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  About Mata Vaishno Devi Temple  (J & K) Travel Information
 

Katra:
You must pass through Katra to get to Vaishno Devi. It is where the road ends. There is an ISKCON temple (01991-33047)in Katra. It is located at the Kalka Mata Mandir, opposite the petrol pump. The Kalka Mata Mandir is an ancient Siva and Kali temple which has been put under the care of ISKCON. The deities are said to be self-manifested. This temple is visited by many pilgrims. construction has begun on a temple and large guest house here.

 

About Mata Vaishno Devi Temple
The abode of the Goddess Vaishno Devi is in the Moutains of Trikuta Hills, in the Jammu and Kashmir State of Northern India. The Goddess resides in a beautiful cave in the form of 3 'Pindis' namely, "Maha Kali", "Maha Laxmi" and "Maha Sarawati". The Goddess Durga is said to have killed the demon Bhairon here. Vaishno Devi is 61-km north of Jammu and 14-km from Katra. The cave is at an elevation of 1,700m (5,100ft) and is 30m (93 ft) long and just 1.5m (5ft) high.

Vaishno Devi is a hard four-hour (13-km) climb from Katra. The best time to come is March to July, as th rest of the time of the year it can be very cold. The main pilgrimage time is March-April and September-October. In 1986, 1.6 million people came here, or 15 to 20 thousand people a day. The cave ideally handles just 8 or 10 thousand people a day, as only 12 or 15 people are let into the cave at a time. On the full moon day in Kartika (October/ November) the line to get into the cave can be 4-km long. It is believed that the arm of Goddess Sati fell at this place.


Intrigued by reports of her piety, Gorakhnath the mahayogi siddh purush sent his disciple Bhairon Nath to look for her. But he began invading her privacy and even suggested that she become his wife. To escape him, Vaisnavi left Trikuta mountains.

Mahayogi Guru Gorakshnath once visited bhandara arranged by Mata Vaishno Devi along with his 300 disciples and the purpose of visit was to shower His blessing upon Devi (which makes Her popular far and wide even today). One of his disciples Bhairavnath wanted to test powers of Mata Vaishno Devi, despite Guru Gorkashnathji not recommending to do so. To escape Bhairavnath she moved to the Trikuta mountains to continue her meditation undisturbed.


Other Shrines at Vaishno Devi
Bhumika Temple:

Bhumika Temple: At Darshani Darwaza, 1-km from Katra, the Goddess disappeared. This place is called Darsani Darwaza because the Trikut mountain is visible from here Tikuta Parvat is three high peaks that are the abodes of the Goddess Vaishno Devi.

Ban Ganga Temple:

After the Goddess left the Bhumika Temple, she went to the Trikuta Hills passing through here. At this time, Langoor Vir (Veer Langur) felt thirsty. The Goddess shot an arrow into the stone and a holy river was produced, now known as Ban Ganga. It is called Ban Ganga because the Goddess washed her hair at this place. Most pilgrims take bath here. You must show the slip you got near the Bus Stand in Katra to pass this point. Ban Ganga is about 3-km from Katra.

Charan Paduka Temple:

This is where the Goddess stopped for some time while Bhairon was chasing her. Her footprints are supposed to be visible on a stone at this place. Charanpaduka means " holy footprints." It is about 1.5-km from Ban Ganga at 3,380 feet.

Ardh Kuwari :

Ardh Kuwari is the halfway point and some pilgrims stay here for the night. There is a 15-foot-long cave called Garbha Joon where the Goddess hid herself for nine months and showed her self to a saint. The cave is narrow, and you have to almost crawl all the way though it. When Bhairon entered the cave, the Goddess made a new opening with her trident and ran away. Ardh Kuwari is 4.5-km from Charan Paduka and 4,800 ft above sea level.
After ardh Kuwari the path gets very steep for 2.5-km. This ascent is called Hathi Matha ascent, because the mountain is shaped like the forehead of an Elephant. It is best to use the footpath rather than the stairs, as the climb will be easier. From here it is another 1,500-ft climb to Sanjhi Chatt, and from there another 4-km to the carve.

The Sri Ram Temple:

The Sri Ram Temple is near Vaishno Devi cave. There is a Shiva-linga in a cave 125 steps down from the Ram Temple.

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