The Pilgrimage

 Pilgrimage to the Holy Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji is an enchanting journey of the places where Mata Vaishnavi had spent some time while observing various siritual disciplines and penances. The culmination of this pilgrimage is at the Holy Cave where She Merged her human form with the divine astral form of her creators, the three Supreme Energies.

     On this journey one visits Kol Kandholi, Deva Mai, Darshani Darwaaza, Bhoomika Mandir, Banganga, Charan Paduka, Adikuwari and Bhavan where the Holy Cave is situated, each having its own story to tell in context with the spiritual journey of Mata Vaishnavi. The divine and pious energies, which were created around her, while She was observing her spiritual discipline, can still be experienced at these places.

     With the passage of time, pilgrims have started to skip the first two Preliminary Darshans at Kol Kandholi and Deva Mai because of lack of information and/or time. Similarly Bhoomika Mandir doesn't get any mention, which is associated with Mata (Mother) revealing Herself in a girl child form to Pandit Shridhar, whom She made instrumental in I discovering the Holy Shrine. It requires a special effort to halt or reach these places. The remaining places, viz., Banganga, Charan Paduka and Adikuwari fall on the track to the Holy Shrine and thus can be visited by all those who visit-the Holy Shrine. A brief (details are given in the forthcoming pages of the" book) of the landmarks associated with this Great Pilgrimage is as follows:

Kol Kandholi : Traditionally considered to be the first Darshan on the pilgrimage to the Holy Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi. It is believed that Mata stayed here during Dwapar Yug while observing various spiritual disciplines. It is located at Nagrota, 15 kilometers the city of Jammu.  Details . . . . .

Deva Mai : Considered to be the abode of Mata during Kaliyug, around 500 years back. She is said to have taken birth in the family of Pandit Shyami Das as his daughter and stayed at this place for around 110 years in a small girl child fonn. Deva Mai is located at a distance of 7.5 kilometers from the town ofKatra on Jammu-Katra Road (a bypass of3.5 kilometers emerging at a distance of 4 kilometers from Katra, leads one to Deva Mai). Details . . . . .

Bhoomika Mandir : Believed to be the place where Mata organized a Bhandaara at Pandit Shridhar's place. It is located within Katra town at a distance of around 2 kilometers from bus stand,Katra. Details . . . . .

Darshani Darwaaza/Deodi : The place where Pandit Shridhar is believed to have met Mata in a girl child fonn. Also the place from where one gets a complete view of the Trikuta Mountain. Darshani Darwaaza is at a distance of 1 kilometer from bus stand, Katra, on the track towards the Holy Shrine. Details . . . . .

Ban Ganga : The legendary river believed to have come into existence when Mata shot an arrow in the earth. Banganga is at a distance of 500 meters from Darshani Darwaaza on the track towards the Holy Shrine. Details . . . . .

Charan Paduka : The spot where Mata's footprints are engraved on a rock. Charan Paduka is at a distance of 1;5 kilometers from Banganga on the track to the Holy Shrine. Details . . . . .

Adikuwari and Garbh Joon : A place where Mata had observed spiritual discipline (Tapasya) for 9 months in a womb shaped cave. The cave is known as Garbh Joon. Adikuwari is located at a distance of 3.9 kilometers from Charan Paduka. Details . . . . .

Alternate Track : To negate the steep climbs on the old track to the Holy Shrine, an alternate track has been constructed which starts some 500 meters before Adikuwarl. There is also a bYPass from Adikuwari to this Alternate Track. The Alternate Track starts at a distance of 3.42 meters from Charan Paduka. Details . . . .

Himkoti : A picturesque spot on the Alternate Track towards the Holy Shrine. Himkoti is at a distance of around 2.75 kilometers from Adikuwari. Details . . . . .

Haathi Mattha and Sanjhi Chhat : Haathi Mattha is a steep but charming climb on the old track to the Holy Shrine. The climb ends at a beautiful spot popularly known as Sanjhi Chhat. Sanjhi Chhat is also the culmination of the uphill climb and from here a pilgrim has to walk downhill in order to reach the Main Shrine Complex. Sanjhi Chhat is located at a distance of 3.25 kilometers from Adikuwari.  Details . . . . .

Bhavan (Main Shrine Complex) : The abode of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi. This is where the Holy Cave is situated. Bhavan is located at a distance of 3.75 kilometers from Himkoti on the Alternate Track and 2.75 kilometers from Sanjhi Chhat on the Old Track. Details . . . . .

Bhairon Baba Temple : The final link of the Great Pilgrimage, where the head of Bhairon Nath had fallen. Skipping the Darshans at Bhairon Temple leaves the journey incomplete. Bhairon Temple is at a distance of 1.43 kilometers from Bhavan and the track further connects to Sanjhi Chhat. Details . . . . .

 

 
   
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