The second most visited holy shrine in India after Tirupati Balaji, Vaishnodevi is situated in the cavernous ranges of Trikuta hill in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Dedicated to the goddess Vaishnavi, this holy shrine beckons thousands of devotees every year. A deep faith in the presence of divinity on the earth is what help pilgrims undertake the arduous journey of 14 kilometers to the holy cave.
Located at an altitude of 5200 feet, this temple has a huge reverence for the Hindu deities. Legend says that Mata Vaishnodevi, in order to escape from tantric ‘Bhaironath’, took refuge in the Trikuta hill and meditated here for 9 months. The main temple has the idol of three Hindu goddesses in the form of Pindies, representing Goddesses Kali, Lakshmi and Saraswati.
In order to undertake the long trek, pilgrims have to take a Yatra slip from Shri Vaishno Devi Shrine Board registration office at Katra and thereafter begins the journey. The slip is mandatory as without it you won’t be allowed to cross the Banganga check post. There is no fee charged for the slip. There are places to visit throughout the trek- Banganga, Ardh Kunwari, Main Bhawan and Bhaironath temple. The journey is considered incomplete without visiting the Bhaironath temple situated on the top. Bhaironath temple commands the panoramic views of orange looking Himalayan mountain peaks.