Address : Trikuta hills
City/District : Jammu and Kashmir
State : Jammu and Kashmir
Vaishno Devi Mandir is a Hindu temple located in Katra at the Trikuta Mountains within the Indian UT of Jammu. The Temple is a Trek of 13Km from Base camp of Katra to Bhavan and various modes like Pony, Helecopter and ropeway are now available for the ease of devotees, however it is still recommended to climb the trek by foot.
According to Hindu religion, in the Treta Yuga, when the earth was overburdened by the wicked and tyrannical rule of the demons, the Goddess Vaishnavi was created when Mahakali, Lakshmi and Saraswati decided to combine their energies to rid the earth of impending doom. From the collective energy of the three Goddesses, appeared an eight armed Goddess, who was riding upon a lion (or tiger). After destroying the demons that were burdening Mother Earth, Goddess Vaishnavi was requested to reside on Earth, so that she may forever keep all evil at bay. She chose to incarnate as a human, named Vaishnavi.
As a child, Vaishnavi was immersed in the devotional service of Lord Vishnu, a habit she carried well into her adulthood. When she was of a marriageable age, she left home to perform intense austerities to please and win Lord Vishnu as her husband. Years passed, and as an answer to her prayers, Lord Vishnu appeared to her in the form of Lord Rama. She learned from him that he was already married and was searching for his wife, Sita, who was abducted by the demon king of Lanka, Ravana.
Seeing his devotee distraught, Rama promised her that he would return to her one day, and if she recognized him, she could marry him. Rama went on to rescue Sita and become the king of Ayodhya, all while Vaishnavi waited for his return. One such day, she was approached by an old man who asked the beautiful Vaishnavi to be his wife. She however, refused his proposal, thinking of him as undesirable for his age and looks. She had failed to recognize the old man who was none other than Lord Rama, who had come to keep his end of the promise. However, the harsh penance of the goddess can't go unfulfilled, so Lord Rama granted her the boon that in his 10th incarnation of Lord Kalki during kaliyuga, he would marry her and asked her to wait for him till his 10th incarnation on the Trikuta mountain. He even gave her a Bow and two quivers of arrows and a troop of his monkey army for her protection.
Rama left, and Vaishnavi continued to spend years in meditation, moving from place to place, solving the troubles of all who asked, with her Siddhis. This threatened the popularity of a local Tantrik who sent his disciple Bhairon Nath to find out more about her. But Bhairon Nath was stupefied by her beauty and lustfully stalked her wherever she went.
In order to escape his unwanted attention, Vaishnavi entered a cave and continued her meditation there, for nine months, as a child rests in its mother's womb. When Bhairon Nath discovered her hiding spot and attempted to hunt her down again, with an intention of forcing himself upon her, Vaishnavi appeared as Goddess Mahakali, and severed off Bhairon Nath’s head with her sword.
After she cut his head off, Bhairon Nath realized his mistake and begged her for forgiveness. His head had fallen far from his body, but the merciful Goddess Vaishno Devi promised him that he would forever be enshrined there and that he would be her guardian form then on. Vaishno Devi abandoned her rage and returned to the form of Vaishnavi, and reentered her cave, where she assumed the form of three rocks and resides there to date. Each rock is representative of Saraswati, Mahalakshmi and Mahakali. This shrine is lovingly called “Vaishno Devi”, where millions of devotees go every year, to get the blessings of their Mother Goddess.
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