Vaishno Devi, Trikuta Devi, Vaishnavi, Mata Rani.. known by many names but prayed as Maa or Mata (mother). One of the holiest pilgrimage for Hindus, Vaishno Devi yatra attracts millions of devotees. As they say, no one can see the mother unless she calls..!
Vaishno Devi shrine is a cave in the Trikuta, a group of 3 mountain hills. Thus, give the name to the goddess as Trikuta Devi. 13.5 kms distance from Katra town can be covered as walking trek, on ponies, in palkhis or in electronic vehicles which is recent addition. The atmosphere is always filled with an enchanting of Mata’s name as “Jai Mata Di”! Over 1 crore devotees visit the place annually..unbelievable..isn’t it!
Vaishno Devi is praised as the holiest among all the shakti peethas of the devi. It’s believed that Mata Sati’s skull fall here, but some believes that the right hand of the mata was fallen here. Though the geographical age of the cave is millions of years, there are references about the shrine in Rigveda, Mahabharata and other holy literatures. It is said that the great Guru Gobind Singh visited the cave in the Trikuta. The cave was discovered 700 years ago and the shrine built there after.
Per legends, Mata Maha Kali, Mata Maha Laxmi and Mata Saraswati pooled together their spiritual strength, tejas and a beautiful young girl emerged out of it. As per three mother’s instructed she took birth at Ratnakar’s house as Vaishnavi. As she grown she became seeker of knowledge and spirituality. Upon realization, she went into the woods for Tapasya. During his 14 years of vanvasa once met the girl and predicted about her glory.
Maha Yogi Goraksh Nath sent asura Bhairo to test Vaishnavi’s truth. To get away from Bhairo’s trouble, Vaishnavi reached to the cave into Trikuta hills, but the demon came there as well. Vaishnavi was compelled to kill him and cut his head off which fall on the hill top near. While dying Bhairo prayed the goddess and asked for the mercy. Thus, goddess blessed him saying that her darshan would not be completed for the devotee unless he come to Bhairo’s temple.
Post the demon kill, goddess took rock form and immersed into spiritual stage forever. The stone have three heads depicting Trishakti who gave her birth. These heads are called Pindies and are the ultimate destination of the devotees.
The shrine, rest houses for the devotees and the entire 13.5 kms trek route is well managed by the shrine board. The great entrance gate of the darshan route gives feeling of being at the door of your own home. You will find drinking water, toilets, coffee shops, canteens all the way up to the main shrine. There are various shortcuts are recently build to make the trek shorter. Even helicopters fly from Sanjichhat to main shrine.
Best place to get latest information about the shrine, darshan, facilities and Katra town is ‘https://www.maavaishnodevi.org‘ which is managed by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine board.