Vaishno Devi Yatra


Katha(कथा) of Vaishno Devi (वैष्णो देवी)

According to Hindu Epic, Maa Vaishno Devi was born in the southern India in the home of Ratnakar Sagar. In tretayug when the Ravana, Trishira, taraka etc had made life of common man difficult. At that time to protect ‘dharma”, Bhagwati Mahakali, Mahlakhsmi, Mahasaraswati, Savitri, Gayatri  etc powers assembled together at same place and created one single power out of their aura to destroy the evil from earth and protect dharma. So a ray of power from each shakti joined together and gave birth to a supernatural (दिव्य) girl(कुँवारी) called Vaishnavi. The gorl asked the mahashaktis, why she has been created, and the reply was to protect dharma. All shakti,s guided her to take birth at Ratnakar Sagar’s home in souhern part of India. You will also protect Sita.   Ma Vaishno Devi was called Trikuta as a child. Later She was called Vaishnavi because of Her taking birth from Lord Vishnu’s lineage. When Trikuta was 9 years old, She sought her father’s permission for doing penance on the seashore. Trikuta prayed to Lord Vishnu in the form of Ram. During Shree Ram’s search for Sita, He reached the seashore along with His army. Shri Ram saw this Divine Girl in deep meditation. Vishanavu told Shri Ram that She had accepted Him as Her husband. Shri Ram told Trikuta that during this incarnation as Vishnu, he has vowed to be faithful to Sita, so in the next incarnation as Kalki in Kalyuga, He will accept Her as His wife.

In the meantime Shri  Ram asked Vaishanavi to meditate in the cave found in the Trikuta Range of Manik Mountains, situated in Northern India (near katra).Lord Ram gave her a bow and arrows, army of monkeys and a lion for her protection. Ma Vaishno Devi, is now presiding the cave in Trikuta Mountains.

Story of Shridhar and Mata Vaishno Devi

With the passage of time many more stories about the Mother Goddess emerged. One such story is about Shree-Dhar.

Shree-Dhar was an ardent devotee of Ma Vaishno Devi. He resided in a village called Hansali, 2 km away from the present Katra town. Once Ma appeared to him in the form of a young  girl. The young girl asked the humble Pandit to hold a ‘Bhandara’. (A feast to feed the mendicants and devotees) and invite the devotees from all around. Though he was not having the suffecient stock of food and money, given assurance from Devi he, set out to invite people from the village and near-by places. He also invited a self fish tantrik- ‘Bhairav Nath’. Bhairav Nath asked Shri-Dhar how he was planning to fulfil the requirements even in the case when god Indra was not able to feed him. He reminded him of the bad consequences in case he fails to feed him

As Panditji was lost in worry, the Divine girl appeared and told Him not to be despondent as everything had been arranged. She asked that over 360 devotees be seated in the small hut. Looking at the smal hut Bhairav asked how so many person can be accomodated in it. Devi assured that the there is enough space and he should invite Bhairav inside the hut. True to Her word the Bhandara went smoothly with food and place to spare. Bhairav Nath admitted that the girl had supernatural powers and decided to test Her further. He followed the Divine girl to Trikuta Hills. For 9 months Bhairav Nath was searching for the mystic girl in the mountains, whom he believed was an incarnation of the Mother Goddess. While running away from Bhairav, on the way to cave, the protectors of Devi were thirsty. To quench their thirst, Devi shot an arrow into the Earth from which water gushed out. The resultant river is known as Baanganga. It is believed that by taking a bath in Baanganga (Baan: Arrow), a believer of the Mother Goddess can wash away his sins. The banks of the river, known as Charan Paduka, are marked by Devi’s foot imprints, which remains intact till date. Vaishno Devi then took shelter in a cave known as Garbh Joon near Adhkawari where she meditated for 9 months attaining spiritual wisdom and powers. Her meditation was cut short when Bhairav located her. Vaishno Devi was then compelled to take the form of Maha Kali when Bhairav tried to kill her. The manifestation of the Mother Goddess took place at the mouth of the Holy cave at Darbar. The Goddess then beheaded Bhairav with such sheer force, that his skull fell at a place known as Bhairav Ghati, 2.5 km from the Holy Cave.

