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Mata Vaishno Devi History
Mata Vaishno Devi Temple is located in Katra, a town in Jammu and Kashmir. Vaishno Devi Mandir is one of the most revered Hindu shrines in India. It is dedicated to the goddess Vaishno Devi and is situated in the Trikuta Mountains. Here we have shared the Mata Vaishno Devi Story and history of Vaishno Devi Temple.

There are hundreds of stories and legends about Mata Vaishno Devi Ji, This article on Vaishno Devi Story is compiled from reliable sources such as the official website of Vaishno devi temple, and from Hindu scriptures, i.e Vedas, Puranas, and Mahabharat.

Mata Vaishno Devi Story

Mata Vaishno Devi is a revered Hindu goddess who is believed to have been created from the combined powers of the three goddesses: Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi, and Maha Saraswati.

According to Hindu mythology, Mata Vaishno Devi is known for her benevolence, kindness, and generosity toward her devotees.

Mata Vaishno Devi Temple is situated in the Trikuta Mountains of Jammu and Kashmir and is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in India.

Birth Legends of Maa Vaishno Deviji
The legend of Mata Vaishno Devi dates back to ancient times. It is said that she was born to a devout Brahmin couple, Ratnakar and Dharshana.
As a child, Vaishno Devi was drawn to spiritual practices and spent most of her time in meditation and prayer.
One day, she decided to leave her home and journey deep into the mountains to seek enlightenment.
During her journey, she encountered a powerful demon named Bhairon Nath, who had been pursuing her relentlessly. To escape from him, Vaishno Devi entered a cave and meditated there for nine months. The cave, which is now known as the Vaishno Devi Cave, is believed to be the place where she attained enlightenment.

Vaishno Mata Ji Meets Lord Rama
lord ram temple in vaishno devi

After nine months, Vaishno Devi emerged from the cave and encountered Lord Rama, who had been searching for her.
Lord Rama was impressed by her devotion and granted her a boon. She asked him to remain with her forever, and he agreed.
Together, they spent their days spreading love and compassion among the people.
Lord Ram Temple is also present on the premises of Vaishno Devi shrine.
Today, millions of pilgrims visit the Vaishno Devi Temple every year to seek the blessings of Mata Vaishno Devi. The journey to the temple involves a steep climb through the mountains, and many devotees undertake the journey on foot.

It is believed that those who make the journey with a pure heart and mind are blessed by the goddess and receive her divine grace.

Vaishno Devi in Hindu Scripture
As is the case with many ancient shrines, it is difficult to find the exact origins of the pilgrimage to the Holy Shrine. However, a geological study of the Holy Cave of Vaishno Devi has suggested that it is nearly a million years old.

Rigveda, The oldest of the Hindu scriptures, does not mention the worship of Vaishno Devi, Although there is a reference to the mountain Trikuta.
The tradition of worshipping Shakti, or the divine feminine, is believed to have started during the Puranic period.
Vaishno Devi Story in Mahabharat
The first reference to the Mother Goddess appears in the epic Mahabharata. During the battle of Kurukshetra between the armies of Pandavas and Kauravas.

Arjun, the chief warrior of Pandavas, sought the blessings of the Mother Goddess for victory upon the advice of Sri Krishna.

At the time of worshipping Vaishno Devi, Arjun addressed the Mother Goddess as ‘Jambookatak Chityaishu Nityam Sannihitalaye’, (जम्बूकाटक चित्यैषु नित्यं सन्निहितालय) which translates to ‘you who always reside in the temple on the slope of the mountain in Jamboo’ (likely referring to present-day Jammu).

It is widely believed that the Pandavas were the first to construct the temples at Kol Kandoli and Bhawan as a mark of reverence and gratitude towards the Mother Goddess.
Adjacent to the Trikuta Mountain and overlooking the Holy Cave are five stone structures that are thought to be symbolic of the five Pandavas.
Guru Gobind Singh Visited Vaishno Devi Cave
Guru Gobind Singh is said to be the earliest recorded historical figure to have visited the Holy Cave, having reached there via Purmandal. The traditional route to the Holy Cave passed through this famous pilgrimage site.

