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Maa Vaishno Devi, Trikuta Hills, Katra- The shrine is at an altitude of 5200 feet and a distance of approximately 12 kilometres from Katra. Maa Vaishno Devi temple is one of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to Shakti, located in the hill of Vaishno Devi, Jammu and Kashmir, India. In Hinduism, Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani and Vaishnavi, is a manifestation of the Mother Goddess. The temple is near the town of Katra, in Jammu district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is one of the most revered places of worship in Northern India. According to a Hindu epic, Maa Vaishno Devi took birth in the South of India in the home of Ratnakar Sagar. A pilgrimage to the Holy Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji is considered to be one of the holiest pilgrimages. The journey to the Holy Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji starts with the Call of Mata. The Mata Vaishnmo Devi Shrine is one of the most popular shrines of INDIA. Ma Vaishno Devi shrine is the most holy and sacred place nestled in the mighty Trikuta mountain,61 kms from north of Jammu. As the legend goes, more than 700 years ago, Vaishno Devi, a devotes of Lord Vishnu used to pray to Lord Ram had taken vow of celibacy.BhaironNath , a tantrick (demon-God) tried to behold her and gave a chase. The Goddess felt thirsty at Banganga and shot an arrow into the earth from where water gushed out. The Goddess then meditated in the cave at Adhkawari. It took Bairon Nath nine month to locate Her, the reason why the cave is known as 'Garbh Joon' Mata Vaishno Devi blasted an opening at the other end of the cave with Her Trident when the demon -God located Her. On arriving at the holy cave at Darbar, she assumed the form of Maha Kali and cut of Bhairon Nath's head which was flung up the mountain by the force of blow and fell at the place where the Bhairon Temple is now located . The boulder at the mouth of the holy cave according to the legend is petrified torso of Bhairon nath who was granted divine forgiveness by the benevolent Mata in his dying moments. The 'Aarti' of the Goddess is performed twice a day first time in the morning just before the sunrise and second time in the evening immediately after the sunset. This whole procedure of 'Aarti' takes nearly two hours during which time the darshans remain suspended. All the maintenance works required inside the cave are carried out during this time only.
In order to visit the Holy Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi Ji, one has to reach Katra, a small town situated around 50 kms. from Jammu, the winter capital of the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Katra serves as the base camp for the yatra. Katra is well connected to Jammu and Jammu, in turn, is well connected to the rest of the country by Air, Rail, and Road.
How to Reach from Jammu to Katra
Katra is the base camp for Vaishno Devi Yatra. The town is well linked with Jammu by good network of roads. Many deluxe coaches, local buses and private taxis ply from Jammu to Katra . The city of Jammu is well connected to all prime cities of India by Air, Rail and Roads.
By Air: The airport closest to the Vaishno Devi shrine is at Jammu. There are several regular flights to Jammu from all key destinations of India. Indian Airlines and Jet Airways operate daily flights from Delhi to vaishno devi Jammu, mumbai to vaishno devi, and bangalore to vaishno devi.
Vaishno Devi helicopter service is also provided to the pilgrims from the airport at Sanjhi Chat in Jammu in the morning.
By Rail: The nearest railhead from Vaishno Devi Katra is Jammu Railway station. Jammu is connected to all parts of the country on broad gauge.
A rail link to Katra from Udhampur is being built to facilitate yatris to Vaishno Devi. During peak season, the railways run special trains to Jammu for the comfort of the devotees.
By Road: A good network of roads connects Jammu and Katra with all major cities of Northern India. The National Highway no 1 passes through Jammu towards Srinagar. Many Standard buses, luxury buses of State Transport Corporation and private buses connect Jammu with all important cities and towns of Northern India
Best Time to Travel to Vaishno Devi
Round the year. The pilgrims prefer the months of October and February as the best time for Vaishno Devi Yatra.