Sri Mata Vaishno Devi: A Sacred Shrine to visit during ‘Navratras’!
The Hindu Religion worships some 33 million Gods and Goddesses. Of these the Prime Deities are Lord Brahma (The Creator), Lord Vishnu (The Preserver) and Lord Shiva (The Destroyer) around whom the entire God fraternity evolves and runs. Similar to Prime Gods, Prime Goddess Deities are the Goddess Durga (the Eternal Source of Energy and Power that eliminates the ‘Evil’), Goddess Lakshmi (the Eternal Source of Monetary Prosperity) and Goddess Parvati. According to the Hindu Mythology, the Supreme Goddess of Energy & Power, Goddess Durga helps prevailing ‘Truth’ over ‘Lie’ and ‘Good’ over ‘Evil’. There areNine Incarnationsof Goddess Durga that signify a complete elimination of the evil. During the bi-annual celebrations of the auspicious ‘Navratras’(the Nine Divine Nights and days) all across India and even outside of India, all Nine Incarnations of Goddess Durga are worshipped by Hindus – each day for each Incarnation. Maa Vaishno Devi is one of the most Sacred Hindu place of worshipping Goddess Durga. Statistics suggest that every year hundreds of thousands of pilgrims visit Mata’s Shrine to seek her Blessings. If the statistics have to be believed, during the 1980s, there were nearly 10 million human pilgrims visiting the Shrine annually. In 35+ years thereafter, in 2015 the pilgrims’ footfall broke the 100 million barrier!
The journey to the Shrine of Her Holiness- an experience of a lifetime!
Maa Vaishno Devi Shrine is located about 14 Kms. (about 9 miles) from Katra, a small Town in Reasi District in the Northern Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir. Katra is the main and only access to the Shrine. One of the most revered worship places of worship of Hindu Religion, Maa Vaishno Devi is located at about 1615 metres above the sea level. Ever since the upkeep and maintenance of the Shrine has come under the aegis and control of the ‘Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board’, an autonomous regulatory body appointed by the State and Central Governments, the pilgrimage route to the Shrine, which otherwise was a very difficult journey for the pilgrims, has been made much easier. Now a days various travel facilities like Paalki ride, Mule ride or even a Helicopter ride to the top In the early 20th century, it was a small stony road to be covered on foot. There are three major destination halts on the way to top. According to the legends, these three places were the hiding routes of Vaishnavi while trying to negate the advancements of Bhairon Nath. The first one is Baan Ganga which is a few kilometres from Katra. The next one being Charan Paduka and the mid-way point being ArdhKuwari. The journey beyond Ardhkuwari tests the dedication of even the most loyal pilgrims. It is a steep walk upwards. Some old theories suggest that to keep the pilgrims motivated the milestone numbers were cleverly manipulated to show a lesser distance to be covered!
Other legends and the folklores
According to a legend, a disciple of Guru Gorak Nath named Bhairon Nath was given the task to espionage the movements of Sadhavi (Female Saint) Vaishnavi, who was worshipping Lord Rama in the mountains of Trikuta. He fell in love with her and started to attempt gaining her courtship. A Saint for life, Sadhavi Vaishnavi refused him and foiled all his attempts to woo her. Bhairon Nath started to pester her and followed her wherever she went. Running out of patience one day, Vaishnavi beheaded him with her bow and arrow. The soul of Bhairon Nath after realizing its absurdity, pleaded mercy to her. She forgave him and blessed him that the place where he was beheaded will be place of worship as well for all pilgrims visiting her Shrine. She further Blessed him saying that for any pilgrim visiting her Shrine, the pilgrimage will be incomplete unless his temple was also visited. Hence all pilgrims to Mata Vaishno Devi also visit Bhairon Nath’s cave, so as to make their pilgrimage complete in all respects. There are many folklores attached with the origin of Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine and each one seems true. It is up to the best faith and beliefs of the devotees that they follow which folklore.
A‘Call’from Holy Goddess….
The most followed folklore for the visiting pilgrims depicts that without the ‘permission’ of the Mata Vaishno Devi, no one can visit Her and seek Her Blessings. It is only HERSELF who gives her devotees a‘bulaawa’(A call). A well pre-planned pilgrim may not materialize at all and an empty-pocketed person may land up at her Shrine – all by the virtue and wish of the Goddess. There have many first hand testimonials recorded on this matter.
The auspicious ‘Navratras’ are approaching soon and it is the best and appropriate time for you to visit the Holy Shrine. You too can seek Mata Rani Vaishno Devi’s Blessings that will shower all prosperity and happiness on you and fill your life with utmost peace and content. All you need to do is to pray with utmost dedication and sincerity to Her that she gives you a ‘bulaawa’ (a call) to visit Her Shrine and seek Her Blessings. A must visit place for all Religious Hindus, Maa Vaishno Devi grants utmost safety to Her followers and thwarts all evil and obstacles from their ways. For any assistance on planning your pilgrimage tour, you can safely rely on the Team Tourist Spots in India (TSII). You may kindly write to us at or call us at +91 . We will be most happy to assist you in devising most comfortable travel packages at attractive prices.
Let’s sing together aloud – “Jai Mata Di!’’