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Vaishno Devi Temple
Vaishno Devi Mandir is one of the holiest Hindu temples located in the hill of Vaishno Devi, Katra, Jammu and Kashmir, India. In Hinduism, Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani and Vaishnavi, which is a manifestation of the Mother Goddess.
The temple is in the town of Katra, in Udhampur district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Vaishno Devi is one of the most revered places of worship in India. The shrine is at an altitude of 5200 feet and a distance of approximately 12 kilometers. Million of people visit the temple every year and is the second most visited religious shrine in India, after Balaji temple at Tirupati.
According to legend, Goddess Vaishno Devi took her birth in the South of India in the home of Ratnakar Sagar, Her worldly parents had remained childless for a long time. Her father had promised, the night before the birth of his child that he would not prevent whatever his child desired. Goddess Vaishno Devi was also called Trikuta. Later she was called Vaishnavi because of her taking birth from Lord Vishnu's lineage. When Trikuta was 9 years old, she sought her father's permission for doing penance on the sea-shore. Trikuta prayed to Lord Vishnu in the form of Rama. During Shree Rama's search for Sita, he reached the sea-shore. His eyes fell on this Divine Girl who was in deep meditation. Trikuta told Shree Rama that she had accepted him as her husband. Shree Rama told her that during his Incarnation, he had vowed to be faithful to Sita. However the Lord assured her that in Kaliyuga, he would manifest as Kalki and would marry her.
In the meantime Shree Rama asked Trikuta to meditate in the cave found in the Trikuta Range of Manik Mountains. Goddess decided to observe the 'Navratra' (literally meaning 9 nights) for the Victory of Shree Rama against Ravana. Hence one reads the Ramayana during the 9 days of Navratra. Shree Rama promised that, the whole world would sing Goddess Vaishno Devi's praise. Trikuta was to become famous as Vaishno Devi and would become immortal for the generations to come.
Walking along with thousands of people helps to uplift one as a social being. All throughout the year this journey continues. Sometimes due to landslides the pilgrimage gets a setback as the roads could get blocked. Due to heavy traffic throughout the year to this place, the trust in-charge has compelled the government to provide good number of trains and other means of transport for the tourists.
Places of Interest
The major attraction in the Vaishnodevi is the holy shrine. But apart from the holy shrine there are several other places of interest for the tourists around Katra.
Some of the tourists spots located around Katra are the resorts that are beautiful locations for picnic.
This is a tourist's complex where one can relax and enjoy several amenities during their stay at this multifaceted building. This tourist complex is located at 36km from the city. This tourist complex leads towards Srinagar, which is another beautiful tourist attraction.
Patni Top is another hill resort which is very popular with the tourists. This hill resort is 112 km from Jammu. The resort is placed on a picturesque highland. It is situated at an altitude of 2.024 km. The resort is surrounded by the attractive wooded forest.
Best Season to Visit
Although the whole year round, the weather is pleasant, peak winter time like late December and early January should be avoided. The weather around the place for most of the year, is generally cool, which is usually a respite for the tourists. The picturesque locale of the majestic Himalayas adds to the beautiful journey till the shrine. The striking mountain ranges around the shrine exhibits nature at its best. The journey till the shrine on foot feels like trekking, which gives an inclination of adventure sports.
How to get there
By Air: Jammu is well connected by air. Both Indian Airlines and Jet Airways operate daily flights to Jammu. The average flying time from New Delhi is about 80 minutes.
By Train: One can also reach Jammu by Rail. Jammu is connected to other parts of India on broad gauge and many passenger trains ply from various parts of the country to Jammu.
By Road: In order to visit the Holy Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi, one has to reach Katra, a small town which is situated around 50 km from Jammu. Jammu has a well equipped airport and has daily flights from all the major cities. The Jammu to katra travel can be completed on road by hiring a taxi, or taking one of the hourly buses. The holy shrine of goddess vaishno devi can be reached from katra on foot, or on the back of horses, which are readily available all the way. A recent mode, the helicopter has been organized for disabled, and the needy.
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