Vaishno Devi Temple
Vaishno Devi is a well- known goddess of India. It is popular by two other different names and i.e. Mata Rani and Vaishnavi. It is another picture of mother DURGA. The holy Hindu temple of India is Vaishno Devi Temple.The temple of Vaishno Devi is situated in the Trikuta Mountain. It is positioned 61 km north of Jammu which lies in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. The monument of Vaishno Devi resides in a cave that is located in the lower Himalayas. The base camp for vaishno Devi memorial is Katra i.e. the town at the foot of the Trikuta hills.A number of devotees from India and abroad are attracted towards this temple as it is a saying that Mata Rani hears and eradicate every wish and sorrow of her true devotee. The constant chanting of “Jai Mata Di” provides mental peace to the devotees. The doors of this shrine are open throughout the whole year. Its journey is difficult in winters as it is blocked by snowfall.
The yatra of Vaishno Devi has been started from Katra. Yatris get ‘Yatra Parchi’ from Katra only so as to have the Darshan of Mata. Yatris are not charged even 1 Re for ‘Yatra Parchi’. The yatra of Vaishno Devi is being started after taking this ‘Parchi’. We have to make entry at ‘Baan Ganga’ check post after 3 hours of taking the ‘Parchi’. The ‘Yatra Parchi has got lapsed if entry at check post is not made. Therefore to take the ‘Parchi’ is a convenient option of Yatra.Katra is located at 2500 feet above the sea level. Different modes of transport are available for completing the yatra from katra to Bhawan. These modes of transport are as follow: own vehicle, auto-rickshaw, helicopters, ponies, palanquins, pittus and foot.
Security And Some Tips
There are many arrangements are made for security. For the security of devotees there is provision of X-Ray Baggage Inspection Systems and Door Frame Metal Detectors. CCTV cameras are installed to visualize the activities of devotees. Yatris should not carry cash and ornaments with them. They should place their luggage at column rooms (extra rooms provided for placing the luggage and belongings).
When To Visit
The shrine can be visited throughout the year. There is so much rush in the month ofMay, June and July. As people has to wait for a long hours for the darshan of Mata so the time to visit the shrine during rush should be avoided. It is opened all the days of the week. The timings are 5:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM. The duration of the visit is 14 hours. There is no entry fee to visit the temple.
What To See And Do
There is entire route of 13 Km. The path is cleaned and swept time to time. There is an arrangement of refreshment and food place to place. The yatra of Vaishno Devi consists of four stoppage and they are:
- Darshani Darwaja or Darshan Deodhi
The key ingress of Trikuta Hills called as Darshani Darwaja or Darshan Deodhi as Trikuta hills can be viewed from here completely. It is the place where meeting of Vaishno Devi Mata and Devotee Shridhar had taken place.
- Ardhakuwari Temple:
After crossing 6 KM there comes the holy cave named as Ardhakuwari. The Ardhkuwari Temple lies in the mid of Vaishno Devi Yatra. Mata resided here for 9 months to hide from Bhairo Nath. When he found and chased her then she moved toward Bhavan. The yatra of Vaishno Devi is not prolific without visiting this Temple. Another name of Ardhkuwari Temple is Garbha Joon.
There is arrival of Sanji Chhat after 9.5 KM of journey. The distance between sanjichhat and bhawan is 2.5 Km. To cross the way towards bhawan the Yatris have to walk downhills from
SanjiChhat.The facility of accomodations like rooms, hotels and Dharmshalas is provided here. The fresh food is also provided here at judicious prices. It also consists of hospitals so as to provide medical facilities to the devotees.
The final place which is the end point of Yatris is Bhawan. It is the holy cave where Mata killed Bharion Nath and abandoned her human form and took the form of rock and finally settled here to bless the people. Devotees after reaching Bhawan have the Darshan of mata. There is a long queue for darshan. The darshan of mata is done by mean of token system. Token reveals the group no. and the time for the Yatri’s turn. The idol of mata is made up of marble wearing red poshak. After Darshan the process of aarti takes place which is completed in 2 hours. After aarti the parshad is distributed among Yatris. Makhane, dry fruits and coconuts are distributed among devotees as parshad with red oodhni of Mata.
- Bhairon Mandir:
The Bhairon Mandir is 3 km away from bhawan. When Mata killed Bhairon nath then he realized his mistake and apologized in front of her as a result of it she had put mercy on him and gave him a boon that he would be worshipped by people after her worship. The Yatra would only be completed after the darshan of Bhairon Mandir. The coconut has been offered to the Bhaironji and bhabhuti is distributed among the devotees as parshad.
Where To Stay
There are many dharamshalas in Katra so as to provide stay at reasonable price. These dharamshalas are: Badri Yatri Niwas, Dharambir Dharamshala, Rawalpindi Dharamshala, Sonu Dharmshala, Nav Durga Mandir Trust and Jagdamba Yatri Niwas etc.
Where Else To Stay
There are many hotels near Vaishno Devi temple which provide stay along with luxury. These hotels are: Hotel Bhawani International, AMR Lords Eco Inn, Hotel Katra Continental, Hotel The Vaishnodevi, Hotel Asia Vaishno Devi and Hotel Bandhu Palace etc.
The festival of Navaratri is not only celebrated in the temple itself but in whole of the town called Katra. The whole town is adorned with marvelous decorations and people from every corner flocked towards the temple at this time. It is the festival of nine days and beginning of celebration is marked by showering of flowers from the helicopters on the very first day of Navaratri. The temple is adorned with flowers brought from Russia, Sweden, Norway and other countries during Navaratri. Devotees celebrate the festival of Navaratri with great joy and enthusiasm.
There are many places to visit near Vaishno Devi temple. These places are: Raghunath Temple, Dera Baba Banda, Shiv Khori, Banganga, Himkoti, Bhimgarh fort, Baba Dhansar, Gori Temple, Dudhari Temple and nandini wildlife sanctuary.
Yatris should take a personal diary in order to trap the whole visit in a written form along with the feelings and emotions at that moment. Yatri should hire a tourist guide to have a complete knowledge of the whole trip. Yatris should take first aid for curing the frequent injury.
Hence, this is the devotional tour which visualizes true faith and spiritualism.