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In this final post of this Mighty Series , We are going to have the darshan of Holy Cave from where Devi went to place where she is seated, Great Goddess in form of Three Pindies and The Tantrik Bhaironath whom Mata with her mercy gave Salvation ( Moksha). This is the most visited temple of Shakti and second most visited temple after Tirupati Balaji.
At Vaishno Devi Bhawan
At around 11.30 PM we reached Bhawan and there was still thick fog covering the entire place. At the first gate all battery operated cars stop. Beyond this they are not allowed to go further. Again here there is security check. Pithu left us for having lunch.
Bhaint Shop at the Bhawan
Then comes a BHAINT SHOP or say where one can buy offerings for Mata just before the entrance gate of The Bhawan. This is the final Bhaint Shop and beyond this there is no Bhaint Shop. Now there are some norms for offerings done to Vaishno Devi .
The traditional offerings to Mata include Chunri (a red coloured drape), Saries,Cholas, Silver or Gold ornaments, Dry Fruits, Flowers etc. No sweets, sweet dishes, food stuffs etc. are allowed inside the Holy Cave and pilgrims should refrain from buying such offerings. Coconuts are also not permitted due to security considerations and hence no Coconuts are allowed to be broken anywhere near the Holy Cave, as is the practice at other temples. But being so intimately connected with the traditional offerings they are not refused either. Pilgrims are required to deposit the Coconuts at a counter in the Main Waiting Hall, before entering the Holy Cave and are given a token in return. They can reclaim their coconuts from a separate counter, once they are out of the Holy Cave after having Darshans.
Group Number Allocation for Darshan
Here near final Bhaint Shop there also a counter where we are allotted a group number. Group number system is organised system which helps the controlling the unncessary crowd at the queue. A group number is alloted to 50 yatries and when the group number is displayed on the screen then only pilgrims from that group need to queue up, rather than standing continuously. So be sure before visiting the Bhawan take your group number otherwise unnecessarily one has to come backside again to collect it.
Bhaint Shops are no profit no loss shops all the way to Bhawan , where Prasad/Bhaints offerings are available at a fair price. Hence the pilgrims are not required to buy offerings at Katra and carry them all the way to Bhawan.Check Out for prices.
The Shrine Board has developed Gold and Silver coins of guaranteed purity. These coins carry an impression of the Holy Pindies and are made of Gold or Silver offered at the feet of the Goddess. These coins are available at the Prashad counter just outside the Holy Cave and at all the banks at Bhawan. The rates of the coins depend on the denomination chosen and the prevailing gold and silver rates.
Yatries may take notice that all these items are exclusively available at the Souvenir Shops of Shrine Board and are not available at any of the private shops.
Then we moved towards cloak room where we can deposit our cameras , mobile phones etc. which are not allowed further. There are many rest rooms here at Bhawan where one can rest if the queue is long . Here I got few seconds wheh Fog was away and in that few seconds I managed to click the picture of this great Bhawan.
And then we went in queue for having darshan of Holy Cave and Vaishno Devi Maa. Just have darshan of Holy Cave and Devi Maa and some other pictures of Bhawan.
Holy Cave of Vaishno Devi
This the cave from where Devi went inside to the place where she is seated now. This is generally full of water and closed because of rush. One can just have darshan from outside. To have darshan through this cave one has to come in Mid January and February when the crowd is less.
Moving forward through the marble tunnel we reach the our ultimate destination i.e. The three Pindies
Three Pinides, Vaishno devi , Tridevi
a) Maha Saraswati Devi on the left side
b) Maha Vaishnavi Devi in the middle
c) Maha Kaali Devi on the right side
That was really magnetizing sight ,full of eternal shine and celestial bliss. One just doesn’t want to go away from here. We had good one minute darshan here since the crowd was less ,which is also very rare as the cave is very small and one has just get time to have glimpse of around 5 – 10 seconds.
Aarti and Pooja at Vaishno Devi Bhawan
The ‘Aarti’ of the Goddess is performed twice a day first time in the morning just before the sunrise and second time in the evening immediately after the sunset. The procedure of ‘Aarti’ is a very sacred and lengthy one. Before the commencement of ‘Aarti’, the Pujaris perform ‘Aatam pujan’ i,e self-purification. Then the Goddess is bathed in water, milk, ghee (Clarified butter), honey and sugar. Thereafter the goddess is dressed-up in a saree, chola and chuni and ornaments are endowed upon her. The whole process takes place amidst the enchantment of various shlokas and Mantras. Thereafter Tilak is placed on the forehead of the deity and Navied (prashad) is offered to her. The Pujaris perform puja of various Gods and Goddesses, as it is a believed that during the Aarti time, all the Gods and Goddesses are present inside the sanctum Sanctorum. The Jyoti (divine lamp) is lightened and then the ‘Aarti’ of the goddess is performed. After the whole procedure, the thaal which contains the lamp and various other items used in the ‘Aarti’, is brought outside the mouth of the holy cave, where ‘Aarti’ of the goddess is performed in the presence of yatris.
