Vaishno Devi Temple at Jammu is a holy place that is visited by a large number of devotees every year. Mata Vaishno Devi is known as the Mother who fulfills all the wishes of her children. The
holy cave in which Mata Vaishno Devi resides is placed on top of a hill called Trukuta Hills, at an altitude of 5300 feet. Katra, located at the base of the hill is the base camp for the
pilgrimage to the temple. Katra is about 50 km from Jammu and there is a trek of 12 km from here to the top of the hill. Before starting on the trek, pilgrims have to register at Katra. This
ensures them an accident insurance of 1 lack INR when on trek.
The temple is open for worship from 5.00 am to 12 noon and then from 4.00 pm to 9.00 pm. We took a cab to Katra and then from there trekked to the top of the hill. The trek from Katra to Vaishno Devi Temple takes about 5-6 hours or even more depending on the age and health of the pilgrims. It took about 6 hours for us to reach the temple.
Vaishno Devi Jammu | Image Resource : edukavital.blogspot.com
At the sanctum sanctorum we saw that there were no idols or statues. Mata Vaishno Devi is worshipped in the form
of three natural rock formations called holy pindies. They are joined at the base but have three heads on top and it is immersed in water body. Each of the three holy pindies is unique in its
texture and color. I was told that to my right is the holy pindi of Mata Maha Kali, which is black in color, at the centre is the Mata Maha Lakshmi, which is yellowish red in color and to the
left is the holy pindi of Mata Maha Saraswati, whitish in color.
Maa Vaishno Devi | Image Resource : en.wikipedia.org
For those who find it difficult to trek to the top, there are ponies, palanquins and helicopters to take you to
the top of the hill. The flight operates everyday from 8.30 am to 5 pm and can accommodate 5-6 people at a time. it is believed that more than 8 lakh devotees visit the temple annually.
Maa Vaishno Devi Helicopter Services | Image Resource : matavaishnodevihelicopter.com