|Mata Vaishno Devi|
|Proper name:||Vaishno Devi Mandir|
|State:||Jammu and Kashmir|
|Architecture and culture|
|Primary deity:||Vaishno Devi (Shakti)|
Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani and Vaishnavi, is a manifestation of the Hindu Mother Goddess or Durga. The words "maa" and "mata" are commonly used in India for "mother", and thus are often used in connection with Vaishno Devi. Vaishno Devi Mandir (Hindi: वैष्णोदेवी मन्दिर) is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Hindu Goddess, located at the Trikuta Mountains within the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Vaishno devi is one of 108 shakti peetha, the story of Vaishno Devi is found in Chanddi up-purana. When Shiv Bhagwan cuts Sati Maa's body into 108 peethas then 52 body parts fell onto earth atmosphere and rest of the 56 fell on other planets. Out of which the "Blessing Hand" of Goddess Sati had fallen on "Planet Venus" or Shukra. Goddess Lakshmi is considered to be the ruling planet of Shukra hence also known as Goddess of Venus. But in the beginning of Treta Yug, there was a devil called "Mur", he got the boon from Brahma that he cannot be killed by any human being, god, trinity, or any one born on Earth. Eventually in a gods-demon war, Demon Mur ran behind his greatest enemy Vishnu, who went to the place where was the shakti peetha of Goddess Sati on the Planet venus. Goddess Lakshmi insisted goddess Parvati, the next incarnation of Adi Parashakti after Sati, for help, thereby goddess Sharda and goddess Parvati in the form Kalika, went to the region. Goddess Lakshmi incarnated in spiritual form, because physically, she had already been taken birth as Goddess Vedavati who later on would become Sita in next incarnation. So Mother Parvati herself gave her physical appearance, with a soul of "Lakshmi" and Goddess of knowledge, Saraswati. The girl born was named "Kumari". Saraswati, Kali and Lakshmi dropped three pindies (Sacred stones) as their true forms, where they will be present till the end of Kaliyuga. To make the devil not known about the birth of the miracle goddess, Lord Shiva Shifted the mountain to Earth. When the devil entered the place who was running after Lord Vishnu saw a little girl. She killed him and there by, Vishnu got another name called "Murari".
Since her soul was of Lakshmi so she wanted to have Vishnu as her consort. She incarnated in the house of Lord Ratnakar, this time Narada named her "Trikuta" also by the names kumari etc.
The girl right from her childhood displayed a hunger for knowledge which was like a vortex and which no amount of teaching and learning could sufficiently satiate. Subsequently, Vaishnavi started looking into her inner self for knowledge, and soon learned the art of meditation and realized that meditation and penance only could bring her close to her greater objective. Vaishnavi thus relinquished all household comforts and went deep into the forest for Tapasaya (meditation).
When she heard that Lord Rama moved to forest for exile as such Trikuta also went to forests. Meanwhile, Lord Rama, during his fourteen years of exile happened to visit Vaishnavi who recognized him immediately as no ordinary being but the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and immediately asked him to merge her into himself so that she could become one with the supreme creator.
However Lord Rama, knowing that it was not the appropriate time, dissuaded her by saying that he would visit her again after the end of his exile, and at that time if she succeeded in recognizing him, he would fulfill her wish. True to his words, Rama visited her again after being victorious in the battle, but this time he did so in the disguise of an old man. Unfortunately, Vaishnavi was unable to recognize him this time and was distraught. Upon this, Lord Rama consoled her that the appropriate time for her being one with the creator had not come, and that time would come eventually in 'Kaliyug' when He (Rama) would be in his incarnation of 'Kalki'. Rama also directed her to meditate, and set up an Ashram at the base of Trikuta hills, to elevate her level of spirituality so as to bless mankind and rid the poor and destitute of their sufferings. Only then would 'Vishnu' merge her into himself. Vaishnavi, immediately set off for the northern part and after immense hardships, reached the foot of the Trikuta Hills. After reaching there she set up her ashram there and began to meditate.