Some traditions consider this shrine to be the holiest of all Shaktipeeths (a place where the Eternal Energy, the Mother Goddess, resides) because it is said that the skull of Mata Sati fell here, while others believe that her right arm fell here.

However, certain scriptures do not support this belief and instead suggest that Sati’s right arm fell at Gandarbal in Kashmir. Nevertheless, the Holy Cave of Shri Mata Vaishno Deviji contains stone remnants of a human hand, known as Varad Hast (the hand that bestows blessings and boons).

History of Vaishno Devi Temple
vaishno devi story

The Vaishno Devi Temple, also known as the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine, is a highly revered Hindu temple located in the Trikuta Mountains of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The temple is dedicated to the goddess Vaishno Devi, who is believed to have been created from the combined powers of the three goddesses: Maa Kali, Maa Lakshmi, and Maa Saraswati.
The history of the Vaishno Devi Temple dates back to ancient times. It is believed that the temple was discovered by a Brahmin priest named Pandit Sridhar in the 11th century.
According to legend, Pandit Sridhar had a vision of the goddess, who instructed him to excavate a cave in the Trikuta Mountains. When he did so, he discovered the cave and the idol of the goddess inside it.
Over the centuries, the temple grew in popularity, and many devotees began to make the journey to the shrine to seek the blessings of the goddess. The temple was renovated and expanded several times over the centuries, and today it is a sprawling complex that includes several shrines, guesthouses, and other facilities for the pilgrims.

Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board
In 1986, the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board was established to manage the affairs of the temple. The board is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the temple, as well as for ensuring the safety and comfort of the pilgrims who visit it.

Today, the Vaishno Devi Temple is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in India, and it attracts millions of devotees from all over the world every year.

The journey to the temple involves a steep climb through the mountains, and many pilgrims undertake the journey on foot as a demonstration of their devotion and faith.


Unfolding Amazing Facts About Mata Vaishno Devi Temple
Being in an Indian family, we all have once in our life visited the Mata Vaishno Devi temple. It is one of the most famous destinations for all Hindus. This a place that is filled with devotees who hold great faith in their Goddess and come to the place to worship her. It is believed that for people who visit Vaishno Devi temple, their wishes tend to come true. Every year more then 4 lakh people visit this holy shrine. However, out of those, only a few know about some of the amazing secrets that the temple holds in its chambers. Moreover, many people are not even aware of the story of the temple. If you happen to be one of them, then this blog is for you. In this blog, we will learn about the story of Vaishno Devi Mandir and also know some of its amazing facts.

Moreover, if you wish to read more blogs like these, then do visit InstaAstro’s website. There you will be able to read many more such interesting and amazing blogs that will help you extinguish your curiosity. Now, let us uncover some secrets and facts about the very famous Vaishno Devi temple.

About Vaishno Devi Temple
Vaishno Devi Temple is one of the most famous and oldest temples in India. The temple is located close to the town of Katra in Jammu. It holds up to a very rich history and significance in the hearts of the Hindu people. Many people believe that the energies of Maa Vaishno Devi surround the place of worship. This heavenly holy place of the divine mother is situated in a delightful, ancient cave high up on the holy Trikuta Mountain. Maa Vaishno rests at this spot inside the cave. She is believed to be the incarnation of Goddess Maa Lakshmi, Maa Saraswati, and Maa Kali.

The devotees of Mata Vaishno Devi believe that nobody can visit her sanctuary until she issues a “bulawa” to them, that is to say, till she calls them. People visit her shrine irrespective of caste, color, and creed. It is said that the journey to her holy shrine is incomplete if she does not issue a bulawa. Even the people who have no plans on visiting the shrine will go to the temple if she calls them.

