Vaishno Devi Pilgrimage: Best Guide 2020

Overview

Indians are highly connected with their belief. The faith in mythology and its characters makes them drawn towards high altitude temples and shrines. Vaishno Devi Pilgrimage is one such shrine that evokes a sense of reverence in the heart of every visitor. Every year around 80 lakhs visitors greet the pilgrimage site.

The number of visitors varies every year depending on the local weather conditions and festive season like Navratra. During Navratra the place rings with immense devotion and Bhakti from visitors all over the world.

Vaishno Devi is located in Katra, Jammu. It is the northernmost state of Jammu & Kashmir. The final destination can be only reached after crossing the strenuous trek of approximately 12kms. The trek can be a difficult task for someone having breathing problems, arthritis or someone in old age. In such cases, you can avail of the Horse/Ponies or Palkies to cross the path easily.

Names of the divine Goddess

The goddess of the mountain is also worshipped by the name:

  1. Trikuta: The goddess resides at top Trikuta mountain peak.
  2. Jyotawali: The goddess of hope revival, always giving the light of joy and hope in tough times.
  3. SheraWali: Goddess who rides the lion.
  4. Mehrawali Mata : The Goddess of mercy and kindness.

All the names denote characters which reflect positive energy. These are cheered loud by the travellers while walking through the trek and caves.

Facts Of Vaishno Devi Pilgrimage     

Best time to visitAll Year
AreaKatra, Jammu
Altitude5200 fts
LanguageHindi, Dogri
Weather20 °C to 40 °C
Trek Length12 km
Vaishno-Devi-Ardhkuwari Vaishno-Devi-Ardhkuwari
Vaishno-Devi-Pilgrimage-Pindi-Darshan Vaishno-Devi-Pilgrimage-Pindi-Darshan
Vaishno-Devi-Preview Vaishno-Devi-Preview
Vaishno-Devi-Sanjhi-Chat Vaishno-Devi-Sanjhi-Chat
Vaishno-Devi-Shiva-Cave Vaishno-Devi-Shiva-Cave
Vaishno Devi Trail Vaishno Devi Trail
Vaishno Devi Trek Vaishno Devi Trek
Vaishno-Devi Bhawan View from trek Vaishno-Devi Bhawan View from trek
Vaishno-Devi-Enterance-Gate Vaishno-Devi-Enterance-Gate

History Of Vaishno Devi Pilgrimage

The Trikuta mountain has its mention in Rigveda from which the caves derive the proof of being visited for millions of years. The Cave is meant for worshipping the female Goddess Shakti. The Pindis inside the cave represents the three forms of female energy.

The first is a constructive form of Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of knowledge), second is the yellowish Pindi representing Goddess Laxmi(Goddess of wealth) and the third Pindi is a destructive form of female energy representing Goddess Mahakali(Goddess of extreme anger & destruction).

The shrine board does not reveal exact data as to when the place was started as a Holy shrine destination. The officials say that Vedic literature does not give any account of female deity worship.

The first mention of the Goddess worship can be Found in Mahabharata when Pandavas and Kaurav were on the battlefield. The leader Pandava prayed to seek power and blessings from Mother Goddess to claim victory. He referred Jammu as ‘Jamboo’ according to the scriptures.

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    Vaishno-Devi-Pilgrimage

    Jambookatak Chityaishu Nityam Sannihitalaye’,

    Devi residing in the temples on the mountain in Jamboo’ (referring to the present day Jammu).

    The Holy cave is guarded by 5 rocks which are personified as five Pandavas. It is also believed that the first temple at Kol Kandoli and Bhawan was constructed by Pandavas as a sign of reverence for Mother Goddess.

    Another interesting story is of Mahashakti Sati. When ‘Sati’ the wife of Lord Shiva jumped into the fire as a retaliation to his husband’s pride at her parents home, Lord shiva became very sad. He carried the corpses of ‘Sati’ in his arms.

    Read more: Shirdi Sai Baba Pilgrimage

    While he was carrying the corpses different parts of her body fell at different places. This cave is believed to be the spot where Mahashakti’s head fell. But mythologist still has a controversy over this fact. Some claim that right hand, whose fossil remains were found in the caves.

