Vaishno Devi Shrine - Vaishno Devi Temple at Katra (Vaishno Devi Yatra)

Vaishno Devi Shrine (Vaishno Devi temple at katra jammu) Yatra

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Vaishno Devi Shrine (Vaishno Devi temple at katra jammu) Yatra: Everyday of the year a mass of humanity surges up steep pathways that cut across the hillside for mile after mile. Popular belief holds that anybody who walks the Himalayan trail to her abode to ask for a boon rarely goes back disappointed. There are many who journey here year after year to pay obeisance regardless of their faith or belief, creed or class, caste or religion, for Mata Vaishno Devi transcends all such barriers.

As the legend goes, more than 700 years ago Vaishno Devi a devotee of Lord Vishnu, used to pray to Lord Rama and had taken vow of celibacy. Bhairon Nath, a tantric (demon-God) tried to behold Her. Making use of his tantric powers, Bhairon Nath was able to see Her going towards the Trikuta mountains and gave chase. The Goddess felt thirsty at Banganga and shot an arrow into the earth from where water gushed out. Charan Paduka, marked by the imprints of Her feet, is the place where she rested. The Goddess then meditated in the cave at Adhkawari (Ardh-kawari). It took Bhairon Nath nine months to locate Her, the reason why the cave is known as Garbh Joon. Mata Vaishno Devi blasted an opening at the other end of the cave with Her Trident when the demon-God located Her.

On arriving at the Holy Cave at Darbar (Bhavan [Bhawan]), she assumed the form of Maha Kali and cut off Bhairon Nath's head which was flung up the mountain by the force of the blow and fell at the place where the Bhairon Temple is now located. The boulder at the mouth of the Holy Cave according to the legend is the petrified torso of Bhairon Nath who was granted divine forgiveness by the benevolent Mata in his dying moments.

Location of Vaishno Devi Shrine

Mata's cave shrine is nestled in the mighty Trikuta mountain 61 kilometres north of Jammu at a height of 5,200 feet above the sea level in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India.

Appropriate Season to visit Vaishno Devi Shrine at Katra (Jammu)

The shrine is visited and accessible all through the year, but the path & climate is little difficult during the winters due to snowfall. Now the whole path from Katra to Vaishno Devi Shrine is covered with metal roof hence there is very limited snow on the path. You might also find main enterance of Shrine Cave open during winter season due to less number of pilgrims visiting shrine in winter.

How to Reach Vaishno Devi Shrine

Airway (By Air): Nearest airport - Jammu (48 km from Katra [Distance of Jammu from Katra is 48 km]). Daily Flights are available from Delhi and Srinagar. These flights (Indian Airlines) connect Chandigarh & Amritsar on some days of the week.

Railway (By Rail): Nearest Railway Station - Jammu By rail, Jammu is directly connected cities like Calcutta, Delhi and Kanyakumari. Besides, it is connected with other major cities of the country.

Roadways (By Road): Jammu is the terminus of a large number of Inter State Bus Services.

Jammu to Katra

Buses leave for Katra every 10 minutes from the main bus stand at Jammu between 5.30 am to 8.30 pm. During rush periods, additional buses are also pressed into service between Jammu and Katra.

Private Taxis are also available for hire between Jammu and Katra. These can be hired from Jammu Airport, Jammu Railway Station and the Tourist Reception Centre at Jammu.

Where to stay in Jammu and Katra

Jammu: Yatri Niwas managed by Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. Various private hotels, the room rent ranging from Rs.300/- per day to Rs.3000/- per day.

Katra: Yatri Niwas managed by the Shrine Board, Rest Houses maintained by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department, other hotels.

Sarais, managed by the Shrine Board offer free accomodation at Adhkawari, Sanjichhat and Darbar. Dharamshala, run by various organisations offer reasonable accommodation to the pilgrims. Yatris are however advised to keep themselves away from touts promising free Dharamshala accomodation.

Vaishno Devi Yatra

The Vaishno Devi Shrine Yatra begins at Katra and pilgrims have to cover 13 km. of terrain on foot to reach the Darbar. One kilometer away from Katra, you would find Banganga, place where Mata quenched her thirst and at 6 km., the holy cave at Adhkawari.

Yatris are advised to obtain a yatra slip only from the Yatra Registration Counter (Yatra Ticket Registration at Katra is Mandatory) at the Tourism Reception Centre, Katra Bus Stand and nowhere else. Without an authentic yatra slip, crossing of Banganga (Ban-Ganga) checkpost will not be allowed. The Yatra Slip is absolutely free but is necessary to commence the Yatra.

You can obtain caps, canvas shoes, sticks etc. on hire for the Yatra. Pithus (people who carry weight on their backs) can be hired for carrying your luggage.

Those who have problems in climbing on the mountains, can hire the services of a pony or dandi (palenquin). Pithus can be hired for carrying the children on shoulders. It is advised that you should avail of the services of only registered people be it the pithu, pony or the dandiwalla and keep his token for the period he is engaged. Now battery operated vehicles also available from Ardhkawari (Adhkawari) which play on the new route created from adhkawari (ardhkawari) till Vaishno Devi Shrine. Battery vehicle facility is only available at Inderprasth (Adhkuwari) and Manokmana Bhawan for infirm, sick and handicap devotees. The booking of (battery operated vehicle) facility is subject to availability. Battery car does not go to Bhairon baba temple (Mandir). To go to Bhairon Baba Temple one can hire ponnies.

