Mata Vaishno Devi
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Shrine is very ancient shrine whose reference is found in the vedas and ancient scriptures.Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine is one of the oldest and most popular shrines of India, at a height of about 5300 feet on Trikuta hills of the Shivalik Hill Range.
The Holy cave is 13 Kms from the Base Camp Katra, which is about 50 Kms away from Jammu and 35 Kms from district head quarters Udhampur.
The Mata Vaishno Devi's shrine is in 100 feet long cave with a narrow opening. There are three natural pindies representing Maha Sarswati, Maha Lakshmi, Maha Kali, which represent creative, preservative, and destructive aspects of the Super Power.
Mata Vaishnavi,who is related to lord "Vishnu'', is the manifestation of the collective spiritual strengths of Mata Lakshmi ,Kali and Saraswati.
It is mentioned that the extraordinarily beautiful and strong goddess was born as a young girl of ,out of the collectively pooled 'Tejas' of various 'Devtas' and lords Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The purpose of the creation of the goddess was the killing of Demon.
The Goddess was born to Ratnakar and was named as Vaishnavi. Later on, Vaishnavi learned the art of meditation and went into deep forest for meditationwhere she could visit Lord Rama, during his fourteen years of exile.
Lord Rama directed her to meditate and set up an Ashram at the base of Trikuta hills to elevate her level of spirituality so as to bless the mankind and rid the poor and destitute of their sufferings.Lord Rama told her that after doing this God 'Vishnu will merge her into himself.
After setting up her ashram there she began to meditate. As predicted by Lord Rama, her glory spread far and wide and people began to flock to her Ashram to seek her blessings.
Later on, an universal master, Guru Gorakh Nathji who was aware of the happenings between Lord Rama and Vaishnavi, became curious to find out whether Vaishnavi could attain a high level of spirituality, He deputed his disciple 'Bhairon Nath' to know the truth.
Bhairon Nath observed that she always carried bow and arrows with her and was surrounded by apes and a ferocious looking lion. Bhairon Nath was impressed by Vaishnavi's extraordinary beauty and was thinking to marry her.
Vaishnavi decided to flee away into the mountains to continue her 'Tapasaya' undisturbed. Bhairon Nath however chased her there. The goddess later on, was compelled to finish him.
The goddess beheaded him outside the mouth of the cave.The severed head of Bhairon fell with a force at a distant hilltop. Bhairon Nath prayed to the deity to forgive him.
The almighty 'Mata had mercy on Bhairon and gave him a boon that every devotee of the goddess will take the Darshan of Bhairon Nath after the Darshan of the goddess and then only the pilgrimage of the devotee will be complete. Soon,Vaishnavi assumed the face of a rock and got immersed herself into meditation.
The nearest Railway Station and Airport for Vaishno Devi shrine,are at Jammu, which is at a distance of 50 Kms from base camp Katra.Regular government bus,taxi and train services are scheduled from Jammu to Katra and also private taxies, vans and deluxe busses are available. However number of inter state busses are available for Katra from almost all the major cities of North India.
The entire uphill Journey of 13 kms from Katra to Bhawan is on foot, on ponies,Dolies or pithoo .
The Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has started the air taxi services between Jammu, Katra and Sanjichat.