India Tourism in Vaishno Devi

Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani, Trikuta and Vaishnavi, is a manifestation of the Hindu Mother Goddess Mahalakshmi. The words "maa" and "mata" are commonly used in India for "mother", and thus are often used in connection with Vaishno Devi. Vaishno Devi Mandir (Hindi: वैष्णोदेवी मन्दिर) is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Hindu Goddess, located at the Trikuta Mountains within the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. More than 10 million pilgrims visit this shrine every year.

The Vaishno Mata shrine is in the Trikuta mountains is believed to be the abode of 33 crore deities.

It is believed that at some point of time each one of these 33 crore deities have worshipped Goddess Vaishno Mata, and left their symbolic marks inside. It is also believed that during the pooja and Aarti, these Gods and Goddesses arrive at the Holy cave to pay their obeisance to Mata. Hindus believe that one cannot possible have Darshan of Mata, unless she herself calls the devotees.

‘Chalo bulawa aya hai, Mata ne bulaya hai’. Meaning ‘Let us go to Vaishno Devi as Mata has beckoned us to come for darshan and blessings’.

Reaching Katra

The town of Katra in Jammu and Kashmir is the base point of the 13 Km trek to the Holy Cave, where an elaborate Bhawan exists taking care of every possible need of the devotee. Katra can be reached either by road from Jammu or by the recently started train service by Indian Railways. Katra is approx 50 Kms from Jammu and can be reached by road in less than two hours.

The Indian Railways have introduced Sree Shakti train that starts from Delhi on Friday evenings and returns back to Delhi on Sunday morning. One can easily avail the two night package , ‘COMFORT’ offered by IRCTC.

The train journey from Jammu onwards to Katra is not just picturesque but a thrilling adventure that takes you through breathtaking bridges and tunnels. It is indeed an engineering marvel of Indian Railways.

The Katra railway station is a world class railway station having automatic escalators powered by Solar Energy. It also houses shops, Food courts, waiting halls, washrooms and bathrooms. In addition to this there is a hotel where one can stay overnight on prior booking.

Trek Route and means of transport

The trek from the Banganga check post in Katra to Mata’s Bhawan is an arduous 13 km long one.

One can cover the trek by four different methods:

1. By Helicopter.

2. By foot

3. By horses

4. By Palki – human palanquin

Helicopter services are offered by Global Vectra and Himalayan.The booking for availing helicopter service needs to be booked online , 60 days in advance through the official website of the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. Helicopter tickets can also be bought on the spot from Jagjivan Ghat near Katra Bus Stand. But tickets can be bought subject to availability. Also the Helicopter service takes place only in fair weather and often the trips are cancelled.

The Katra helipad is approx 3.5 kms from Katra main town. One needs to report at the helipad two hours in advance of the time mentioned on the ticket. The helicopter ride from the Katra helipad to Sanjichhat takes a mere five minutes. The immensely thrilling ride gives a breathtakingly beautiful view of the Trikuta valley. On reaching Sanjichhat, the Bhawan is at a distance of about 3 Kms. This distance can be covered by a downward trek or by horses. It takes approx 90 minutes to reach the Bhawan by foot. Those going for Mata’s darshan via helicopter are issued VIP passes and are allowed to entry through Gate No 5 of the Bhawan.

If one is going for darshan by the other three means, by foot, by horses or by Palanquin, he/she needs to register his traveling group members at the Katra Vaishno Mata Dev Shrine Board office and get a "travel slip". The office is located near the Katra bus stand. The travel slip is extremely important as it will be checked at several points of the journey, failing which you will not be allowed to trek further.

Darshan or Visit

The Trikuta Mountain where the Shrine is located and the Holy Cave are the gateway to the dimension of Super Consciousness. And just like the Trikuta Mountain, which is one at the base but has three peaks (hence the name Trikoot), the revelation of the Mother Goddess in the Holy Cave is in a natural rock form which is one at the base but has three heads at the top. These three heads in a natural rock form are known as the Holy Pindies and are worshipped as the revelation of the Mother Goddess. The entire rock body is immersed in water, and a marble platform has now been constructed all around. The main Darshans remain to be of the three heads called the Holy Pindies. The uniqueness of the Holy Pindies is that although they emanate from one single rock form, each one is distinctly different from the other two in colour and texture.


Towards the right of the devotee is the Holy Pindi of Mata Maha Kali (the Supreme Energy of Dissolution) in the colour associated with Her i.e. black. The Supreme Energy of dissolution is Mata Maha Kali. She represents the Tam Guna- the quality associated with the darker and unknown realms of life. Tam stands for darkness. Psychology and science state that only a very small per cent of the Universe is conscious. The remaining is still subconscious or unconscious. These unknown realms contain all the mysteries of life. Creation is a phenomenon, which exists within a specific time. However the Energy that transcends the barriers of time is the Eternal Time or Maha Kali. Since man’s knowledge about life is very limited and he remains in the dark about most of it, it is represented by the colour black which is associated with Mata Maha Kali. She is the basic source of all that is mystical and unknown to man. In her attribute of Maha Kali, the Mother Goddess constantly guides her devotees to conquer the forces of darkness.


In the centre is the Holy Pindi of Mata Maha Lakshmi (the Supreme Energy of Maintenance) with a yellowish-red tinge, the colour associated with Mata Maha Lakshmi. Mata Maha Lakshmi is the Supreme Energy of Maintenance. She represents Rajas Guna- the quality of inspiration and effort, and is considered to be the basic source of wealth, prosperity, material gains, quality of life etc. Wealth and prosperity are better represented by the colour of gold, which is yellow, and hence associated with Mata Maha Lakshmi.


The Pindi to the extreme left of the viewer is worshipped as the Holy Pindi of Mata Maha Saraswati (the Supreme Energy of Creation). It has a whitish tinge when looked at attentively. White has also been considered the colour associated with Mata Maha Saraswati. Being the Supreme force of Creation, Mata Maha Saraswati is considered to be the basic source of all Creation, Knowledge, Wisdom, Righteousness, Art, Spiritualism, Piousness etc. Since white is a colour that denotes piousness and purity, hence it is associated with Mata Maha Saraswati. She represents the Satva Guna- the quality of purity.

Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji is considered to be an incarnation of the three Supreme Energies.

All Human beings contain attributes of the three above mentioned Guns (qualities) and their behavior is determined by the Guna which is predominant in their nature. But, in order to lead a meaningful life, a proper balance among these three is necessary. The Holy Cave is charged with such energy that it helps in creating this vital but rare balance in a person. This is what makes the Holy Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi Ji unique in the entire world.

It is reiterated that Darshans inside the Holy Cave are in the form of natural rock formations called Pindies. There are no statues, pictures or idols inside. All along the track and at the Bhawan, there are many photographs explaining the nature of Darshans inside the Holy Cave. Yatries should observe these carefully since these are meant to guide them towards the final Darshans in the Holy Cave.

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Posted On: 22-12-2015


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