Author: A CompilationAshok Dilwali/Photographer: Ashok DilwaliPublisher: RupaYear: 2001Language: EnglishPages: 55ISBN/UPC (if available): 817837000X
The Shrine of Vaishno Devi in the Trikuta hills of Jammu & Kashmir receives several lakh pilgrims every year. Vaishno Devi, a manifestation of the Goddess Durga, Evokes deep devotion. She is worshipped in her three pindies (manifestations) as Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswati in the Darbar or holy cave. It is believed that those who visit the shrine with true devotion in their hearts rarely return disappointed.Nestling in the Trikuta mountains, 61 km north of Jammu, at 5,200 feet, is one of India’s holiest shrines, the temple of Vaishno Devi. The temple itself can be sighted only after pilgrims have covered 9 out of the long and arduous 13.5 km trek that cuts across mile after mile and mountain after mountain. According to belief, there is non who goes back disappointed after a darshan of the holy goddess. The shrine gets lakhs of pilgrims every year, from all parts of the country and even abroad. There is no barring caste or creed religion or sex. But the surging millions have one thing in common-an undying, unswerving faith in the goddess and her powers. The temple has variously been termed mysterious, awesome, sacred, but none who have visited Vaishno Devi would deny that an almost unbelievable benevolence emanates from the holy cave where the shrine is located. Most importantly, it is believed that unless the Mata, a reverential term for Vaishno Devi, gives a bulava or call to her devotees, the pilgrimage never really fructifies.