“Jai Mata Di” – singing the glory of mother godess will elevate you to a plane of serenity and tranquility which you have never experienced before. If you have “bulawa” from her, all obstacles will vanish. The swealtering heat of summer or chilling cold of winter, torrential rain of monsoon etc. does not make any difference to you. Before two years, I got call from her and got an experience of lifetime. Happy to share these memories with all you.
Mahakali, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswatirepresent three “gunas” (qualities) viz – Tam (energy behind destruction), Raj (Energy behind maintenance) and Satva (Energy behind Creation). Creation, maintenance and destruction being the three actions which is being performed by any living beings or cosmic forces.
The action is performed by Tri Murtis – Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara. The energy behind action is the concept of mother godess. This is the essence of Hindu Religion where in male and female godess were given equal status. The energy of three mother godesses gave brith to Vaishno Devi. She is born to Ratnakar (considered to be a resident of South India) and then she took mission to travel to North. She met Pandit Sridhar and asked him to host feast for all. There she was challenged by Bhairav Nath, a powerful saint. He followed the girl from Pandits home and followe her. The path she took, the places she rested represent the Vaishnodevi Pilgrimage. She tried to console Bhairav Nath but he didnot realise the power of godess till when she had to take his life. Later she pardoned him and near the cave where she resides, there is Bhairav Nath Temple also.
The traditional Vaishnodevi Pilgrimage
We have opted the most traditional way of pilgrimage where in none of the points shall be missed. While giving account of the same, I will suggest alternate plans also which might help you to take decisions accordingly.
a) Jammu is the nearest city having airport and railway station near to Vaishno Devi. Before the travel, you are advised to register your name in the official website maavaishnodevi.orgso that you can obtain visit slips. You can also make arrangement for stay etc. in the website. If you bye pass this procedure, then you have to obtain the registration slip at Katra Bus Stand. With out obtaining registration slip, you wont be able to complete your journey. If you opt for chopper service of Deccan Aviation or Pawan Hans, you need not obtain any registration slip as the boarding pass is considered to be the same. From Jammu, the following are the various points of Darshan.
- Koul – Knadholi 8 KM away from Jammu near to the Nagrota town we have this first stoppage of Darshan. In local dialect it means “shake the bowl” and it is said that Mataji spent sometime here as a small girl and displayed divine qualities to the residences out here. One being, she gave a bowl and to shake it at any dry place and then water came out at once.
- Deva Mai 43 KM away from Jammu (on Katra Road) you will reach Numain and from here 3.5 deviation leads to Deva Mai. The temple is perched attop a hill and it is in the name of a devoutee of Mata, Deva Mai.
- Katra Base camp for onward journey to holy shrine. Normally, this is the first place where majority of the pilgrims reaches first. Many hotels are there in Katra. As mentioned above, you can obtain yatra parchi (slip for visit) and continue journey. Those who wanted to fly should go to the Helipad and from there they will be dropped at Sanjhi Chatt. It is 7 minutes flight. From Sanjhi Chhat to divine shrine, only 2 KM you have to walk. Also, it is an descending terrain and you will be freed from 14 KM trekking. Choice is yours! One way chopper service will cost you around Rs.1250/-. I am giving detailed account of trekking to the holy shrine.
- Ban Ganga Starting from Katra and passing through a gate called Darshani Darwaza, your Yatra Parchi will be validated for onward track. If Yatra Slip carried by pilgrim is more than 6 hours old, ir becomes invalid. Ban Ganga is a holy stream and many devoutees take bath here.
- Charan Paduka It is the point were Mata stopped for sometime and looked behind Bhairav who was chasing her. The pious feet of fgodess were imprinted on a stone as she stopped here. It is 1.5 KM away from Ban Ganga and there is a small temple.
- Adh Kuwari 5 KM away from Charan Paduka, you will reach this place. The eternal virgin took tapasya in a womb shaped tunnel here (known as Garbh Joon). When Saint Bhairon followed her, she created an opening on the otherside and continued her journey.You need to almost crawl through the tunnel to have the Darshan. The major tip is not to get scared or have any sort of disbelief while doing so.
