Find detailed information on Vaishnodevi Yatra in Kashmir. Plan a pilgrim tours to Kashmir and pay homage to the famous sanctum of Mata Vaishnodevi, by indulging in trekking or hiring various other means to reach the sanctum.
Vaishno Devi Sanctum in Kashmir is one of the most holy places in the world. People from all over come here in large numbers to pay their homage to the goddess. Plan a pilgrimage tour to Kashmir and bow your heat at the revered abode of Vaishnodevi. The MythologyVarious legends have been associated with the legacy of this sanctum. Goddess Vaishnodevi, the main deity here was the follower of Lord Vishnu, and is believed to be the incarnation of Goddess Laxmi, Kali and Goddess Saraswati. It is said that when the intelligent Goddess went to the jungles for meditation, she was confronted by a demon named Bhairavnath, who smitten by her beauty pestered her to marry him. To escape him, Vaishnodevi fled from the jungle and remained elusive for the next nine months, after which she found him outside her cave and decapitated him. The mthological cave was discovered by a Brahmin Pandit who lived in the nearby village of Hansali. He went to the mountain in search of Vaishnodevi and discovered the transmuted statue of the goddess with eight arms, sitting on a lion. Since then the cave became an important place of worship. Location The sacred cove of Mata Vasihnodevi is located on Trikuta hill, which is as at a distance of 16 kms from Jammu and 13 kms from Katra. Tourists are advised to visit this shrine during the months of March and April or September and October as during the rest of the year the cave is covered with snow, making it inaccessible. At the height of 1700mts above sea level, the cave is 30 mts long, 1.5 mts high and takes approximately four hours to reach. About the Darshan The Darshan of the Goddess is free but a special darshan can be attended and they charge Rs 11,000. Only five people can be a part of the darshan due to the limited space. For reservations of Darshan, one can contact the Niharika Complex at Katra or even do an online reservation on the website (www.maavaishnodevi.org). Daily havans are also held inside the cave and a family of five can be a part of it by just paying Rs 5,100. The main offering inside the holy cave includes red saris or chunnis, gold or silver ornaments and dry fruits and flowers. Bathing facilities are available and one can do so near the cave before visiting. The main festivals that people can enjoy here includes Chaitra Navratra (March-April) and Sharad Navratra (Sep-Oct). Coconuts are not allowed inside the cave. To get more information on the Yatra, please go to https://www.maavaishnodevi.org/ Trekking to the SanctumTrekking is one of the most favoured and most sanctifying ways to reach the cave on your Vaishno Devi yatra tours in North India. At the outset, pilgrims can take the route of Katra - Banganga - Charanpadhuka - Sanjichat - Bhawan - Bhairavnath temple. The total distance between Katra and the cave temple is 13 kms. The trk commences from Katra and the next stop is Baganga, 1kms away. Here tourists can enjoy the ‘langar’ and take a holy bath in the sacred lake. On the way tourists can visit various ancient temples as well. 2.5 kms further from here is Charanpadhuka, which highlights the footprint of the goddess as the main attraction. Adkuwari, at a distance of 3 kms further is the next stop. This place marks the halfway journey and one should not miss visiting Garbhajoon, which is believed to be the place where the goddess hid from Bhairavnath for nine months. Sanjichat is the second last stop before the sanctum and from here the views of Katra, Udhampur, Jammu and Reasi is simply breathtaking. The stop is 4 kms further from Adkuwari and the height at which the place is located offers bird’s eye view of the surroundings. The last stop before the cave is that of Bhawan (2.5 kms from Sanjichat) which finally takes you to the cave which is 2 kms from here. Reaching the Sanctum - Other MeansFor those who are old or for any reason cannot walk such a long distance, there are many other convenient options as well. Ponies, Palanquins and Porters too are available. Porters charge Rs 250 and ponies can cost anywhere between Rs 380 - 450 depending on the weight of the person. For those planning to take a palanquin, be willing to pay between Rs1,520 - 2,140 depending on the number of pilgrims and their weight. Please note that these fares are for a round trip journey. One can hire these options from the official counters located next to the Darshani Deodhi, at the beginning of the yatra. Alternative to the above mentioned options, pilgrims can also book electrical vehicles that ply from Adkuwari and charge Rs 100 per person. However, they are not very reliable and best suited for old and sick people.
Recently, helicopter services to the sanctum have also commenced. Deccan (01991-34378/79 email email@example.com) and Pawan Hans (01991-234658, 09205044014, email firstname.lastname@example.org) are the two operators that provide helicopter services. Flights ply from 8am till 5 pm depending upon the climate and weather and charge Rs 1225 for an adult and Rs 610 for a child (6-12 years).
The aircrafts can carry maximum of 6 pilgrim on board and takes about 8 minutes from Katra to Sanjichat (2.5 kms from Vaishno Devi Shrine). The helipad is at around 2 kms from the Katra bus stand on Udhampur in Katra. The helicopter service is subject to weather conditions, so make sure you check the weather condition before booking it.
Shopping Around the Sanctum
While on the way to paying homage to the Vaishnodevi Goddess, pilgrims should not miss shopping for wonderful items like Chunnis, Shawls, Sarees, gold and silver coins engraved with the picture of the goddess, coconuts, bangles and jute bags. Tourists should not miss shopping for the world famous walnuts and bric-a-brac religious kitch. The famous places where one can shop are - Bhawan, Sanjichhat, Adhkuwari, Katra bus stand and at Vaishnavi Dham (Jammu).
Excursions to Enjoy from Here
If you are very adventurous, then there are many places to explore beyond the cave temple. enjoy a nearby excursion to Batote which is ideal for sighting some of the most spectacular views of the Chenab gorge. While in Batote, do not miss savouring the delicacies made from kidney beans (Rajma).
Patnitop and Sanasar are also great hill stations located very close to the sacred cave of Vaishnodevi and can be visited by taking up Srinagar tour packages.
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