Vaishno Devi Temple is near the town of Katra, Jammu and Kashmir. It is one of the most revered places of worship in India. The shrine is at an altitude of 5300 feet and a distance of approximately 12 kilometres from Katra. It is situated at 60 km north of Jammu. The shrine is located inside a cave. It has three deities there – Goddess Kali, Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi.
About 8 million pilgrims visit the temple every year and it is the second most visited religious shrine in India, after Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. Despite the difficult terrain, more so during winters when there is snowfall, millions of devotees visit this temple each year. The Yatra to Vaishno Devi Temple starts at Katra.
Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani and Vaishnavi, is a manifestation of the Mother Goddess Durga. Vaishno Devi Mandir is one of the holy Hindu temples dedicated to Shakti. Vaishno devi is one of 108 shakti peetha, the story of Vaishno Devi is found in Chandi uppurana. When Vishnu Bhagwaan cuts Sati Maa’s body into 108 peethas then 52 body parts fell onto earth atmosphere and rest of the 56 fell on other planets. As per Chandi purana, Vaishno devi is not counted among 52 shakti peethas, this peeth is counted among 64 shakti peetha listed in Devi Bhagwat purana and 108 Shakti Pethas listed in Chandi Purana.
The shrine is worshiped as a Shakti Peetha which believes its association towards the mythology of Daksha yaga and Sati’s self immolation as its origin.
Vishno Devi, a devotee of Lord Vishnu, ran into the cave when she was chased by the tantric Bhairon Nath. There she assumed the form of Goddess Kali and cut off his head which fell at the spot where the Bhairon Mandir is now located.
Mata Vaishno Devi, had mercy on Bhairon and gave him a boon that every devotee of the goddess would have to have the Darshans of Bhairon after having the Darshans of the Goddess and only then would the yatra of a devotee be complete.