Vaishno Devi Temple Katra in Kashmir is one of largest Hindu pilgrimage sites in India.
The temple, situated in the Trikuta Hills in Katra, is home to the Mother Goddess or Mata Vaishno Devi, who is believed to fulfill wishes. But did you know that this religious place is considered the most important Shaktipeeth? Legend has it that this is the place where the skull of the Goddess Sati fell.
At the temple, the goddess is in the form of a five and a half feet tall rock with three heads or the Pindies. And the devotees come bearing traditional offerings of chunri (a red-colored drape), sarees, dry fruits, silver or gold ornaments, cholas, flowers, etc.
The Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board was formed in 1986, and since then, this popular religious site in Jammu has been attracting a lot of Hindu pilgrims. The holy cave of Mata Vaishno Devi is said to have been discovered by a Hindu priest called Pandit Sridhar. Goddess Vaishnavi appeared in the priest’s dream and instructed him on how to find her abode on Trikuta Hills.
The temple is located 1,584.96 m (5,200 ft) above sea level, about 12 km from Katra on Trikuta hill, and approximately 61 km from Jammu city. According to geological studies, the holy cave’s age is nearly a million years. There is also a mention of the Trikuta hill in the Rigveda, the place where the temple is located.
Believe it or not, even the Mahabharata, which gives the account of the Pandavas and the Kurukshetra War, mentions the worship of goddess Vaishno Devi. Before the Kurukshetra War, Arjuna is said to have worshipped Devi by the advice of Lord Krishna for blessings.