In his dying moments, Bhairav pleaded for forgiveness. The Goddess knew that Bhairav’s main intention in attacking her was to achieve salvation.Thus Mata granted him a vardaan that in order to ensure completion of the pilgrimage, every devotee had to visit Bhairav Nath’s temple near the Holy cave after the darshan of the Goddess.Meanwhile Vaishno Devi assumed the shape of a rock with three pindis (heads) and immersed herself into meditation forever.

Meanwhile, Pandit Shree-Dhar also saw in his dream , the place where Devi is. Thus he started his trek to Trikuta Mountain on the same path that he had witnessed in his dream. At the end he  reached the cave mouth. He made a daily routine of worshipping the ‘Pindis’ in several ways. His worship pleased the Goddess. She appeared in front of him and blessed him. Since that day, Shree-Dhar and his descendants have been worshipping the Goddess Mother Vaishno Devi.

Vaishno Devi Yatra (वैष्णो देवी यात्रा)

Yatra (pilgrimage) to Vaishno Devi begins from Katra near Jammu in India.

Darshani Darwaza (दर्शनी दरवाजा): The gate through which Devi passed through on his way to cave. It is almost one KM from katra. Now a days one can take auto to reach darshani darwaaza.

Banganga (बाणगंगा): When Shakti in form of girl moved further from the Darshani Darwaza, Vir Langur was also with Her. Vir Langur was thirsty at this point and to quech his thrist, Devi brough Ganga on earth with force of arrow. Because of this, this stream of water is known as Bannganga. Devotees take bath in the Bannganga before climbing further towards the Bhawan. It is said that Devi also washed Her hairs in this river thats why it is also known as Balganga.

Charan Paduka (चरण पादुका): This is second resting place in Yatra. It is said that , Devi stayed a while at this place to see whether Bharon Nath is following her or not. Due to this short stay of Devi, Her footprints were formed here.This place is around 1.5 Km from Banganga.

Adikumari (Adhkuwari) आदिकुमारी and garbhpujan Gufa: The Devi gave Darshan to a sadhu here and asked him to not to tell anyone that she is going to meditate here. Devi meditated here for 9 months. Bhairav also followed Devi and reached here. He asked about the Devi from the same Sadhu. Sadhu told him that, the girl is not ordinary but Mahashakti and you should return from here immediately. But Bhairav prevailed and entered into the cave forcefully. Devi from the force of Her Trishul created another exit route on the backside of cave and moved further. Bhairav followed her. At this place there is a temple of Adikumari and the devotees who can not complete their Yatra in one day rest here in night.

Bhawan (भवन): The Bhawan, is another name for the temple cave of Devi where Mahashakti manifests itself in the form of three Pindis (rocks). When bhairow followed him the Mahashakti went inside this cave. There was a fight between the Vir Langur and Bhairav on the mouth of cave. When vir Langur was about to get defeated, Shakti took the form of Kali and killed Bhairav. The body of Bhairav took the shape of a stone and still lying at the entrance of the cave.

Bhairav Mandir (भैरों मंदिर): The head of Bhairav fallen at this place and devi knew that Bhairav was following her for salvation and so She gave her salvation and told that the Yatra to Vaishno Devi will be completed only if devotee also visits Bhairon Mandir also after having darshan of Devi.

Available Mode of Yatra (Travel option for pilgrimage)

  • Walking to Bhawan
  • Pithu- for carrying luggage and babies
  • Palki: For the old devotees who can not walk
  • Horses: Those who do not want to walk to Bhawan
  • Helicopter: This facility is available upto Sanjhi Chat and which is around 2.5 KM from bhawan.

Clothings:

From Septmeber it onwards it is cold at night. So one needs light woolen clothes in evening/night and in winters heavy woolens are recommended.

Best time to Visit

Navratras are best time for pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi.

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