Mata Vaishno Devi

Mata Vaishno Devi

Mata Vaishno Devi Courtesy-Amar Ujala

While various versions of the origin and legend of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji are prevalent, there seems to be unanimity on the discovery of Shrine around 700 years back by the same Pandit Shridhar, at whose place Mata had helped organize a Bhandaara. When she left amidst the Bhandaara to escape Bhairon Nath, Pandit Shridhar is said to have felt as if he had lost everything in his life. He felt immense grief and gave up the intake of food and even water and closed himself in a room of his house, fervently praying for Vaishnavi to reappear. It is then that Mata Vaishnavi appeared in his dream and told him to search for her at the Holy Cave situated amidst the folds of the Trikuta Mountain. She showed him the way to the Holy Cave and insisted him to break his fast. Pandit Shridhar then went on to discover the Holy Cave in the mountains. Every time he seemed to lose the way, the vision of his dreams reappeared before his eyes and finally he reached his destination. Upon entering the Cave he found a rock form with three heads atop it. At that moment Mata Vaishno Devi appeared before him in all her glory (another version says that the Supreme Energies of Maha Saraswati Mata, Maha Lakshmi Mata and Maha Kali Mata appeared in the Holy Cave and introduced him to the three heads (now known as the Holy Pindies) of the rock form along with various other identification marks in the Holy Cave. She blessed him with a boon of four sons and a right to worship her manifestation and asked him to spread the glory of the Holy Shrine all over. Pandit Shridhar then spent his remaining life in the service of Mata at the Holy Cave.


Note: If you want to know details of this Holy place. Please read the following article origianally written by   Sh. Chaman Lal Gadoo in his book Tirthas- Jammu & Kashmir published by Vidya Gauri Gadoo Research Centre  

Vaishno Devi Tirtha-Jammu

Chaman Lal Gadoo

The cult of the Mother Goddess is as old as humanity. The worship of the Mother Goddess is an integral part of the Sanskrit civilization of India and the broad structure of temple worship which evolved through the Indian history. A striking uniformity exists between the forms of worship in the temples of Jammu and Kashmir and temples in India. It appears that the historical sequence which marked the evolution of temple worship in Jammu and Kashmir is identical to the historical sequence of the temple worship in India. The worship of the Mother, in the form of Bhavani, is the basic ground-work of the Hindu temple worship in India. It is definitely the most ancient form of worship in Jammu and Kashmir as well.

The Vaishno Devi shrine is one among the most popular religious shrines of India. Vaishno Devi in Jammu has been designated as the Elder Sister among the six other Devi shrines in a fairly narrow belt of the Siwailiks between the Yamuna and Chenab rivers. Vaishno Devi has become much more popular than the other Six Sisters—Mansa Devi, Chintipurni Devi, Naini Devi, Jwala Ji (Jvalamukhi), Kangra (Kangrevali Devi or Vajreshvari) and Chamunda Devi.


Historicity of the Shrine

There is lack of exact chronological evidences in history as to when the Vaishno Devi shrine came into existence. It is an ancient shrine whose reference is found in the Vedas and ancient scriptures. Like other highly venerated shrines of India, Vaishno Devi shrine is an ancient one whose antiquity is pre-Mahabharata. Lord Krishna is believed to have advised Arjuna to go up in the hills of 'Jambu’ and seek the blessings of Vaishno Devi before taking up arms in the battle field. 'Jambu' is identified with present day Jammu. Arjuna, while worshipping Vaishno Devi, calls her the highest Yogi,  who is free from decrepitude and decay, who is the Mother of the 'Vedas and the science of Vedanta' and who is giver of 'victory and personification of victory' itself. The shrine of Vaishno Devi has a long traditional, spiritual and religious history as a long surviving institution of nearly 1,000 years.


The shrine of Vaishno Devi is a manifestation of the Mother Goddess and it lies nestled in a natural cave located in the Trikuta Mountains towering above Katra, about 50 km. from Jammu, at an altitude of 5,200 feet and a distance of approximately 12 kilometers (7.45 miles) from Katra, the base camp of the shrine. The connection with the Vaishno Devi shrine is often indicated by its setting among snowcapped mountains, particularly among the three peaks of Trikuta Mountain. Enroute the pilgrims cross Ban Ganga, Charan Paduka, Adhkwari and Sanji Chhat before one reaches the holy cave temple. There had been only one tunnel, which had been created by nature, which led into the shrine. This tunnel was used for both entering th