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Vaishno Devi

Vaishno Devi, Reasi district, Jammu and KashmirMeditation: I meditate on Vaishno Devi abiding in the form of three Pindies in the holy cave of Trikuta Parvat.

Vaishno Devi: Vaishno Devi originated from the combined powers of the Tridevis - Devi Mahakali, Devi Mahalakshmi and Devi Mahasaraswati. The Devi incarnated as the daughter of Ratnakar. She performed penance and got the darshan of Sri Rama. Sri Rama instructed Her to abide in Trikuta Parvat as the great Devi of this Kali Yuga. After an encounter with Bhairon Nath, She manifested in a cave in Trikuta Parvat in the form of three Pindies. Devi is said to have revealed Her holy cave to Her ardent devotee named Sridhar Pandit.

Trekking route and places to see:
The Vaishno Devi Cave is reached by a trekking route from the base camp at Katra. Pilgrims undertake a trek of 12 km to reach the Holy Cave (Bhawan). The trekking route passes through:

1. Darshini Darwaaza (850 m): This is the entry gate to the trek. According to legend Mata Vaishno Devi met Pandit Sridhar at this spot in the form of a small girl during the Bhandara (community feast). Mata eluded Bhairon Nath and started ascending the hill towards the Holy Cave.

2. Ban Ganga (820 m): Ban Ganga is a stream which is believed to have been created by Mata Herself using a Ban (Arrow) on Her way to the Holy Cave. Hence this is called Ban Ganga. After creating this stream, She took a dip in it and washed Her hair.

3. Charan Paduka (1030 m): This is a rock slab with the imprints of feet believed to be that of Mata Herself. According to legend, Mata stopped here for sometime to check whether Bhairon Nath is still chasing Her and left Her footprints here.

4. Adhkuwari (1460 m): Adhkuwari is a small womb-shaped cave halfway between Katra and the main cave. Adhkuwari means "Eternal Virgin". It is believed that Mata performed tapasya in this cave for nine months worshipping Lord Shiva. Hence the cave is also called Garbh Joon or Garbh Yoni. When Bhairon Nath approached this cave while searching for Her, She created an exit at the other end with Her trident and proceeded towards the main cave.

5. Himkoti: This is one of the most beautiful spots on the new track with breathtaking scenic beauty of the entire valley. It is around 2.5 km from Adhkuwari.

6. Sanjhichat (1890 m): This is the highest point on the trekking path with a panoramic view of the valley.

7. The Holy Cave (Bhawan) (1500 m): After leaving Adhkuwari, Mata ascended the hills and reached the Holy Cave. Bhairon Nath also reached there and challenged Her. Vaishno Devi assumed Her Divine Form in this place and beheaded Bhairon Nath with a sword. By the power of the blow of Her sword, the head of Bhairon Nath fell one and a half km away from this cave in the place now known as Bhairon Ghati. When Bhairon Nath finally surrendered to Her before his death, Mata gave a boon to him that the journey to Her shrine will remain incomplete without visiting the temple of Bhairon Nath on the return. The Devi then immersed Herself in meditation and manifested in the form of three Pindies (Natural Rock formations). The Devi revealed the location of this cave to Her ardent devotee Pandit Sridhar for the welfare of all Her devotees. It is believed that Mata personally calls Her devotees in this place (Bulawa) when She wishes them to visit Her.

At the entrance of the Holy Cave is the symbol of Lord Ganesha. Adjacent to it are the symbols of Surya Deva and Chandra Deva. Thereafter is the symbol of the torso of Bhairon Nath around 14 ft long (The head of Bhairon Nath fell in a place called Bhairon Ghati around 2 km away from this cave). After this comes the symbol of Lord Hanuman (Launkra Beer). Thereafter is the Charan Ganga, a holy stream of water flowing inside the cave from the feet of the Mother. Beyond this is the Havan Kunda of the Mother and adjacent to it are symbols of Shankha, Chakra, Gada and Padma. There are many other symbols inside the cave. The pilgrims finally come to the three Pindies inside the Holy Cave which represent the three forms of the Mother - Devi Mahakali, Devi Mahalakshmi and Devi Mahasaraswati. All these are seen only if the darshan is through the main cave during the lean season.

8. Bhairon Ghati: This is the place where the head of Bhairon Nath fell after Mata Vaishno Devo beheaded him. There is a small temple of Bhairon Nath here which the devotees visit after visiting the shrine of Mata.

• Vaishno Devi cave is located in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.

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Last updated on Dec-2021

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