It is said that all visitors to Mata Vaishno Devi have their wishes grant. So there I was in Katra, prepared to put it to the test. Last month, I went to Vaishno Devi, one of India’s holiest sanctuaries. The sanctuary, which is situate atop the Trikuta Mountains in India’s Jammu and Kashmir, is greatly rever by Hindus. You can travel to the temple from Katra Town, which is 12 km away and situated at the base of the mountain, by foot, pony, or helicopter. Before beginning my voyage, I secured a reservation at one of Vaishno Devi Helicopter Booking so that I could decompress after the ascension.
1. Starting from Jammu
I hopped in a car early the next morning and travelled to Katra with my backpack. Had enough fuel after a brief stop at a local cafeteria to continue the drive. I was entertained by the cool breeze as the car sped along the slippery, sweeping roadways.
2. After a two-hour ride,
I arrived at my Katra hotel, where I would stay for the ensuing 24 hours or so. First things first, I registered for the Vaishno Devi Yatra right away at the YRC booth adjacent to the Katra Bus Stand. I was inform that this was a requirement for everyone seeking to visit the shrine. I returned to the hotel after a delectable lunch and a brief tour of the nearby Baba Dhansar, Bhoomika Mandir, Deva Mai, and Nau Devi temples. My car’s native driver had a wealth of anecdotes to share about these places, and I must say that his vivacity kept me transfixed the entire time. No reports to make! I prepared for the evening climb up the Trikuta Hills after a brief dinner at the motel. I wanted to avoid the heat of the day, so now is a great time for me to go hiking.
3. While travelling to the Vaishno Devi Shrine
The pilgrimage to the Vaishno Devi shrine starts from the base camp in Katra and involves a 12-kilometer climb up to the temple, which is home to the “Three Divine Pindis of Goddesses.” I chose to walk up to the temple while others opted for pony rides and “pitthus,” or human carriers. In the daytime, online helicopter booking rides are also available. To make pilgrimage as simple as possible, the entire path leading to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine has been plan.
Along the orderly, spotless route, there are restrooms, overlooks, overhanging sheds, elementary medical facilities, cloakrooms, and gift shops. Nothing was disorganise, and there were no throngs of people running amok. I made restful breaks at Charan Paduka, Adhkuwari, Himkoti, and Sanjichhat along the way, and I soon reached The Holy Bhawan, which houses the Sanctum Sanctorum.
4. Mata Vaishno Devi’s darshan
The holy Bhawan, where Mata Vaishno Devi’s famed cave is located, was my last stop. Inside the Holy Cave, Mata manifests as the three holy Pindis Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi, and Maha Saraswati. After receiving the blessed Prasad and visiting the other Darshan in the complex, I satisfied myself and returned to my lodging in Katra.
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