Mata Vaishno Devi Temple is a very sacred place for people who follow Hindu religion. People who believe in Hindu religion also call her Mata Adishakti. This holy temple is located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. This temple is one of the 108 Shaktipeeths of the Goddess. Here Mata Vaishno Devi is seen in the form of Pindi. Here Goddess Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati and Mahakali reside in 3 pindos. People who believe in Hinduism fondly call her Sherawali Mata, Mata Rani, Trikuta, Vaishnavi, Durga and many other names.
There is a belief among the devotees of Mata Vaishnodevi that all your wishes are fulfilled here. Although you will find crowd here for twelve months of the year, but during Navratras you will find more crowd here. The Goddess is specially worshiped during the Navratras of Ashwin and Chaitra. Nine forms of the Goddess are worshiped during the nine days of Navratri.
Location of Mata Vaishno Devi Temple
The temple of Mata Vaishno Devi is located in the city of Katra in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The temple of Goddess Mata is situated on the Trikuta mountain surrounded by dense mountains and forests. Being a special pilgrimage center, you get all kinds of travel facilities here. The distance of Katra from Jammu Airport is about 50 kms and its distance from Jammu Tawi Railway Station is about 51 kms. The distance from Katra to Mata Ke Bhavan is about 14 to 16 kilometers.
The bhawan of Mata Vaishno devi mandir of Katra are situated at an altitude of about 5200 feet or 1584 meters. To go beyond Katra, devotees either have to walk on foot or they go by pittu, palanquin, horse, tram, ropeway and helicopter as per their convenience. Most of the people prefer to go on foot out of devotion. Those who are not able to walk go with the help of other means.
Note – Even if a devotee goes by helicopter, he goes only till Sanjichhat (Name of Palace between the Katra and Mata Ka Bhavan). The further journey has to be done either on foot or by other available means.
When you go from Katra to to Vaishnao devi darbar, you come across the temple of Ardhakuvari Mata in the middle of the way. Here Mata Rani lived in a cave for 9 months. This cave is also called Garbhjoon, because any human being lives in his mother’s womb for 9 months and Vaishno Mata also stayed in this cave for 9 months, hence this cave is also called Garbhjoon cave. There is also the Charan Paduka of Vaishno Devi at the entrance of this cave. It is believed that the mother told about this cave to her great devotee Shridhar.
All the devotees visiting Vaishno Devi wish to visit this cave. According to a rule, when the number of devotees exceeds ten thousand, then this cave is opened for darshan. This Garbhjoon cave is closed when it becomes overcrowded. Here you have to wait for more than 24 hours from work to visit the Garbhjuna cave, then your number comes. The lenght of this cave or Garbhjoon is around 21 feet. According to belief, a devotee should enter the Garbhjoon cave only once because once a person comes out of his mother’s womb, he cannot go there again.
According to a story, when the Aghori sage Bhairav once saw Vaishno Devi in the form of a child on the Trikuta mountain, he went towards her to catch her. Then Vaishno Mata stayed in the same cave for 9 months to escape from them. To protect them, Hanuman ji was standing there at the main entrance of the cave. Later, when Bhairav reached near the cave and started trying to go inside the cave, there was a long war between Hanuman ji and Bhairav. After which Mata Vaishno Mata comes out of the cave and kills Bhairav.
Importance of Vaishno Devi Temple
The importance of Vaishno Devi temple in Hinduism can be understood in two ways. One, we see it as a historical site and secondly, it also has a religious significance.
Vaishno Devi Temple as a Historical Site:-
Vaishno Devi Temple is also an ancient temple site. Although it is not possible to tell how old this place is, but 700 years ago, this place was discovered by Sridhar, a devotee of Mata.It is believed that he had built the temple of Mata here for the first time and offered prayers. Since then the fame of the temple has increased and today this temple is counted among those temples in India where devotees come the most.
Vaishno Devi Temple as a Religious Site:-
The importance of Vaishno Devi temple can also be understood by Religiously. This place and Mata Vaishno Devi have also been described in our ancient texts.
It is also described in the epic Mahabharata when the war of Mahabharata is about to begin. Arjuna worships Mata Vaishno Devi on the advice of Lord Krishna before the war begins in Kurukshetra. Due to which Mata Vaishno Devi becomes happy and gives darshan to him. On his appearance, Arjuna praised him through a verse – “jambutak chittaishu nityam sannihitalaya ( You who always reside in the temple on the slope of Mount Jambhu )”. Arjuna then further say that you are the supreme yogi who is free from age and decay and is the embodiment of victory himself. You are the mother of Vedas and Vedanta.