Story of Vaishno Devi Temple
The story of Vaishno Devi temple is one that fascinates us the most. it is believed that Lord Shiva and Goddess Sati got married without the approval of the Goddess’s father. However, one day when she visited her father, he, in front of her, made fun of Lord Shiva and also criticised God. This angered the Goddess, and she further proceeded to curse her father and also burned herself alive. However, when Lord Shiva got to know about this, he was angered. He go hold of his beloved wife’s burned b ody and proceeded to take circles around the universe in grief. He was deeply hurt and could not focus on anything apart from his dead wife.

Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma saw this and were deeply concerned about the well-being of Lord Shiva. Moreover, they were also worried about he balance of Earth as it would get disturbed. Lord Vishnu further proceeded to use his Suarshanchakra in order to cut through the body of Sati Mata. The pieces of Goddess Sati’s body fell on Earth and have formed Shakti peeths. Thus, Vaishno Devi temple is also known to be on of the Shaktipeeths. Moreover, people believe it to be the Head of the Goddess.

Facts About Mata Vaishno Devi Temple
Let us now have a look at some amazing facts about the Vaishno Devi temple. These are as follows:

Bhairo Nath chased Mata Vaishno Devi with the intention of marrying her.
It is said that the visit to Mata Vaishno is incomplete if you don’t visit the Bhairo Nath temple, which is a site above the Mata Vaishno shrine.
A legend says that Mata Vaishno came into the dreams of Pandit Sridhar and gave him a vision of the temple to be found.
The studies tell that the caves are million years old.
It is believed that if you visit Mata Vaishno Devi temple during Navratri, you get one step closer to heaven.
Moreover, it is said that the route which devotees use to reach their Maa Vaishno is not the original route. It was built because the original one was too narrow to accommodate people.
The monkeys in Vaishno Devi temple are said to be holy as well. Moreover, it is believed if someone feeds the monkeys, then they will be blessed by Lord Hanuman himself.
At Ardhkuwari, there is also a separate cave where Mata hid for 9 months. Maa Vaishno stayed in the same position for 9 months, just like an unborn child in the womb. The cave is called Garbhjun.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. When was vaishno devi discovered?
Vaishno Devi temple is said to be centuries old. However, it was discovered only in 1846 by Maharaja Gulab Singh.
2. What is Vaishno devi temple history?
Vaishno Devi temple is said to be one of the shaktipeeths. It is considered to be one of the most auspicious temples as it is considered to be the head of the Goddess who formed the shaktipeeths.
3. How old is Vaishno devi temple?
Vaishno Devi temple is said to be Millions of years old. The temple is said to be on of the most holy places on earth.
4. When to visit Vaishno Devi temple?
The best time to visit Vaishno Devi temple is between the months of March and October. The weather and environment are suitable for the visit. Moreover, many visitors also visit the temple during the holy days of Navratras.
5. What is the story behind Vaishno Devi bulawa?
The story behind Vaishno Devi bulawa is that people believe that no one can go to Vaishno Devi temple until and unless Vaishno Devo calls them. This call is known as a bulawa. People believe this bulawa to be a voice from inside that makes them visit the temple.
6. What is the story of three Pindis in Vaishno Devi?
There are said to be three Pindis in Vaihno Devi temple. It is believed that these Pindis tend to represent three holy Goddesses. These include Mata Lakshmi, Mata Saraswati, and also Mata Kali.


A Brief Explanation on the History and Origins of Vaishno Devi
Mata Vaishno Devi Temple situated in the Trikuta Hills in Katra, Jammu & Kashmir, is one of the most visited and revered Hindu pilgrimage sites in India. Learn about its history and origins.

Mata Vaishno Devi Temple situated in the Trikuta Hills in Katra, Jammu & Kashmir, is one of the most visited Hindu pilgrimage sites in India. Devotees from all over the world come to visit this temple and take the blessings of Mata Vaishno Devi. It is also considered as one of the most important Shaktipeeths, as it is believed that the skull of Goddess Sati fell here.