    The remains are still preserved and popular amongst Bhakts as ‘Varad Hast’(A hand meant to grant boons and blessings).

    Places On The Way To Vaishno Devi Bhawan

    Ardh Kuwari Cave: This cave was the resting or meditation stop for Mata Vaishnodevi before she finally adopted Bhavan as her permanent abode. It is said that she spent almost 9 months at this place. Today, it is believed travelers find this an alluring site.

    Bhairavnath Temple: This temple is dedicated to a sage called Bhairavnath Baba. He was the divine soul and a great sage. The temple is located 2kms away from the Bhawan.

    Dera Banda Baba: This is a Gurdwara in the name of Baba Banda Bahadur. Baba Banda Bahadur was a favorite disciple of Guru Gobind Singh. The walls are encrypted with the details of war and personnel of the contemporary era.

     Banganga Temple: Banganga was created by the goddess Durga on her way back from Trikuta Hills. The story behind this spring temple is that once Mata Durga while returning from Bhawan saw a  Langoor(Monkey) thirsty. To quench his thirst she shot an arrow in stone that gave birth to this place.

    Charan Paduka Temple: This temple is situated 1.5 km from the Banganga temple. This place is said to be the hiding spot of Goddess Durga when an angry sage Bhairavnath was chasing her. The place is located at an altitude of 3,380 ft.

    Best Time To Visit Vaishno Devi Pilgrimage

    The best time to visit is near Navaratra. It is one of the colorful festivals lasting up to 9 days. Every day is dedicated to 9 forms of Mahadevi. The place is crowded and things may become messy if you go unplanned.

    Read more: Kedarnath Pilgrimage

    Carry essentials for the trek before stepping out. March-April or September- November are the two most favorable time to cherish the vibrance of this pilgrimage destination.

    Tourists Facilities In Vaishno Devi Pilgrimage

    Tarakote Marg: Latest Developments in Vaishno Devi to make the journey easier. An alternate 7km route has been opened for pilgrims. Prime minister Narendra Modi inaugurated this route on May 19, 2018.

    Himkoti: This is a perfect spot to relish hot food, enjoy the spa and scenic beauty. It is located on the new tract around 8.75kms from Katra. Here you will get: Restaurants, Dosa Counters, Cooked Meal Shops, Medicare Shops, Cassette Counters, Artificial Pond, Garden, Meditation Centre

    Palkies: For travellers who are old age but still wish to visit the Mata Rani Darbar palki facility is the convenient option. The prices of hiring are written on Banganga walls but these are negotiable. The main parameters of price are the weight of the individual and distance to be travelled.

    100 kg range between INR 1250 and INR 4500.

    a pilgrim above 100 kg, palki charges are between INR 1400 and INR 5000

    Ponies & Pitthus: Ponies and Pitthu facility is available for travellers who are carrying some luggage with the. You can also hire them if you are just tired in between!

    • The cost of pony service from Banganga to Bhawan is Rs. 1250 (Adult) &. 1450 INR for an extra child.
    • Pithoo charges from Katra for one way is Rs. 350
    • Fares from Bhawan to Katra via Bhairon is INR 400.

    Horse: Horse facility is also available to make travel convenient. The charge is INR 760.

    Electric Auto Facility: For a safe and faster journey you can hire these electric or battery run autos. These run from Adhkuwari to Bhawanand booking can be made online. You can book a maximum of three rickshaws at a time.

    Places to Visit Near Vaishno Devi Pilgrimage

    Baba Dhansar: This is a pompous location having scenic beauty and The Karua jheel. Jheel is considered very sacred and bathing is strictly prohibited. Karua village locals have a very special space for this temple. The place has pilgrims from all over the world who cherish the slowness and simplicity of this place. The peak season when maximum travellers can be seen hanging around is May to July.

    Patnitop: This lies 6640 above sea level and it can be reached through Jammu Srinagar Highway. The most beautiful aspect of this place is it offers something for individuals of every age. Peace for souls and adventure for restless souls! Adventure sports skiing, paragliding, trekking, golfing facilities are also available. The way to Patnitop has cedar and pine trees greeting the visitors all along.

