height of 5300 feet on the Trikuta Hills of Shivalik Range. Every year thousands of devotees visit Vaishno Devi yatra to seek blessings of Goddess Vaishno Devi. Inside the Vaishno Devi temple, middle one represents Goddess Lakshmi, right statue represents Goddess Kali and left one represents Goddess Saraswati.
The abode of Goddess Durga is supposed to be one of the wish fulfilling places, where lakhs of devotees from India and abroad gather for Ma Vaishno Devi’s blessings.
The Vaishno Devi Yatra begins at Katra and pilgrims have to cover 13 km. of terrain on foot to reach the Darbar. One kilometer away from Katra, is a place known as Banganga, where Mata quenched her thirst and at 6 km., the holy cave at Adhkawari. After 6 km. of trekking, the yatries reach Adhkawari, the holy cave where Mata meditated for nine months.
The Vaishno Devi shrine is on a mountain can be accessed by feet, on horse back or on Dolly – Seat carried by porters. Also, helicopter services are available from foothill.
Story of Vaishno Devi Mata :
It is described in 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 Shankar. The immediate purpose of the creation of the goddess was the annihilation of Asura (devil) Mahishasura.
The history of the temple depicts Treta Yug, when the virtuous people were beset by the Asuras (demons) Ravana, Kumb-Karan, Khardooshan, Tadka and others. The Gods made the decision to make a heavenly character, in the roop (form) of a girl for their security. The heavenly girl requested the Gods the cause and purpose for her birth. The heavenly forces informed her that she had been created to secure Dharma and revive soul of religious beliefs. She took birth in Southern Indian at Ratnakar Sagar as a girl known as Trikuta. Later the same girl was known as Vaishno because of her getting taking birth from Lord Vishnu’s lineage. The religious beliefs spread by this goddess girl was known as Vaishno-Dharm.
In her life-time Trikuta drawn many devoted followers and saints. The popularity of her heavenly power and magic propagate far and wide. People started visiting the abode of Trikuta to get blessings.
After some time Trikuta desired authorization from her father for getting penance on the seashore. She interceded to Lord Vishnu by means of Rama who achieved teached the seashore alongwith his army in search of Sita, his eyes fell on this heavenly girl in deep meditation. Rama asked Trikuta her name and purpose for penance. She responded that she had approved Rama as her spouse by mind and heart.
On listening to this Shri Ram informed her that he had promised to be trustworthy to his wife. However, Shri Rama wanted that penance of Trikuta should no go waste and unfruitful. Therefore he said to her, “I will definitely come to see you in disguised form. If you can acknowledge me in those days then I will accept you.” It is said that on his return from Lanka, Lord Rama went to see the girl in the form of an old monk (Sadhu) but she did not recognise him as God.
Lord Shri Ram revealed his identity and assured Trikuta that in ‘Kaliyug’ he would manifest himself as ‘Kalki’ would marry her.
He asked Trikuta to meditate in Trikuta range of Manik Mountains, situated in north India. He said that Trikuta would become immortal forever and would become famous as ‘Vaishno Devi’.
Hindus from all over the world visit Vaishno Devi, as it is a second most visited shrine in Indian after Tirupati Balaji Mandir. All type of peoples, whether they are wealthy or poor, younger or old, sick or healthy take the complicated travel from Katra to get to this sacred place.
It is just an awesome experience to see so many people dedicated to their commitment to Mata Vaishno Devi. One Can visit Vaishno Devi temple at any time of the year, but avoid planning Vaishno Devi tours in winter season as it is extremely tough due to the excessive snowfall.