The entire 13 km route is quite wide and tiled and is covered with a metal roof. Besides, the whole path is lit up every night by powerful sodium vapour lamps. The whole route is swept and cleaned from time to time throughout the day. Yatris are requested to keep the path clean. Shelter cum sheds and shelter cum cafeterias are setup throughout the route. Pure vegetarian food is available at these outlets. Price charts are exhibited at all these outlets prominently.

Drinking water has been made available all along the route, with water coolers and storage facilities. Public utilities with automatic flushing systems along the track and at the Bhawan.

After 6 km. of trekking, you would reach Adhkawari, the holy cave where Mata meditated for nine months. Do visit the cave. After 9.5 km., you would reach Sanji Chhat (Sanjhi Chhat) where you can rest for sometime. Accommodation is also available at this place. Bhawan is just 3.5 km. away.

On reaching Bhawan, show your Yatra Slip at the Registration Office and obtain the Batch no. provided on the slip. This number is important as it will determine your place in the queue for darshan.

On reaching Bhawan, have a bath and change your clothes. Be sure to get your luggage and leather items booked in the cloak rooms and obtain the receipt. Book the valuables separately and obtain the receipt.

You can also get blankets on refundable deposit for Rs.100.

Temple - Vaishno Devi Bhavan

On reaching Bhavan, buy prasad and other offerings. Show the Yatra Ticket at the office and collect the Token No., and check the group No. and time for your turn. Have a bath and change clothes before the darshan. Deposit your belongings in the cloak room and Stand in the queue for darshan according to your Group No. at gate No. 2. Keep chanting Jai Mata Di.

In case of overcrowding, it may take sometime in the queue. Please wait patiently.

You would not be allowed to carry the Cocunut in the cave. Before entering the cave, deposit the coconut and collect a token for each of such coconuts deposited. When you come out, be sure to collect an offered coconut from the other side by depositing the coconut. Do not lose the token.

Keep the prasad in your hands, and chant Jai Matadi inside the cave. While inside the cave, please concentrate on the darshan of mother goddess in her three pindi forms - Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswati.

The holy cave entrance
The holy water coming from the feet of the mata can be collected while you come out near the exit gate.

Deposit the token and collect your coconut from the counter near the exit.

It is believed that the Yatra is complete only after visiting the shrine of Bhairon while returning. Bhairon's Shrine is 2.5 km. from Bhavan. Please collect your belongings before going to the shrine, as the path of return is different.

You can only hire ponnies to go to Bhairon Baba temple, Battery car does not go there.

The return path is just 13 km. as the return path from the Bhairon Shrine joins the main path at Sanjhi Chhat.


High, High to the north, amidst snow capped mountains and sprawling forests arise from within the holy shrine of Maa Vaishno Devi. Our journey takes you to this awesome wilderness, a place so holy and sacred, a place of mystery and adventure scarcely known to most in modern world. The Yatra begins at Katra and pilgrims cover 13km of terrain on foot to reach the holy Darbar. There is a common faith among the folk that Goddess-Vaishno sends a 'Call' to her devotees: and that once a person receives it, wherever he or she is, marches towards the holy shrine of the great Goddess. Howsoever difficult the passage may be: the difficult ascents, with innumerable stairs, are accomplished on foot by those who had never walked even small distances at their homes. A supernatural power seems to draw them through the mountain and they climb up those great heights step by step, chanting 'Prem se bolo, JAI MATA DI' The Holy Cave Shrine of Maa Vaishno Devi is situated in a beautiful recess of the Holy Trikuta Mountains forming a part of the lower Himalayas as in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. There are images of three deities - The Mahakali, Maa Saraswati and Maha Lakshmi.

Bhairav Mandir (Temple)

The girl goddess went ahead and Bhairav followed her. She kept 'Veer-Langur' on guard outside the cave and asked him not to allow Bhairav to enter the cave. When the goddess entered the cave, the Bhairav also tried to enter. Veer-Langur forbade him and terrific battle started. There after Devi took the form of goddess 'Chandi' and killed Bhairav. The head flew to a place, presently called Bhairav Ghati. The temple has been constructed at the same spot. The body of Bhairav remained near the cave and the huge stone, outside the cave is the symbol of Bhairav's body.

Although the sword of goddess cut the head of Bharav (Bhairav), yet Bhairav prayed to mother for mercy. He said, "Mother, I am not mourning my death as I have died at the hands of mother creator. But I pray you gracious mother to pardon me. I did not know you in the girl form. Mother if you do not forgive my sins then the whole world may hate me." On hearing the cry of a child addressed to the mother again and again, mother took pity on Bhairav and gave him a boon of liberation. She said, "My devotees will visit your place after having my 'Darshan'. The desires of devotees will be fulfilled, if they visit your place." Accordingly the pilgrims visit Bhairav temple after offering prayers at mother's abode in the cave. Thus, it is believed that the journey to Mata's shrine is not complete unless the devotee visits the temple of Bhairav.

Jai Mata Di

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