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Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu and Kashmir

Been there recently?

A holy Hindu shrine, the Vaishno Devi temple is visited by devotees from all over the world. Travelling to Mata Vaishno Devi’s Holy Shrine is a fascinating tour of the locations where Mata Vaishnavi practised her many spiritual disciplines and penances. This Durga temple is considered one of the 51 Maha (major) Shakti Peethas. It is one of India’s most prosperous and well-known religious sites. An estimated one crore people visit here during Navaratri every year. Both Hindus and Sikhs place great spiritual importance on the temple.  

The temple, located 61 kilometres from Jammu, is perched at a height of 5,200 feet and is tucked away in the Trikuta mountains. Various forms of the goddess Shakti, including Maha Kali, Maha Saraswati, and Maha Lakshmi, are honoured here. The shrine, which is housed in a cave, is dedicated to the aforementioned goddesses and features three sacred ‘pindis,’ or stone representations of three energy forms. Legend has it that the Pandavas from the Mahabharata epic constructed the sacred cave temple. 

Nearby Places to See

  • Sanasar

Sanasar, though one of the lesser-known hill stations in the Jammu-Kashmir region, is a paradise for adventure tourists, with opportunities for paragliding, rock climbing, abseiling, and trekking. The location is a cup-shaped meadow encircled by towering evergreen trees. The twin villages of Sana and Sar are excellent for experiencing life in an eco-friendly community with one foot in the past and one in the future, supported by natural resources. It takes its name from a pair of nearby lakes and will introduce you to a more tranquil side of Jammu and Kashmir.

  • Shivkhori

Shivkhori, a holy cave on a hilltop in the Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir, India’s own “Heaven on Earth,” is the site of a shrine dedicated to an avatar of the Hindu god Shiva. The Swayambhu lingam, or self-manifested lingam of Lord Shiva, measures four feet in height and holds great religious significance for Hindus. It is believed that the cave is devoted to an unborn and invisible form of Lord Shiva. A divine presence of Lord Shiva can be felt as one explores the cave. In order to reach the cave-shrine, visitors must cover more than 3 kilometres of terrain, passing through beautiful, verdant mountain terrain. The cave features rock formations that resemble the Hindu deities Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha, Nandi, Kartikeya, and Sheshnag. 

  • Patnitop

In Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur district, Patnitop is a popular hill station that is well-known for its endless meadows and sweeping views of the Himalayas. Patnitop is famous not just for its breathtaking natural beauty, but also for the skiing, trekking, and natural springs that can be found there. Patnitop is a great destination for thrill seekers thanks to its access to a variety of extreme sports.  

  • Baba Dhansar

The holy Hindu site of Baba Dhansar can be found near the picturesque Karua Jheel in the Resai district of Jammu and Kashmir. There is a legend that Baba Dhansar, son of the serpent king Vasudeva, helped the villagers expel a demonic presence that was wreaking havoc in their lives and residing near this pond. In response to the villagers’ request for help, Baba prayed to Lord Shiva, who agreed to help him exterminate the demon. After the demon was vanquished, the villagers built a Shiva and a Nag temple in honour of the Gods.

  • Bhaderwah

There is a town called Bhaderwah in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district. It’s a sub-district that sits at the base of the Himalayas.  Horseback riding through the valleys is an exciting way to see the stunning scenery. The mountains are covered in snow, making for ideal skiing conditions. The elevation is 1613 metres. Other names for it include Nagaon ki Bhoomi and the Land of Snakes. The city’s location in the mountain range’s foothills makes trekking a popular activity there as well.  The city is also well-known for the Mela Pat festival, which dates back 600 years.

Things to Buy

  • Dry fruits
  • Kashmiri Pherans
  • Wooden furniture
  • Copperware, silverware & brassware
  • Cashmere carpets & shawls

Foods to Relish

  • Rajma Chawal
  • Paranthas