    Dalhousie: Dalhousie has a grandeur of colonial period. The buildings and architecture exhibit architectural intricacies of the colonial period. Nearest railway station to Dalhousie is Chakki Bank (44kms). The place is well suited for college expeditions. Here you get time to introspect your inner self under the starry sky. It’s a Winter wonderland and the best time to visit is between April to November.

    Mcleodganj: You need 5 hours to reach Mcleodganj from Katra. The Gaggal Airport is about 7 km away and the Kangra railway station is 17 km away. This is a hill station in Himachal pradesh and it came to limelight when Dalai Lama made this place his abode. The place celebrates its own endemic Tibetian culture. Foreigners from different places visit this place to seek salvation and enjoy trekking.

    Pahalgam: To know why Kashmir is given the status of heaven on earth it’s mandatory you visit this place on your way back from Katra. You can stay in Aru to capture the scenic beauty. If you visit the place in winters you can find snowfall similar to the one shown in the fairytale of snowwhite.

    Chandanwari: This place is located on the outskirts of Pahalgam. The pilgrimage is a source for the journey to Holy Amarnath Temple. This place is mostly active in monsoon.

    Ladakh: This place is one of the adventurous destinations where you can try sand dune driving. To capture nature in its most ravishing form you must not leave Ladakh and Leh out of your checklist in Jammu.

    Srinagar: The city has everything you have seen in the movies about Kashmir. Highlights of the colorful place remain the apple orchards, the pashmina shawls, shikara and boating in Dal lake and shopping for Pashmina shawls for friends and family way back to home.

    How To Reach Vaishno Devi Pilgrimage

    Delhi → Chandigarh → Kurali → Roopnagar → Bela-Behlampur → Garh Shankar → Mahilpur → Hoshiarpur → Bhunga → Dasuya → Mukerian → Mirthal → Mohtali → Malikpur → Lakhanpur → Kharote → Samba → Vijaypur → Jammu → Jagti → Domel → Manun → Nelay → Katra → Vaishno Devi

    By Road: Major cities like Delhi, Chandigarh have buses directly. People from other locations might require changing buses at different locations.

    By Train: There are trains to Jammu from Lucknow, Delhi, Mumbai, and other major railway stations. After reaching Jammu you can hire a taxi to reach Katra.

    By Air: The closest airport is Jammu Airport. After reaching Jammu hire a taxi to reach Katra. For a more comfortable journey, you can also take a helicopter service but that requires pre-booking.

    Final Thoughts for Vaishno Devi Pilgrimage

    The spirit of three Devis in the Caves of Vaishno Devi will linger with your inner soul. To curb your inner pollution and dive into spirit of holiness and joy Vaishno Devi is a perfect destination.

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      If you are someone looking for a spiritual and adventurous journey then this experience will surely not let you down!.

      So Chalo Bulava Aaya Hai Maata Ne Bulaya Hai!

      Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Kedarnath

      1. Where is Vaishno Devi Pilgrimage?

      The temple is located in Katra, Trikuta Mountains, Jammu. It can be reached after a 12kms strenuous trek.

      2. Why is Vaishno Devi Pilgrimage called So?

      Vaishno Devi is a combined name for the three energies who appeared on earth to evacuate earth of demons during the Vedic period. The three Shaktis Gauri, Laxmi, and Saraswati then decided to keep an eye on earth in the form of ‘The Vaishno Devi” living in Mountain Trikuta, Jammu.

      3. Which is the best time to visit Vaishno Devi?

      March-April or September – November are the most preferred time to visit Vaishno Devi.

      4. What do the five rocks close to Trikuta Mountains signify?

      These rocks signify the Pandavas. Pandavas were the first to worship Mother Goddess and establish her presence.

      5. What is the relevance of ‘Pindis’ in the caves?

      Pindis are colored stones representing three forms of energy. Mata Laxmi (Yellow), Mata Mahakali(Black) and Mata Saraswati(White).

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