Bifurcation From Adhkuwari, you can reach Bhawan through two ways. The traditional way is through Hathi Matha (A steep path just like forehead of elephant) which will lead you to Sanjhichhat. Even here, there is a bifurcation to Bhairon Valley which normally is not used by pilgrims as atfirst you need to visit Holy Shrine of Mata. From Sanjhi Chhat, you have a descending path (2KM) to reach holy shrine. This is supposed to be the path taken by Mataji.
Note As mentioned before, Sanjhi Chhat is the point where the Helipad is also situated.
There is new way which is quite beneficial to pilgrims. It is via Himkoti, a track where pony / horses are not allowed. Also some very good view points like Saket, Inderprastha are on this way.
So, choice is yours – which path to choose.
- Bhawan Here you have to follow the following steps before Darshan
- If you came by chopper, you need not get any group number for darshan. You can get into any queue. But if you came by walking, you need to obtain a group number first and then wait for darshan
- You can buy offerings to Devi (Chunni, Coconut etc) from the designated stalls
- Keep your belongings (there are some items not allowed inside like cell phone, camera, hair comb etc) in the lockers
- Take a shower in the designated place
- Follow these steps before getting into your queue otherwise, you will be asked to go back for completing any of these procedures (except taking bath or taking offerings)
i) Darhshan The original cave leading to the Holy Pindies (the idol is in the form of Pindies) is kept closed for most part of the year. So, mostly you will be traveling through the new tunnel. Now, the tip is to look towards your left hand side. It is not the typical sanctum sanctorum which you have seen before. On the left hand side, the complete rock structure is covered under a white marble platform and only topmost portion is available for darshan. There are three pindies (natural rock forms) , towards the left is Sarawati Ma with white tinge over it, in the middle is Lakshmi Ma with a yellow-reddish tinge and towards right Kali ma, black in colour. Together, their energy represents Vaishno Devi.
You have to submit Coconut before the Darshan and a token will be given. You will be given the Prasad (coconut again) after darshan.
Afterwards, you can go for Bharaon Darshan which is 1.5 KM away from Bhawan. It is another steep trekking. But with out this, the visit is not considered to be complete.
Inshort, if you opt to trek through the traditional path and have the Darshan, it is an exercise worth for your life time. The breathtaking beauty of the nature, the divine darshan, the spirit of devoutees etc. will remain in your heart for long. No wonder, if you feel like going there again. A feeling cherished by all.
It is a pretty long review but I am sure it would be helpful for someone who wish to visit the shrine.
To summarise some tips
- Never opt for the steps for trekking. Especially, those who are leading a sedentary lifestyle
- Always make it sure that you dont miss the points like taking slips, validating the same, obtain group number, keeping luggage in locker, obtain the offerings etc. If you miss one point, you have to travel back
- If you are not physically fit, dont opt for any adveture. Opt for chopper one way and walk back to Katra
- If you have the health to trek during sun, please opt for the same and plan to reach Bhawan by 5 PM. You can have a peaceful Darshan. Night would be quite crowded as majority of the pilgrims trek at night to avoid sun.~Jai Mata Di~
9 thoughts on “Jai Mata Di – Vaishno Devi”
Sanjay Jha says:
Thanks for sharing minutest details. Jai Mata Di
Saji …you did a great job…a boon for the first handers…i have been there twice with HER grace…hope to have more of it..good going Saji
JAI MATA DI
Sajith Nair says:
@Rekha Jai Mata Di…. When she calls, you are there… Ma ka bulaawa.. Thanks for visit and comment
Sangeetha Anand says:
Very informative . Thank yoi for sharing.
Sajith Nair says:
@Sangeetha -Thanks a lot for visit and comment
Sajith Nair says:
Relived my trip to Mata vaishnu devi…wonderful post…thanks
Sajith Nair says:
@Moumita – Thanks for sharing your feeling
Arly Shepherd Haddad says:
Nice artigo! Obrigado.. Arly Shepherd Haddad