Vaishno Devi Yatra

Vaishno Devi Trek Routes

The Holy Shrine of Vaishno Devi is perched at an altitude of 5,200 feet on the Trikuta Mountains. The town of Katra is the base camp for the Vaishno Devi Yatra from where the devotees partake in a 13 km trek uphill to the Holy Bhawan where the Holy Cave is situated. Devotees reach the holy shrine either by walking on foot or by hiring ponies, coolies or dandis.

After the takeover of the Holy Shrine by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB), the entire track from Katra has been re-laid, widened, cemented and tiled. More than 5 km of the track has been covered with rain shelters to protect the pilgrims against the vagaries of weather. The route now glitters with lamps, thus making the pilgrimage possible at night.

There are two routes for reaching the Holy Bhawan of Vaishno Devi

1. Main Route
2. Alternative Route (500m shorter)

Vaishno Devi Temple Route – Main Trek Route to Mata Ka Bhawan

Katra – Ban Ganga – Charan Paduka – Adhkuwari – Himkoti – Sanjhichhat – Bhawan

Darshani Darwaza (Katra)
Darshani Darwaza is the entry gate to the route and is around 1 km from the bus stand. Devotees get a complete view of the Trikuta Mountains from this place. The term ‘Darshan’ stands for view; hence symbolically this is the first Darshan of the Vaishno Devi Bhawan. One can either walk up to the Darshani Darwaza on foot or hire an auto rickshaw. 

Ban Ganga
Situated on the bank of a small rivulet called Banganga and at a height of 2700 feet, Banganga is the first major stop for the pilgrim when he undertakes his on-foot journey from Katra to Bhawan. As per the legend, the goddess Vaishnavi shot an arrow into the ground and a spring gushed out when Langoor-veer, who accompanied her to Trikuta Hills, felt thirsty. It is considered sacred and devotees bathe in it before proceeding further.

Charan Paduka
Situated at a distance of 1 km from Banganga, the ancient temple of Charan Paduka is the place where the imprints of Mata’s pious feet are believed to be imprinted on a rock slab. One pays reverence at the footprints of Mata and proceeds further. Symbolically, it means touching the feet of Mata and seeking Her blessings at the start of the journey. A rained medical staff is also located here.

Adhkuwari
As Adhkuwari is situated 6km from the Holy Bhawan, it marks the midpoint of the Vaishno Devi Yatra and most pilgrims like to rest here for a while before proceeding further. According to the legend, Vaishnavi meditated and observed spiritual discipline (tapasya) for nine long months at a cave known as Garbh Joon. It is generally believed that by merely passing through this cave, a devotee’s sins are cleansed and his soul becomes pious again.

Himkoti
Himkoti is one of the most beautiful spots on this route with breathtaking scenic views of the entire valley. The Shrine board has opened a view point, restaurant including medicare. Himkoti also has an artificial pond, a garden and a meditation centre. The very nature of this spot and its natural splendor envelops the pilgrims in a ethereal and mysterious charm.

Sanjhichhat
Situated at a height of about 6,200 feet, Sanjhichhat is the highest point for the pilgrims on their trek to the Holy Bhawan. A helipad is also located at this place. This helipad has facilitated the recent introduction of Helicopter Service between Katra and Sanjhichhat. To improve the medical facilities for the pilgrims, a 24 bedded hospital was made functional.

Mata Ka Bhawan   
The Holy Bhawan houses the Sanctum Sanctorum – the Holy cave which is the ultimate destination of the pilgrims. Inside the Holy Cave the Goddess has revealed herself in the form of Holy Pindies manifesting Mata in her three forms Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi and Mata Saraswati. A pilgrim can get the first glimpse of Bhawan around 1.5 Kms before he actually reaches there.

Bhairon Temple
Bhairon temple is the next halt for the pilgrims after visiting the holy Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi. After beheading Bhairon Nath and his profuse repentance, the Mother Goddess forgave and blessed him that the Darshans of his temple would be the final link of the Yatra. Thus, yatris would have to pay obeisance at Bhairon temple on their return.

Alternative Route to Vaishno Devi Temple (500m shorter)

Due to the increase influx of pilgrims to the holy shrine of Vaishno Devi, a new route was constructed for the yatris and open in 1999. This alternate route starts from just below Adhkuwari near Indraprastha View Point and ends just short of the Bhawan. On this route, no ponies are allowed. This route is 500 m shorter and gentler than the older main route. Zero-emission battery-operated rickshaws are also available on this track. Sufficient numbers of shelter sheds are also available.

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Published Date: May 17, 2016
Last Updated On: September 13, 2016
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