A pilgrimage to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji is considered as one of the holiest pilgrimages for Hindus. This temple is popular worldwide as it is believed that “Moonh Maangi Muradein Poori Karne Wali Mata”, the deity here, fulfils whatever her believers wish for. This holy cave is located at an altitude of 5,200 feet and the pilgrims have to undertake a trek of almost 12 km starting from Katra. Upon reaching the Bhawan, pilgrims are blessed with the darshans of the goddess inside the Sanctum Sanctorum, i.e. the Holy Cave. In this cave, the goddess is in the shape of three natural rock formations, also known as “Pindies”. It is important to note here that there are no statues or idols inside the Cave.

History of Vaishno Devi
Like most old shrines, it is difficult to mention as to when exactly the pilgrimage to this holy shrine started. A geological study of this holy cave has indicated that it is almost a million years old. The first mention of this holy cave is noted in the epic Mahabharata. It was the time when the Pandavas and Kauravas were facing each other in the battlefield of Kurukshetra; upon the advice of Shri Krishna, Arjun meditated there to seek blessings for victory. This is when Arjun addresses the mother goddess as ‘Jambookatak Chityaishu Nityam Sannihitalaye’, which means ‘you who always dwell in the temple on the slope of the mountain in Jamboo’ (it is believed to be referred to as present day Jammu).

It is also believed that the Pandavas were the first to build Kol Kandoli Temple and the main Bhawan as their gratitude to the mother Goddess. Perhaps another reference to this Holy Cave is by Guru Gobind Singh, who is said to have gone there via Purmandal.

Origin of the Shrine
Although there are various versions of the origin of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, it is generally agreed that the discovery of this shrine dates back to almost 700 years. This is according to a widely believed Pandit Shridhar’s story. The story runs as Mata Vaishno Devi herself had helped to organise a Bhandaara at Pandit Shridhar’s house. As the story progresses, it is believed that Mata left amidst the Bhandara to escape Bhairon Nath.

The goddess took a halt at Banganga, Charan Paduka, and Adhkwari, and finally reached the cave and Bhairon Nath continuously followed her throughout the journey.

The goddess was then compelled to kill him and he was beheaded right outside the cave. This head fell with a force at a distant hilltop. He suddenly realised that it was all futile and prayed for forgiveness. Mata Vaishno Devi forgave him and also gave him a blessing that every devotee visiting this cave must also pay a visit for Bhairon’s darshan.

At that moment, Vaishnavi also decided to leave her human form and it is assumed that she immersed herself into the rock. From then onwards, Mata Vaishnavi is present in the cave in the form of a 5 ⅕ feet tall rock with three heads or the “Pindies”.

The story comes back to Pandit Shridhar, where he fell into unbearable grief and stopped taking food and water and continuously prayed to Mata Vaishno Devi to reappear. It is believed that he had a dream where Mata Vaishnavi specifically told him to search for her at the Holy Cave situated in the middle of Trikuta Mountain and also showed him the way. She also insisted that he break his fast.

Following that dream, Pandit Shridhar went on to search for the Holy Cave in the mountains and finally found it. Inside the cave, he noticed that there were three rock forms with heads on top of it.

The verse says at that moment Mata Vaishnavi appeared in front of him in her full glory and also introduced him to those rock structures. These structures are now known as the “Pindies”.

The Call of Mata
The journey to this Holy Shrine starts with the Call of Mata. It is not only a belief but a strong experience by a lot of pilgrims that the Maa Vaishnavi sends a call to her children and upon receiving so, wherever they may be, they are bound to visit the Shrine. Simultaneously, it is also believed that unless there is a call or “Bulawa” no one can visit the Shrine.


