Vaishno Devi 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.
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 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 Vaishnodevi Temple
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.
The birth of Mata Vaishnavi
Vaishnavi emerged from Matas
Once KaliMata, Mata Lakshmi and Mata Saraswati united together and their combined divine power and 'teja' created a bright light from which a young girl appeared. The combination of Matas explained her the reason behind her creation.She was told to live on earth and reach to higher levels of consciousness so that she will be merged with God Vishnu.
Matas explained her roll to maintain peace and justice on earth. She was further told that she will be born to their ardent devotee, Ratankar and his wife staying in the southern India. Accordingly some time later a very beautiful girl child was born to Ratankar and his wife, who was named as 'Vaishnavi'.
Mata Vaishnavi & Lord Rama
Vaishnavi with Lord Rama
Vaishnavi sacrificed all luxuries of life and started her meditation in a deep forest. She had the objective to get merged with the creator God Vishnu. At this time Lord Rama was on his fourteen years of exile, who happened to meet Vaishnavi.
She could immediately guess that he is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and not an ordinary human being. Vaishnavi expressed her desire to merge herself into him so that she could become one with the absolute creator God Vishnu. As per Lord Rama, is was not the right time and stopped her from her request.
However, Lord Rama assured her that the appropriate time would finally come in Kaliyug when He would be in his incarnation of 'Kalki'. Rama further advised her to sit in meditation in an Ashram at the base of Trikuta hills. Vaishnavi took after his advise and erected her ashram in the Trikuta hills in north India.
Mata Vaishnavi beheads Bhairon Nath
Vaishnavi beaded the demon
Vaishnavi, after setting up her ashram 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.
Mahayogi Guru Goraksh Nath, having a vision of Lord Rama and Vaishnavi episode, instructed his dissiple Bhairon Nath to locate Vaishnavi. However, as Bhairon Nath located her, he was mismerized by Vaishnavi's her amazing beauty. Soon he started harassing Vaishnavi to marry him. Annoyed Vaishnavi fled away in mountains to continue her deep meditation. But Bhairon Nath could follow her to her destination.
Vaishnavi finally reached the Holy Cave shrine but Bhairon Nath could locate her and continued the harassment. Finally having no other way of rescue, Vaishnavi Devi beheaded him just outside the entrance of the cave. Bhairon Nath repented and soon realized his wrong doing who then pleaded for forgiveness. Almighty Mother Goddess had mercy on Bhairon and gave him a boon that pilgrimage of a devotee would be complete only when they will have darshan of Bhairon Nath temple after having Darshans of the Goddess.
Later Vaishnavi came out of her human form and assumed the face of a rock, where she engrossed herself into meditation forever. Thus Vaishnavi, in the form of a five and a half feet tall rock with three heads or the 'Pindies' on the top is worshipped by devotees. These Pindies in the holy cave are called as the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.