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Maa Vaishno Devi

Shikhir Hindu Epic says that Ma Maha Kali was born to Ratnakar Sagar in the southern part of India. As a child she was called Trikuta. Since she was born from Lord Vishnu’s lineage, she was called Vaishnavi. Trikuta, at the age of 9 years, started praying to Lord Vishnu as Lord Rama. As Lord Rama and his army started searching for Sita on the seashore, he was pleased to see the devotion of Trikuta towards him. Thus, Rama gave her the name Vashnavi and promised that in Kaliyug he will manifest at Kaldi and marry her.

When Lord Rama left her with a lion, monkeys and a bow and arrow, Trikuta started meditating and observing Navratras. Lord Rama then defeated Ravana. This is why Hindus read Ramayana during the nine days of Navratra. Lord Rama had made her immortal.

About Vaishno Devi Mandir

One of the most important reasons why people visit Jammu and Kashmir is Vaishno Devi Mandir, dedicated to the Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani. It is a manifestation of Mother Goddess in Hinduism.

Vaishno Devi Temple is located near Katra in Jammu and Kashmir in Reasi district. The shrine is located 5300 feet above the ground, at a distance of 12 kilometres from Katra. It is not hard to believe that this auspicious temple draws a crowd of not less than 8 million pilgrims in a year. After Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, this temple is the most visited one in India. The shrine is maintained by Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.

Pilgrims undertake a trek to travel 12 kilometres from the base of Katra to reach the temple. It’s a Holy Cave that gives views of the Goddess in the form of three rocks or Pindies. You will not see any idol or statue inside the cave. Darshans are open throughout the day and year.


Vaishno Devi Shrine is considered as a Shakti Peeth. It is believed that the Shrine has some connection with the story of Daksha yaga. It is also closely related to Sati’s self immolation. It’s said that this is one of the places where body parts of Sati Devi fell when Lord Shiva wandered from one place to another in sorrow. There are 51 Shakti Peeths in all across the region.


A devotee of Ma Vaishno Devi named Shree-Dhar lived in Hansali, which is 2 km away from Katra. This Goddess is said to have come in front the Pandit as a girl and asked him to conduct a feast for devotees and medicants. The Pandit had invited people from nearby places and a selfish tantric named Bhairav Nath. This Pandit knew that he would have to face consequences in case of a failure to perform Bhandara (feast). But everything went smoothly as the Goddess herself took care of everything.

Bhairav Nath wanted to test the girl and followed her to Trikuta Hills. She kept running away from Bhairav Nath and while doing so she shot an arrow on Earth that gave birth to Baanganga. Pilgrims believe that a dip in the Baanganga will wash off all their sins.

Banks of the river here have footprints of the Goddess and are called Charan Paduka. To attain power and wisdom, Vaishno Devi started meditating in a cave but she took the form of Maha Kali just as Bhairav Nath tried to kill her. The Goddess beheaded Bhairav. The place where his skull fell is called Bhairav Ghati. But Bhairav’s main intention to kill the Devi was to get salvation. When the Goddess understood that, she liberated him from the cycle of reincarnation. He got a boon wherein every devotee who visits the temple, has to visit Bhairav’s temple to complete his pilgrimage. The Goddess took form of the natural rocks and became Pindies. On the other hand, Shree-Dhar was successful in pleasing the Goddess. Since then, Goddess Vaishno Devi is being worshipped by him and his descendants.

Another legend says that the Goddess was born with great strength and beauty. She was created by Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh for the annihilation of Asur devil.

How to Reach

There are daily flights from Delhi and Srinagar to Jammu. After reaching Jammu and Kashmir, pilgrims will have to stay at Katra. They can travel by bus or private cars from the airport or railway station of Jammu. You can take a rickshaw from your respective hotel to the foot of the hill on which the temple is located. You can either walk 12 kilometres to reach atop, go on a helicopter, choose riding on a donkey or sit in the ‘palkis’ carried by four men.

Best Time to Visit

May through July is the time for festivals of Sharad-Ashwin and Chaitra. The weather is pleasant during this time. There may be a mild drizzle now and then but it does not add to the discomfort. December and January are not favourable for a visit to the Temple as you might encounter snowfall.


You will get A/C and non-A/C hotels in Katra. There are a number of budgest hotels, Dharamshalas and guest houses.

The Vaishnodevi Hotel has a strategic location. It proves to be value for money.

Niharika Lodge in Vaishno Devi offers a great experience to the guests. It arranges for helicopter rides to the Shrine.

The Asia Vaishno Devi Hotel offers great facilities to the guest.

Bhawani Z Paradise Hotel is no less than home away from home.

Shivalik Hotel is a budget hotel with proper cleanliness measures and a lot more.

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