This is an important pilgrimage spot. It consists of the Holy Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi. She is believed to fulfill all that you wish for. The shrine is located inside a cave. This cave is present inside a three-peaked mountain called Trikuta or Trikoot. Millions of devotees go each year to worship the Holy Shrine. People from outside India also come here.
The cave is situated at a height of 5200 feet. It is 1000 feet long. The base camp is located at Katra. From there, it takes 12 kilometers of trekking to reach the actual spot where the cave is located. The ‘darshans’ of the Mother Goddess mark the success of the pilgrimage. There are no idols inside the cave. These rock-shaped ‘darshans’ are the holy shrine of the goddess. It consists of three ‘Pindians’ which are Maha Saraswati, Maha Laxmi and Maha Kali.
You can visit the place any time of the year. A Shrine Board, specifically known as the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board was formed in the year 1986. The Board takes care of all the activities related to the pilgrimage or ‘yatra’. The Board aims at utilizing the offerings, funds and donations to be used in the betterment of the pilgrimage to make it more comfortable and pleasing.
The Pandavas built the cave. It is about 98 feet in length. Hindu gods and goddess hold important position in this cave in the form of specific symbols. Three of the gods are present in the form of symbols at the entrance of the tunnel that leads to the main cave. These gods are Ganesha, Surya Dev and Chandra Dev. One comes across the ‘Dhandh of Bhairon Nath’ while crawling inside the cave via the tunnel. ‘Launkra Beer’ point, the symbol for Lord Hanuman, marks the point beyond which the visitors have to wade through the water. The innumerable heads of ‘Shesh Naag’ can be seen hanging from the roof the cave at about 23 feet from the ‘Launkra Beer’ point. Symbols of Shankh, Chakra, Gada and Padam are also found right below the ‘Shesh Naag’.
Also found beyond that are the Pandavas, Sapt Rishi, Kamadhenu, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Parvati.
How to Reach Vaishno Devi
By air: The nearest airport is Jammu. Flights are run by Alliance Air to and from Delhi, Srinagar and Leh.
By rail: The nearest railway station is Jammu. It lies on the other side of the River Tawi. Other cities are well connected to other cities of India.
By road: The nearest roadhead is at Katra. A trek of 13 steps leads to Vaishno Devi.