"Mata" it is a hindi world that means mother. and Mata Vaishno Devi is not the mother of any individual but is of whole world. The Vaishno Devi is a Hindu Goddess. And also Known by the names - Maa SHAKTI. The temple of maa Vaishno Devi is not a temple actually but is a cave where she rests in the forms of three Shrines.
This Temple is situated in the Jammu and Kashmir which is the topmost state of india. The Temple is Near Katra city in Jammu. The Shrines are situated at the height of 5200 ft at the "Trikoot" mountain which is a mountain with three tops and that is why it get its name. The destination is mountains so that is quite obvious that the journey will be adventurous and exciting and for the nature lovers it is must visit place.
So let's start our journey to Maa shrei Vaishno Devi ji.
Our journey start from landing in Jammu . You may reach there by Plane, train or by bus. There are no lacking in transportation services to there. As every year more than 8 million pilgrims/tourists visit this place. This place is full of natural beauty. And ya also Jammu is called city of temples. From here you can take bus for Katra. And i am sure that tou will enjoy this ride with nature and lovely scenery all around you. After 25 km by bus you will reach Katra. now thats your actual starting point..There are lots of hotels there where you can stay and take rest and get the things of your need and food.
The Next step you do is to register yourself (and every member of your group) to enter the temple. at katra you can easily go to registration center and register yourself and get the slip. now within 4-6 hours of registration you have to reach the "Baanganga Checkpost" this is an army check post from where you enter into the starting zone of "Darshanyatra" which means travel for worship. so many options are available like helicopter service, horse ride etc. but believe me if you want to enjoy it fully stay pedestrian.
and follow my advise don't believe any shopkeeper they always think for profit. in case of any query about way or something you can ask help from coming back devotees.
the way from Katra to Bhawan(temple) is 14 km in distance but nature and scenery there never let you down. And one thing you will notice is that the pilgrim are very friendly. you can call it affect of happiness that you feel inside you when you are at that place.
after such a great experience of walking up toward Bhawan with other peoples and shouting the slogan "Jai Mata Di" which means we worship Mata you will forget about the tiredness and these 14 km will pass-out like a very enjoyable and dreamy night. and in the way there is another temple named "Ardhkumari" which is also a cave. According to story Mata stayed here for 9 month thats why it is called "Garbhjune" also. "Grarbh" means pregnancy and 9 month Maa stay here so it got its name.
you should visit this cave after coming back from Vaishno Devi Bhawan. It is a small cave in diameter. but it is said that a person with evil inside(evil by mind) cant pass through no matter if he is just 20 in diameter, i mean by skinny. and if you are pure from mind you can easily pass however your size is 40. Try it when you'll be walking back.
Now keep walking upward and you'll reach the bhawan. go to the counter got serial mark on your registration slip and walk towards the holy cave of Maa Vaishno devi ji and you'll see Vaishno Maa in form of three Shrines which represent Maa Shakti(Kali/parvati), Maa Laskshmi and Maa Sharaswati respectively left to right as shown in Image above.
It is everyone's even mine too Strong Belief that Maa Vaishno never let your wishes Down if you pray with a pure mind.
Yet it Doesn't end here now you will got a silver coin with shrine impression on it it is called "Khajana" i.e. Treasure. and it is said that it work for your Good-luck and good-wishes.
Now continue your journey to "Baba shri Bhairav Nath ji" temple which is 5 km distance away from Bhawan. It is necessary to go there because according to Maa Vaishno Devi 's story if you will not visit the Bhairav Nath temple after Maa Vaishno devi your Journey remain uncompleted.
One More Thing i want to tell you, It is said that no one can reach the Bhawan till Maa call that person. this call is not any kind of mail or phone call. It is call of Belief and faith which born in your hearts.
With the Holy Name of Maa Vaishno Devi, I wish you visit and have your wishes fulfilled by Mata ji.
And i am sure that you will Really enjoy this journey to India 's 2nd most religious place and Part of Himalaya's beautiful mountain called Trikoot Mountain.
Here I have got some pics in my cam when i was visiting there :
|Reached The Mid way From Jammu to Katra Ride|
|Nature's Beauty From The way to Bhawan|
|Found some wildlife|
|A View Of Trikoot Mountain|
|Near about to Ardhkumari|
|A view to Katra and Mountains From top|
Note : The article is written on the basis of known facts and my own experience as in 2010. There may be some changes from that time.