Vaishno Devi – The Legend of the Powerful Mother Goddess
The temple of Goddess Vaishno Devi is one of the major and sacred Hindu temples dedicated to Parvati or Goddess Shakti, the Divine Consort of Lord Shiva. This beautiful temple lies ensconced among the picturesque hills of Vaishno Devi, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. Hindus venerate Vaishno Devi, also commonly referred to as Mata Rani and Vaishnavi, is the very manifestation of the Mother Goddess Shakti.
Exact Location of the Vaishno Devi Mandir (Temple)
The Vaishno Devi Manir is located close to the town of Katra, in the Reasi district. It is one of the most revered places of worship in India. The shrine is situated at an altitude of 5300 feet above sea level and lies at a distance of approximately 12 kilometres from Katra.

It has been recorded that close to 8 million yatris (pilgrims) visit the temple every year, from each and every part of the world. It is believed to be the second most visited religious shrine in India, coming after the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple.

The temple premises are maintained by the Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. Pilgrims can access the temple by rail via Udhampur to Katra. The Jammu Airport is the best way to reach the shrine for those travelling by flight.
Birth and Childhood of Mata Vaishno Devi
According to legend, Mata Vaishno Devi was born in the Southern part of India, to Ratnakar Sagar. Her parents had been childless for several years and yearned to sire a child. Just the night before the birth of the Divine Child, Ratnakar had promised that he would never ever interfere with whatever his child chose to do later in life. Mata Vaishno Devi was born the next day and was named Trikuta. She was later called Vaishnavi because she had taken birth from the lineage of Lord Vishnu.

When she was 9 years old, Trikuta sought her father’s permission for performing penance on the seashore. Trikuta sat there, praying to Lord Rama, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. At that very time, Lord Rama passed along the seashore, in search of Goddess Sita, who had been abducted by the Demon King, Ravana. Rama was present with his entire Vanara Sena (Army of Monkeys).
Seeing the beautiful girl with the divine glow, deep in prayer and meditation, he approached her and blessed her. Trikuta told Rama that she had already accepted him as her husband. Rama, being Eka Patni Vrata (vowed to have only one spouse), had decided that he would wed and be faithful only to Sita. However, moved by the girl’s devotion towards him, the Lord gave her the name Vaishnavi and promised her that during Kaliyuga, he would take an avatar of Kalki and would then marry her.

Rama, in the meantime, also instructed Trikuta to meditate in a particular cave found in the Trikuta Range of Manik Mountains, situated in Northern India. He proceeded to give her a bow and arrows, a small army of monkeys and also a lion for her protection. The Divine Mother then decided to observe the ‘Navratra’, to pray for the victory of Lord Rama against Ravana.

Even today, devotees read the Ramayana during the 9 days of the Navratri festival. Rama also promised her that the entire world would sing her praises and revere her as Mata Vaishno Devi. It is due to Rama’s blessings that Mata Vaishno Devi attained immortality and now attracts several hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to the shrine each year.
Legends of Mata Vaishno Devi
According to legend, at the time when the Mother Goddess was engaged in waging terrible wars against and destroying the Asuras or demons causing chaos in the world, Her three main manifestations, namely, Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswati united into one single power, pooling in their collective spiritual strength. This unification created a bright tejas or aura and a beautiful young girl emerged from this tejas. The girl asked the Mother Goddesses for instructions to proceed ahead with her mission. The Devis told her that her mission was to manifest on Earth and spend her time there, upholding Dharma or righteousness.

They asked the divine girl to take human birth in the home of Ratnakar and then go on to lead a life of piousness and penance, so as to raise her own consciousness to the level of Godhead. They also told her that once she had attained that level of consciousness, she would then automatically merge into and become one with Lord Vishnu.

Accordingly, the girl took birth as a beautiful little girl child. She had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and displayed keen leanings towards spirituality and a quest for the knowledge of the inner self. She would go into deep meditation and stay in that state for hours together. She then decided to renounce all worldly comforts and travel deep into the forest to perform severe austerities and penance. This is when she met Lord Rama and attained his blessings.