The goddess after halting at (present day) Banganga, Charan Paduka, and Adhkwari, finally reached the holy cave Shrine.when mata vaishnavi was fleeing she came in presence with a muni and sought his help . He directed her towards a cave in Adhkawari . it is said that she stayed in the cave for 9 complete months . After that when she came out hanuman was there to guard her . she wanted to wash herself but there was no water in the vicinity . so she took an arrow and striked it towards the land when water came out from that place .It is the origin of Ban-Ganga. The name of the river came from this story. After this she moved on further to now situated Shrine and took rest and started to meditate . Bhairon after knowing her presence went there where he was stopped by hanuman . It was a fierce battle the goddess was compelled to kill him. Bhairon Nath met his ultimate fate when the goddess, just outside the mouth of the cave, beheaded him. The severed head of Bhairon fell with force on a distant hilltop. Bhairon Nath upon his death realised the futility of his mission and prayed to the deity to forgive him. The almighty Mata (Mother Goddess) had mercy on Bhairon and gave him a boon that every devotee of the goddess would have to have the Darshans of Bhairon after having the Darshans of the Goddess and only then would the yatra of a devotee be complete. Meanwhile, Vaishnavi decided to shed off her human form and assuming the face of a rock she immersed her self into meditation forever. Thus Vaishnavi, in the form of a five-and-a-half-foot-tall rock with three heads or the Pindies on the top is the ultimate destination of a devotee. These Pindies constitute the Sanctum Sanctorum of the holy cave known as the shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji, which is revered by one and all.
Vaishnodevi pilgrims (yatris) visit the temple every year and it is the second most visited religious shrine in India, after Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. The Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board maintains the shrine. A rail link from Udhampur to Katra is recently completed to facilitate pilgrimage. The nearest airport is Jammu Airport which has a very high flight frequency, and is served by all leading domestic airlines. The temple contains three idols of Maha Saraswati, Maha Lakshmi, and Maha Kali, which are all images of Vaishno Devi.
Maa Vaishno Devi temple can be reached from Katra. Katra is a small but bustling town around 45 km. from Jammu. From Katra, after getting the 'Yatra Parchi' (Journey Slip) at Banganga point for darshan, devotees can proceed to the Bhavan.
The way to Bhavan is steep and requires a long walk uphill from Katra. Alternatively ponies and palanquins are also available. Helicopter service can also be taken for a large part of the trip. The Trust offers comfortable stay for pilgrims. Katra is at an altitude of about 2500 feet (about 762 meters); Banganga is at an altitude of about 2800 feet (863 meters); Bhavan is at the altitude of about 6200 feet (about 1900 meters); and, the distance from Katra to Bhavan is about 13 km.
Indian Railways have started rail services up to Katra on July 4, 2014 when Union Rail Budget of 2014-15 is to be presented in the Parliament (Tentative).They are in communication with the Jammu and Kashmir Government to integrate permit slips for Vaishno Devi Darshan with the train ticket. The passenger can get permit slips while booking the train ticket.
Information regarding 'Pindi' for first time visitors
It was treta yug when a kapalik vaironath got boon from Mahakali the he would be the most powerful ascetic became furious. He bought young girls to sacrifice in front of goddess. Goddess Parvati was tensed because she is Mahakali herself and she did not want it. She took birth in abode of ocean god Ratnakar as daughter. Her name was Trikutaa, she started penance of lord Vishnu. It was treta yug when lord took the form of Rama. Lord help Trikuta to realise herself and gave her tiger and weapons. Then goddess took her devine appearance and went to a cave. That mountain was named Trikuta. As she is devotee of Vishnu her name was Vaishno. She ordered a poor man Sridhar to arrange a lunch for villagers known as bhandara. She also assured him for not being tensed. By the devine grace he managed all things. In that occasion Vairo also entered and wished to have food. The goddess transformed into young girl and served food to him. Those were all vegetarian food. Vairo threw it and wished to eat meat and wine. But the girl told him that was a house of a vaishnav and only vegetarian food is available. He became angry and hold her hand but she threw him. She started laughing loudly and started flying in the sky. Vairo chased her. Goddess went to her cave and called Hanuman. Hanuman wanted to drink water goddess created a river throwing a arrow. Vairo came to the cave and challenged her. And the fight started at last Vaishno mata cut his head with her soard. He then realised that he did sins. He wanted to know who she is. Then goddess transformed into Mahakali. He realised that she was none other than the Adi Shakti mata the mother of universe. Then Parvati took her own form and went to Kailash. Sridhar went to the cave where the goddess lived and found 3 rocks. Goddess appeared in form of him and ordered to worship the rocks as Mahalakshmi,Mahasaraswati and Mahakali.
- "Yatra Information". Maavaishnodevi.org. 2010-08-01. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- Aggarwal, J. and Agrawal, S. Modern History of Jammu and Kashmir: Ancient times to Shimla Agreement, p. 10 (Concept Publishing Company, 1995).
- "Distances, Altitude & Temperatures". Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
- "Now, rail link till Katra for Vaishno Devi pilgrims". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
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- MataVaishnodevi.com: The complete information Website on Shri Mata Vaishnodevi
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