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Temple of Goddess Vaishno Devi

The well-renowned Goddess Vaishno Devi Temple is by far the most visited pilgrimage in the whole of India. Millions of tourists endeavor to climb this holy mountain every year. Resting in Katra at the Trikuta mountains within the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Goddess Vaishno Devi is believed to fulfill all the desires of her devotees. The Goddess in the temple is affectionately called ‘Maa’ or ‘Mata’, which refers to ‘Mother’. Like a mother, Goddess Shri Mata Vaishno Devi never likes to see her children distraught and hence bestow them with all good fortune. Perched at an altitude of 5200 feet, the arduous journey to Mata Vaishno Devi temple involves a trek of nearly 12 km from the base camp at Katra, on a well-paved path with a gentle slope. There is also an option of climbing stairs, which is a shorter trip, but much steeper and hence, more physically demanding. The mid-point in the trek is at Adhkuari, from where the pilgrims can continue to Sanji Chhat, ascenic plateau that has been developed as a helipad and a good resting point. From here, it is a comfortable two-and-a-half km walk to the shrine. If you’re running short of time or unable to do the climb,there are regular helicopter flights from Katra to Sanjhhi Chhat, followed by the 2.5 km walk. The Holy Bhawan or the holy cave houses the Sanctum Sanctorum, where Goddess Vaishno Devi dwells in the form of Holy Pindies manifesting Herself in three forms of Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswati. The first glimpse of the Holy Bhawan can be caught from about 1.5 kms away. At the first sight, the pilgrims feel a sudden upsurge of energy and the fatigue from the long strenuous hike is instantly gone as if by magic. The last 1.5 km of the Yatra is level ground or gently sloping downhill, the devotees reach there quickly with extra fervor and devotion at just the glance of their well-craved destination. Goddess Vaishno Devi is considered to be the incarnation of three supreme energies. The 3 energies represent the 3 modes of material nature - Sathva Guna (mode of goodness), Rajas Guna(mode of passion) and Tamo Guna (mode of ignorance). The energies in the Holy cave help to strike perfect balance between these 3 modes of material nature in a person, which is vital to lead a meaningful, proper human life. This power makes the Holy Vaishno Devi shrine unique in the world.

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