She wanted to become one with Rama, as was her mission. However, Rama, knowing that this was not the appropriate time, promised her that he would visit her again, after the end of his exile. He told her that if she recognized him at that time, he would then fulfill her wish.

Rama kept his word and visited her after winning the battle against Ravana. He came to her in the guise of an old man, who Vaishnavi could not recognize. She was completely distraught when Rama revealed his true self. Rama laughed and told her that the time had yet not come for them to be with one another. He also assured her that they would unite during Kaliyug, asking her to set up her ashram in the foot of the Trikuta Hills and serve to uplift the poor and the destitute.
Vaishnavi’s Ashram Thrives and Flourishes
With Rama’s blessings, people came to know of Vaishnavi’s glory and the word of her ashram spread far wide. Very soon, devotees and followers began to flock to her Ashram in order to get a darshan from her.
A devotee of Vaishno Devi, Sridhar, organized a Bhandara (Community meal) in which the whole village and Mahayogi Guru GorakshNathJi along with all his followers were invited as per Vaishno Devi’s wishes. Guru Gorakshnath visited this Bhandara along with more 300 disciples including the Bhairavnath. Bhairavnath was amazed by seeing the power of divine mother. He wanted to test her powers. For this, he asked Guru GorakshnathJi for his permission. Guru Gorakshnath told Bhairavnath that he did not recommend this but if he still wanted to test Vaishno Devi’s powers, he could go ahead and do so.
Bhairavnath then attempted to grab Vaishno Devi but she fought him back and then decided to flee the place. She ran away into the mountains in order to resume her penance. However, Bhairon Nath continued to chase her there as well.
On the way to the mountains, Vaishnavi took several halts at Banganga, Charan Paduka and Adhkwari. She ultimately reached the cave where she intended to continue her tapasya. To her chagrin, Bhairon Nath followed her there as well. Finally, losing all patience, she decided to kill him to end his harassment.
Coming out to the mouth of the cave, she beheaded him. Bhairon Nath lay dead at her feet, his severed head flying off with a force and falling at a distant hilltop. His soul, realizing his folly after his death, approached the Goddess and prayed to her to forgive him for his misdeeds. The benevolent Goddess immediately felt compassionate towards him and granted him a boon that each and every devotee visiting her shrine would then also have to take a darshan of Bhairon, in order to complete their pilgrimage.

The Goddess then decided to shed her human form and take the form of a rock in order to continue uninterrupted with her meditation. Vaishnavi, hence, gives her devotees darshan in the form of a five and half feet tall rock, with three pindies or heads on the top. The cave where she transformed herself is now the holy shrine of Sri Mata Vaishno Devi and the pindies form the sanctum sanctorum.
The Legend of Pandit Shridhar
There are many other legends associated with Vaishno Devi. One of them relates that the Pandavas visited the holy cave and built a shrine there. After that, Prahlad, the son of the terrible Demon King, Hiranyakashipu, undertook a journey to the shrine. However, the most famous legend is that of a Brahmin, Shridhar, who lived in a village called Hansali, located at the foot of the Trikuta Parbat. This village lies adjacent to the present day town of Katra.

Shridhar was a staunch devotee of the Goddess Shakti. He was very poor and could barely afford a square meal a day. However, he was happy and contented, in the knowledge that the Devi was forever there to guard him from any harm. The Goddess Vaishnavi appeared before him in a dream one night, taking the form of a young girl, or Kanya.

Shridhar, overwhelmed by this darshan and utterly grateful to his ishta devata, decided to undertake a grand Bhandara ceremony in the village, also inviting people residing in all the nearby villages to participate in the event. From that day on, he started visiting the villagers’ houses, requesting them to donate rice, vegetables and other provisions that would be necessary to conduct this Bhandara. While some people acceded to his request, most others turned him down. Some even taunted him for planning to hold a Bhandara, when he did could not even feed himself. As the day of the planned Bhandara drew closer, Shridhar started getting worried about how he was going to feed so many guests.

