Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vaishnodevi - A holy place in Jammu & Kashmir

Vaishnodevi temple is located at a place called Katra, around 58 kms away from Jammu. Jammu can be easily reached by train from all over the country. It has also an airport. You can reach directly here by air from Delhi. Jammu airport is around 8 kms away from the city. You can also reach Jammu by road, as it is situated on national highway number 14. There is a fully fledged enquiry counter for all the tourists at Jammu railway station and also at the air port. The buses for katra start from Jammu bus station. There are all types of hotels available for stay at Jammu ranging from Rs. 50 to Rs. 3000 per day.  

You have to start your journey by getting yatra slip from Registration counter located at bus stand, Katra.

Katra is the base village for starting your climb to the famous temple of Vaishno Devi. There is an uphill walk of around 13 kms from Katra to the main temple. This temple is located at 5300 feet height on the mountain Trikut. The walkway is recently made new and hence, it is quite comfortable to climb to the temple. The ponies, dolies and helicopters are also available for the people who cannot walk this distance. The temple of Adi Kumari comes at the half way. It has been said in Hindu Shastras that the Vaishno Devi was originally produced here. All the pilgrims perform puja of Kumari Mata at this place with lot of faith.

The water spring named as "Banganga" flows through this cave at the holy legs of Mataji. As soon as you pass through this cave, you will enter the temple of Vaishno Devi. There are pindies of
3 goddesses namely, Mahakali, Mahalaxmi, and Mahasarswati. People have to perform darshnas by standing in the holy spring water up to the knee. The morning and evening artis of this temple are really worth attending in spite of heavy rush at these times. As such pilgrims keep on coming continuously to this temple all throughout the year and it may take around 3 to 4 hours for the darshana in the temple. The best season to visit this place is in October/November and March. The months of April/May are quite warm. The walk way to the temple is kept open all through the day and night. The lightings are arranged on the walk way and it becomes very convenient to walk during the night, particularly during the summer. The weather becomes quite cool in the winter months and at times a snow fall also takes place during December and January. 

It takes around 5 hours to climb from Katra to the temple and around 2 hours for coming down normally. There are many free meals and drinks served on the way by various organizations. It is really not necessary to buy any food items on the way. It is advisable to drink mineral water and take some healthy food items like fruits and biscuits on the way.

Kal Bhairav temple is at more 2 kms high from main temple. It is said that without getting darshan of kal bhairav, your yatra is not completed.

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