Famous Maa vaishno devi Temple in Katra, Jammu and Kashmir
Maa Vaishno Devi is the manifestation of the Hindu Goddess Mahalakshmi who is divine mother of wealth & prosperity. Vaishno Devi Mandir is the second most popular Hindu temple in India after Tirupati Balaji, dedicated to the divine godess, located at the Trikuta Mountains within the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. More than 10 million pilgrims visit this shrine every year.
The word 'bulawa' means, a holy call received from the maa vaishno devi to see the devotee and bless him / her with eternal happiness & riches. Hindus believe that one cannot possibly have Darshan of Mata, unless she herself calls the devotees.
Maa vaishno devi is present in a holy cave in the form of 3 pindis. These pindis represent Maha Saraswati, Maha Lakshmi & Maha Kali. The pavitra darshan of these divine pindis fulfills all the desires of the pilgrims who reach the temple through a tough trekking route of 13kms straignt towards the top of the Trikuta mountain. The trek of 13 km can be completed in about 5 to 8 hours depending on the fitness and whether children are accompanying parents.
Timings for Darshan in the Temple: The Bhawan, as the temple called by devotees, is open for darshan 365 days and the Shrine Board, the governing body of the Bhawan has made it possible to do the trek 24 by 7. The entire trekking path is lit up for devotees, some preferring to start the trek in the late evening to avoid the morning sun. The scintillating lit up path is visible from the Katra bus stand. The trek is divided into two parts. The first part of the trek up to Adkuwari is roughly half way at a distance of 7 km from Banganga starting check post. At Adkuwari the road to the Bhawan bifurcates into two. One road goes via Adkuwari while the second one goes via Himkoti.
Custom & Traditions of Temple:
The pull of Mata is such that devotees travel from all corners of the world to receive blessing of Mata. And Mata is said to embrace and bless one and all, from the poorest and the weakest to the richest and the mightiest. Vaishno Devi is the most widely visited shrine in North India and the second most visited shrine in the country after Tirupati Balaji.
Maa Vaishno Devi Temple on Google Map
How To Reach
Visitors can reach Jammu by either of road, train or air route. There is effectively good connectivity available to Jammu from various parts of the country. Paid taxi and bus service is easily available from Jammu station to Katra. The trip from Jammu to Katra is full of mountain twist and turns and full of breath taking scenery. It takes nearly 2-3 hours to travel from Jammu to Katra.
The trek from the Banganga check post in Katra to Mata’s Bhawan is an arduous 13 km long one. which can be completed by either Helicopter or on foot or by horses or palki. These days, even battery vehicles are also available for pilgrims to reach the bhawan. Its a go green initiative taken by shirne board recently in order to keep the entire path noice and air pollution free.
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 km 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 km. 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.
It is believed that he darshan of Mata is complete only if one visits the Bhairon Mandir, as Mata had given Bhairon a boon that he would be worshipped alongside her. The Bhairon Mandir is approximately 3 km form the Bhawan. It is a steep upward trek and can be done either by foot or by ponies.
The Shrine board has taken immense care to provide all amenities for a comfortable darshan of the devotees. So you will find shops, restaurants like Sagar Ratna, PCOs, Cloak rooms, Prashad shops and police posts.