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Monday, August 7, 2017

My long awaited trip to Mata Vaishno Devi Temple... Jai Mata Di!!!

My long awaited trip to Mata Vaishno Devi Temple... Jai Mata Di!!! Mata Vaishno Devi Temple

Darshan to Mata Vaishno Devi Temple

Many years ago I saw in my dream that I was going to Mata Vaishno Devi Temple, was surprised to find myself arrived at a Majestic Shivji temple. Since then I wanted to go for Mata ka Darshan. But somehow it was not happening as people say Mata ka bulawa nahin aya (Mata is not calling you ).


I guess this time even Mata wants to see her child. I didn't have to do much effort, things happened so smoothly. Very quickly my cousin Priscilla and I planned our trip, she was coming from Chandigarh, I was going from Delhi. I took a night bus from Delhi to Katra. I wanted to go by train but I didn't get any ticket. So I chose a sleeper bus. It was my first travel by sleeper bus, normally my travels are by flights. Bus was to start at 8pm from Delhi but it started at 10pm. I was supposed to reach Katra at 8 am next day morning but reached at 10am. Bus journey was good, I slept throughout the journey, only complain was it started 2 hours late. Priscilla arrived Katra at 4:30am. She waited for me at the CRPF Camp Katra. For going to Vaishno Devi temple you need to take a pass free of cost. The offline queue for pass was very long so we took the pass online. If you plan to go by taking an online pass, don't forget to carry printout of the pass.

Trek to Vaishno Devi Temple
 
It is around 12 kms climb to Vaishno Devi temple from Katra. It is at the top of the hill. Another 2.5 kms for Bhairo Baba Mandir. People say Mata Vaishno Devi's darshan is incomplete without darshan to Bhairo Baba. You can trek, ride a pony, take a chariot or take a helicopter to reach the top. One side pony ride will cost you around INR 700 per person. Helicopter ride is for INR 1005 per person. I wanted to do the darshan by trekking. We started our trek at 12:30 afternoon. If you are trekking don't forget to buy a walking stick which costs just INR 10. It will support you when your legs start paining because of long steep walk. Frequent announcement was made for trekkers to check their Blood Pressue and Sugar level before coming for the yatra. Every 2 or 3 kms there is a Dispensary. We took around 5 and half hours to reach the top including halt in between for food and rest etc.

River on the way to Vaishno Devi Temple

We had to climb up another km to go to the CRPF reception. We reached there thinking we would rest, stretch ourselves, give some rest to our super exhausted body. We wanted a bed badly. We had the shock of our lives when the CRPF staff at the reception told us that they had information only for darshan and not for stay. What the heck??? Why would we need to inform them for darshan? It was too late to realize that there was a big miscommunication. One thing with due respect to CRPF, Indian army is far more organized and disciplined than CRPF (my personal observation). We had been advised to look for a room at one of the Bhawans or dormitories which meant we had to hunt around for a room or a bed and it was raining heavily. We went to couple of bhawans who said all rooms were full, people booked 2 or 3 months in advance. We went to a dormitory run by the Shrine board which has around 600 beds. We were given the same answer... Dormitory is houseful. I said There are more than 300 beds I am sure there would be some cancellations. The man at the counter said he would have that information at 12 midnight. It was 9pm. We planned to have our dinner and wait. By then my legs were in bad pain. But I slipped a smile when I received email from my FitBit app congratulating me for crossing 30k steps in one day.



Jai Mata Di

Jai Mata Di ... Mata Rani is great! After we were done with dinner, security guard of the dormitory called us to tell that there were 2 beds which got free. We rushed and got those two beds. A bed costs just INR 120 per night. We planned to rest and go for early morning darshan at 4:30 am next day. However other fellow yatris suggested us to go for darshan the same night. There would be more rush next day morning and we might have to wait if it was morning Arti time. We liked their idea. It was 12 in the midnight when we went for darshan. At Mata Rani premises day and night are same. There were full of lights and lots of enthusiastic people praising Mata Rani. For a while, all my pains were gone, I was eager to have a glance of Mata. It took one hour to have a 20 second glance of Mata Rani, but it was totally worth it. I got to know that there were three holy pindies evolved from one single rock form - Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswati. Mata Vaishno Devi is considered to be an incarnation of the three Supreme Energies.
 


Trek to Bhairo Baba Mandir

Next day early morning, we went to Bhairo Baba Mandir. Trek to Bhairo Baba Mandir is more steep and tougher, passage is narrow. There were very less people going up to Bhairo Baba temple and monkeys have created menace around. I would suggest not to walk alone, always carry a walking stick. I had a very peaceful darshan at Bhairo Baba Temple. There were structures of Bhairo Baba and Hanumanji. Pujari told me that Bhairo Baba and Hanumanji will be found together only when Mata Vaishno Devi is there. He also told me that all these structures of Mata Vaishno Devi, Bhairo Baba, Hanumanji were natural evolved and not created by human.




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