Vaishno Devi, or Vaishno Devi Mandir, is a holy pilgrimage in the Katra district of north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. Situated in the midst of three-peaked mountain Trikuta, the temple is one of most pious sites for Hindus. Dedicated to Shakti, an incarnation of goddess Durga, the temple is legendary in status and attracts devotees from across the world.
The religious significance of Vaishno Devi Mandir is colossal making it “second most visited” site in the whole of India. A visit to the temple is considered a must in a lifetime to achieve the four objectives specified by the spiritual tradition of India. Spirituality apart, the region is blessed with enormous natural beauty with a fascinating backdrop of panoramic surroundings.
Situated atop a height of 5200 ft, the Devi of the shrine resides inside a cave, and it involves a trek of some 12 km to reach here, from the bottom land of Katra. The Three Pindis or natural rock formations are the representation of the three goddesses here, whose darshan (view) is considered rich with divine blessings.
Many legends are associated with Vaishno Devi Mandir, most notable is the first mention of the goddess in the epic, Mahabharata. As the famous war of Pandvas and Kaurvas was about to begin, Lord Krishna is believed to have advised Arjun to get the divine blessings of the goddess to emerge triumph. The presence of five rock symbols on a nearby mountain further establishes the Pandava connection here.
There are many tourist attractions nearby Vaishno Devi Mandir, and a visit here can help you explore other sites of religious and natural worth. Some of place to visit nearby include Gulmarg, Srinagar, Amarnath Cave, Leh and Ladakh. In overall, pay a visit to the Vaishno Devi Mandir and relish the sense of piety in the perfect settings of calm and tranquility.
The Jammu airport is the nearest, at a distance of 50 km with regular domestic flights to major cities of India.
The nearest railway station is the Udhampur railway station that has trains to key destinations of India.
State-owned buses, private taxis and cabs are available to travel the Jammu to Katra distance. From katra, itís a 12 km trek to reach the shrine.