There is also a belief that for the first time the temple of Mata Vaishno Devi was built in Kaul Kandoli by the Pandavas. There are five stone structures in a sacred cave on the hill on the right side of Trikuta mountain, which are believed to be the symbol of 5 Pandavas.
The description of Trikuta mountain comes in the main Veda of Hindu religion, Rigveda.There is a temple of Mata Vaishno Devi on the Trikuta mountain itself.
Story of Bhakt Shridhar
Bhakta Shridhar Mata was a great devotee of Vaishno Devi. Bhakt Shridhar Mata was a great devotee of Vaishno Devi. Many stories of his devotion and faith are prevalent. A story about him which is more popular is something like this: –
Sridhar was a poor Brahmin from Hansla village which is some distance from Katra. He was sad about being childless. But his mother was an unwavering devotee of Vaishno Devi and both husband and wife used to fast during Navratri. Then one day mother Jagdamba came in his dream and said to him – You worship nine unmarried girls and feed them. By doing this your wish will be fulfilled.
After this, devotee Shridhar worships nine unmarried girls and feeds them, among those nine girls, Mata Vaishno Devi also eats food in the form of a girl. When all the girls leave, then Mata Vaishno Devi tells Sridhar in her daughter’s form that you should get Bhandara done at your house and also feed the Brahmin. After this Sridhar invites Bhandara to his entire village and he also invites Bhairavnath. Everyone wonders how a poor Brahmin can have so much wealth that he can invite the entire village to Bhandara.
On the day of Bhandara, when all the people of the villages come to eat the Prasad of Bhandara, then Shridhar and his wife get engrossed in the worship of Mata Vaishno Devi. Then Mata Vaishno Devi comes in the form of a girl and tells them that all the items of Bhandara are ready. Then Vaishno Mata distributes Prasad of Bhandara to everyone in the form of a girl. When she gives Bhandara’s prasad to Bhairavnath as well, Bhairavnath demands meat and liquor from them. In reply to which Mata Vaishno Devi says in her daughter form that this house belongs to a Brahmin and meat and temple cannot be found here. When Bhairavnath was adamant, then the mother went from there in the form of air towards Trikuta mountain.
Later, with the blessings of the shree vaishno devi mata, Sridhar had 4 sons. Then one day the mother came to him in a dream and told him that she resides on the Trikuta mountain. It is said that the mother also asked the devotee Sridhar to build a temple there. After which about 700 years ago, Sridhar built the temple of Vaishno Devi.
When India became independent from the British, the maintenance of the temple was handed over to the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board by the state of Jammu and Kashmir. But a tradition was going on that the priest of the temple and the worship of Mata Vaishno Devi would be done only by the descendants of Sridhar. From then till now the temple is worshiped by the devotees of Sridhar only.
Bhairon Baba Temple (Mata Vaishno Devi Temple
Bhairav Baba’s temple comes about 4 km ahead of Mata Vaishno Devi Temple. If a devotee returns after visiting Mata Vaishno Devi without seeing Bhairav Baba, then his journey is considered incomplete.
This blessing was given by Vaishno Devi Mata herself to Bhairav. When Bhairav insisted on going to the Garjun cave of Mata Vaishno Devi, then his war started with Lord Hanuman ji because he was standing at the entrance of the cave to protect the cave.
When the war began to be prolonged, Vaishno Devi Mata herself came out of the cave and killed Bhairav. When he cut off Bhairav’s head with his trishul. After which Bhairav apologized for his mistake and called Vaishno Devi as mother. After which the mother forgave him and also gave a boon that whenever a devotee would come to visit him, his pilgrimage would not be complete without your darshan. By giving this blessing, Vaishno Mata became the same intuition.
Banganga In Mata Vaishno Devi Temple
When devotees leave Katra for Mata Vaishno Devi’s Bhavan, then the first thing they see on the way is Banganga. Banganga is a river flowing in Katra, in whose enclosure it is said that this Ganga was manifested by Mata Vaishno Devi herself. The story is such that once when Mata Vaishno Devi met Hanuman ji, she asked for water to drink, then Vaishno Devi created the Ganges by shooting an arrow on the ground and gave water to Hanuman ji. Mata Vaishno Devi had also washed her hair here. Because of this also the importance of this place increases. This Ganga was manifested by the arrow of Mata Vaishno Devi, hence it is called Baan Ganga.
Today devotees of Mata Vaishno Devi live in every corner of the world and every year lakhs of devotees come here from country and abroad to visit Mata Vaishno Devi. Everyone comes here with their own wishes and it is said that no one returns empty handed from here. The journey here can be a little tiring, but this tiredness is very peaceful.