Shridhar could not sleep a wink on the eve of the Bhandara. He kept thinking of ways and means to collect more food and provisions to feed his guests the next day, but could not arrive at any solution whatsoever. Finally, he just decided to surrender to the Goddess’ will and face the next day as and when it came upon him.

The next morning, Shridhar prepared for a pooja (prayer session) just outside his hut. His guests started streaming in by mid morning. Seeing him praying so intently, they decided not to disturb him and made themselves comfortable wherever they could find the place to sit. Strangely enough, they found that they could all be seated comfortably inside Shridhar’s small hut. The hut was really small and the crowd grew larger and larger. Yet, there seemed to be enough space inside the hut to accommodate a lot more people.

Having finished his pooja, Shridhar opened his eyes and saw the staggering number of guests who had arrived for the Bhandara. He was just starting to wonder how he would tell his guests that he would not be able to feed them, when he saw the Goddess Vaishnavi emerge out of his little hut. The Devi had seen to it that everyone got to eat the food of their choice and that they were all happy by the end of the meal. The Bhandara turned out a great success and his guests left his place, completely satisfied.
Establishment of the Vaishno Devi Shrine
After everyone finished their meal and left the site of the Bhandara, Shridhar tried to find an explanation for the mysterious events of that day. He also wanted to unravel the mystery that was Vaishnavi. He prayed, asking the Goddess to show herself to him, but she did not respond. He tried repeatedly calling her name, but she never turned up to give him darshan. Distraught and feeling empty from within, he gave up his attempts to find her.

One night, Vaishnavi came to him in his dream and told him that she was Vaishno Devi, also showing him the location of her cave. An ecstatic Shridhar left in search of the cave. Each time he lost his way, the vision of the dream came back to him, pointing to him the exact direction of the same. He finally found his destination and was overawed by the sight of his favorite deity in front of him. One version of the tale narrates that all the three Mahadevis appeared before him and also introduced to him to the Three Pindies.

The deity gave him the right to worship her idol, also asking him to spread the glory of her shrine. Further, she blessed him with a boon that he would have four sons. Pandit Shridhar then completely surrendered to her will and decided to spend the rest of his life in the worship of the Goddess. Word of this incident spread around and soon, devotees started flocking this holy cave to pay their obeisance to the powerful Goddess, Vaishno Devi.
The Call of the Divine Mother
Followers of Mata Vaishno Devi believe that no one can visit her temple unless and until she issues a “bulawa” to them, that is, till she calls them to visit her shrine. Irrespective of caste, creed and social status, it is said that a journey to the sacred shrine of Vaishno Devi can materialize if and only if she wills it and blesses the devotee with her darshan. In fact, many devotees have been said to experience this first hand. The converse is also said to be true. If there is a Call from the Deity, even those who had not planned for the trip are bound to go visit the Mother at her shrine.

Those desirous of visiting her shrine, therefore, make a fervent wish in their hearts and pray to her for showering her grace and granting darshan to them. Then, they surrender to her will and leave it to her to decide when it would be the right time for them to go visit her Holy Abode.
History of the Vaishno Devi Temple
There is no exact record as to when the shrine of Vaishno Devi came into existence. Certain geological studies seem to indicate that it may be nearly a million years old. Though the Vedas make no mention of Mata Vaishno Devi, the earliest reference to a mountain deity named Trikuta has been made in the Rigveda. It is worth noting here that the worship of Shakti and other female deities started only during the Puranic era.
In the Mahabharata
The Mahabharata makes a referece to the Mother Goddess. The epic states that just before the great War of Kurukshetra, Arjuna, on the advice of Shri Krishna, meditated upon the Goddess, seeking her blessings for victory. At this juncture, Arjuna describes the Devi as “Jambookatak Chityaishu Nityam Sannihilaye”, meaning, “the one who permanently resides in the temple located on the slope of the mountain in Jamboo”. Scholars say that he could well be referring to the Jammu of that time.

