Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani and Vaishnavi, is a manifestation of the Mother Goddess Durga. The words "maa" and "mata" are commonly used in India for "mother", and thus are often used in connection with Vaishno Devi.
The words "mandir" and "mandira" are commonly used in India for "Hindu temple", and so these words are also often used in connection with Vaishno Devi. Vaishno Devi Mandir (Hindi: ?????????? ??????) (Punjabi: ?????? ???? ????) is one of the holy Hindu temples dedicated to Shakti, located at the Trikuta Mountains within the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
According to legends a Brahmin, pundit Sridhar about a thousand years ago, discovered the holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi. It is believed any boon that devotees sincerely wish for at the holy cave temple, will be granted by Mata Vaishno Devi. The goddess is considered to be an incarnation of the three Supreme Energies, Maha Kali, Maha Saraswati and Maha Lakshmi in a single Shakti form. Each of the three forms represents certain attributes.
The temple of Vaishno Devi is dedicated to Vaishnavi, the human manifestation of Goddess Shakti. Within the temple is the deity in the form of a five and half feet tall rock with three Pindies or heads. It is written that the goddess to achieve her destiny of finally merging with Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a human and was born as Vaishnavi, in the household of one Ratnakar.
One of the holiest and most revered pilgrim centres in the country, Vaishno Devi Mandir is the second most visited temple in India. Dedicated to Goddess Shakti (also called Mata Rani and Vaishnavi), the shrine is visited by more than 8 million pilgrims every year and has a number of mythological legends associated with it.
One of them is as follows--known as Trikuta, during young age, she gradually began being called Vaishnavi as it was believed that she was a divine child and belonged to Lord Vishnu's lineage.
Devotees can offer milk, ghee, honey and sugar, to the Goddess when the aarti is being performed.
Mata Vaishno Devi temple, after a 14 kms steep, hilly trek from Katra (50 km from Jammu), while enthusiastically chanting Jai Mata Di with other pilgrims. Pay your respects in Vaishno Devi Temple to Maa Vaishno Devi, a reincarnation of Goddess Shakti, and soak yourself in all its legend and culture.
Devotees believe Goddess Vaishno Devi fulfills all the longings of human life dharma, artha, kama and moksha. The legend is that the goddess herself has an unfulfilled wish. When all humanity has taken her blessings, Lord Vishnu, for whom the goddess waits in her small cave shrine, would marry her in his Kalki avatar.
The best time to visit this shrine is during the months of March to October, even though the temple is open for devotees all throughout the year.
There are three Pindis at the temple representing three Goddesses- namely Maha Saraswati, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Kali. Picturesque surroundings and the verdant, green surroundings keep company to tourists and pilgrims on their journey to the Vaishno Devi temple.
Pilgrims must also remember to leave behind any leather shoes or accessories as these are forbidden at Vaishno Devi.
While most people come here to find spiritual guidance, the additional advantage is of the spectacular view while going uphill towards the shrine. Make it a point to sit through the morning or evening aarti and be transported by Mata's Bhakti.