The Vaishno Devi temple near Katra town of Jammu Kashmir is one of the most sacred temples of India.
This a shrine to the goddess Vaishno Devi, believed to have been born as Trikuta and later called Vaishnavi (descendant of Vishnu), in south India. At the age of 9 she was doing penance on the seashore when Lord Ram came upon her in his search for Sita. He asked her to continue her meditation in a cave in the Trikuta range of the Manikmountains in North India, leaving an army of monkeys and a lion for her protection. It is this cave that is today visited and worshipped by the faithful in millions.
Renowned Pilgrimage Centre
The shrine of Mata (mother) Vaishno Devi is worshipped as a Shakti Peetha, and one of the most revered shrines in all of India. Shakti peetha is a shrine made holier by the presence of Shakti , due to the body parts of Sati (Shiva’s wife) which fell as he carried her body in grief.
Vaishnodevi is the second most visited temple in India, the first being TirumalaVenkateswara temple in Tirupati. The temple is maintained by the Shrine Board.
Along the way to the sacred cave are places where Vaishnavi had halted, observing penances and these are also visited by the pilgrims.
It is a long trek to the cave and palkis and ponies are available for those who cannot make I on foot. Various other facilities like restaurants, accommodation, shelter sheds, medical aid and so on, are provided to pilgrims.
Everyone along the route is either pilgrim or employed in the temple complex or a seller of souvenirs and puja aticles. People are dressed modestly.
Climate and best time visit
Though open year round, the summer is more comfortable climate-wise.