The Pandavas are also believed to have built temples dedicated to the Mother Goddess, in regions close to the Trikuta Mountain. On a mountain adjacent to the Trikuta Mountain are five rock structures, overlooking the Holy Cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi. These five rocks are believed to symbolize the five Pandavas.
Holiest of Shaktipeethas
Many schools of thought consider the Vaishno Devi shrine to be the holiest and most powerful of all the 51 Shaktipeethas. This is because they believe that the skull of Mata Sati fell in this area. Yet other followers believe that her right hand, which holds the Abhaya Hasta (the gesture of succour), had fallen there.

Incidentally, one can find the remains of a human hand here. It is also referred to the Varada Hasta, granting protection, blessings and boons to true devotees.
Guru Gobind Singh Visits the Shrine
Guru Gobind Singh, it is recorded, visited the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi, while he was travelling to Purmandal. This was the earliest record of a historical figure visiting the shrine of the Mother Goddess.
Worship of Mata Vaishno Devi
Vaishno Devi is believed to bestow strength to the weak, sight to the blind, wealth to the poor and bless childless couples with children. This very powerful deity, it is said, is also benevolent enough to fulfill one and all of her devotees’ wishes. This is why followers make it a point to visit her regularly, in spite of the shrine being quite unapproachable, location-wise.

As predicted by Lord Rama, her shrine is packed with crowds of devotees all the year through. However, Navaratri is considered the most auspicious time to visit her abode. This is also the best season to visit the temple, as it tends to get too cold and inaccessible during winters and monsoons. Visiting Vaishno Devi during the Navaratras, it is believed, takes the devotee one step closer to attaining heaven.
Ways to Reach the Vaishno Devi Shrine
Today, there are various ways in which a devotee can reach the holy shrine of Vaishno Devi. The nearest railway station and airport are situated at Jammu. The shrine is linked to the Base Camp at Katra via a track that is 13 kilometers long.
In order to undertake the uphill journey from Katra to Bhawan, one can either travel on foot; or by hiring ponies or palkhies (a type of palanquin).

The Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has also commenced air taxi and helicopter services between Jammu, Katra and Sanjichat, in order to further facilitate devotees. These services, of course, are subject to weather conditions in that area.
Other Shrines near Vaishno Devi
One can find several ancient temples and sightseeing points On the 13 kilometer stretch between Katra and Bhawan. The first one is Banganga, which is 1 kilometer away from Katra. Here, one can take a holy dip in the rivulet and also avail fo the Langer (free food) service there.

The Charanpaduka Temple is the second stop, about 2.5 kilometers away from Banganga. It is said that the Goddess rested a while here, before travelling to the Trikuta Hills. This place is so named, since it contains the foot prints of the deity.

Adkuwari lies about 3 kilometers away from Charanpaduka. This point is halfway to the Vaishno Devi shrine. Devotees usually spend the night here, before proceeding onto the shrine. This place also houses the Adkuwari Temple and Gerbhjoon, an ancient cave, wherein the Devi is believed to have hidden for 9 months, in order to protect herself from Bhairon Nath.

The next stop is Sanjichat, which is about 4 kilometers from Adkuwari. This is the highest point in the long-winding track, from where travelers can get a breathtaking aerial view of Katra, Udhampur, Reasi and Jammu.

The last 2.5 kilometer stretch is a downhill journey, which leads to Bhawan, the sacred shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi. After completing their darshan there, devotees must then proceed to the Bhairon Nath temple, which lies at a short distance on a link track of the main Bhawan-Sanjichat track. This track further leads to a dense forest area; inhabited by several monkeys, wild animals and birds.

Apart from the above shrines, one can also visit the Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh Dham, which is located quite close to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine. This Dham is especially crowded with devotees during Kartik Poornima. On this particular evening, devotees perform a special Deep-Daan (donation of candles) ritual in front of Mata Vaishno Devi and Mata Annapoorna.