On persistent demand from yatries and taking into consideration the sentiments involved, a system of individual Poojan has been introduced. This new Poojan system accommodates the religious sentiments associated with the pilgrimage and is in line with the system being followed at some other revered places of worship.A variant of this Poojan is also allowed whereby the devotee need not be physically present. The Poojan is performed in his name and the Prashad is sent to him by post.
Keeping in view the persistent demand and religious sentiments of the Yatries and taking into account the shraddha of the Yatries in the Individual Poojan started last year, another poojan facility named “SHRADHA SUMAN VISHESH POOJA” has been introduced for the devotees desirous of attending Aarti Darshan of the Holy Goddess.
For more details regarding cost of Pooja and facilities offered please click here
Coming outside the other marble tunnel we find one Golden statue of Maha Devi Outside just outside the cave.
Just outside the exit tunnel, towards the left hand side of the Cave is the Amrit Kund. This comprises the water taps through which flows the water of the Charan Ganga, the sacred water flowing from the feet of Mata. Pilgrims prefer to fill the Holy Water called Charanamrit in bottles and take it along with them for purification of their residences and cure of various ailments. Empty bottles and containers are available at the Bhaint Shops run by the Shrine Board.
Don’t Miss these darshans
There are other Darshans in the Bhawan area as well. These include Darshans of Lord Shiva’s Shivling in a cave, Mata Durga, Lord Shiv, Shri Ram with Sita and Lakshman, Lord Hanuman etc. These Darshans are in temples situated at different point of the Bhawan complex. Signboards have been put up at Bhawan to guide the yatries as to the location of these temples.
Then after having some refreshments we headed towards Bhaironath temple . Bhaironath Temple is around 2 kms from Main Shrine or Bhawan and believe me I was completely exhausted climbing this one. I didn’t feel much while climbing Bhawan. But climbing Bhairo was something different and very much tiring and drenching. Rain also started in between and I wore a temporary use and throw raincoat bought for just Rs. 10.
At Bhaironath temple we find lot of Langoors
At Bhaironath Temple
Here we come at Bhaironath Temple. Its legend is written on the huge Signboard here.It is said that visit to Vaishno devi Shrine is incomplete unless you visit Bhaironath Temple.
Here comes Bhaironath Temple
Now have the darshan of Tantric Bhaironath whose head was severed by Vaishno Devi. When one sees Bhairo , starts to shiver feeling power, such are the rays coming from his face.
At the top most point where there are breath taking views , the place was completely covered with Fog. No views but once gain beautiful and pleasant climate. Nice Feeling when one stands here and relaxes.
We started to Trek down via Hathi Matha route . We were climbing down via stairs as it was much faster . Here I got some views of Katra city from Top.
Our next destination was Ardhkuwari whose parchi we had already taken. So we headed towards that shrine.
A great devotee showing and having tremendous faith
As I told in the previous post that I am going to show you another staunch devotee. Now this guy is climbing Vaishno Mountain like this way full 14 kms on his sleeping on the stairs. This guy sleeps on stairs and other one with him marks the point where he is keeping his finger as shown so that entire body length is covered and then he will start sleeping from that point which is marked. Jay Mata di . Jay Mata ke aise Bhakto ki .
Then I came at a point where I saw a huge garbage in this route. First I was aghast by seeing the sight. But afterwards observing the men working I came to know that entire waste of the mountain was collected here. And from here it is disposed out of the mountain.
At around 5.30 PM we reached Ardhkuwari. My group number was 470 and the group showing in the screen was 460 . So I really thought that we had chance to visit the cave. But then i came to know that from 5.00 PM to 8.00 PM the pujaris clean the cave and perform Aarti. So my number would come at around 9.00 PM. Then still 5 kms downward Trek it would take more 2 hours. So it would atleast 12.00 AM when we would reach the Hotel and our packing was remaining as next day we had to leave. So we thought of skipping this darshan. We folded hands with reverence by looking at temple kalash and proceeded further.
At around 7.00 PM we reached Banganga completing our trip. We tired and exhausted. We found a local Maalish wala at the gate of our Niharika Complex. he massaged our legs with different types of oils and balm. This really soothes. One has to do after Trekking. 70 to 80 % of the pain gets relieved. After that we had dinner in one of the Hotels near by , did packing and went to dose.
4th August 2012 , Saturday
Next Day we left Katra early in the morning at 7.00 AM towards Jammu in luxury bus. It takes two hours to reach Jammu railway station in the bus. Our Train Swaraj Express to Mumbai was scheduled at 11.15 from Jammu station. We reached Mumbai next day on Sunday at 5.00 PM. Thus finishing our Journey.
My Entire Trip in Short
This will help viewers to plan their trip. Add extra days for more sight seeing destinations
Day 1 , 26 July , Thursday :- Caught Golden temple Mail from Mumbai central . 9.25 pm
Just a Short Summary of Statistics on series for those who are interested
( These are approximate figures shown in the dashboard )
Main destinations covered completely :- 5 Nos. : Amritsar, Wagah Border, Amarnath Cave , Pahalgam and Vaishno Devi
Total number of posts :- 19
Total number of words :- 50915
Total number of photographs :- 407
Average number of words per post :- 2679 words / post
Average number of photos per post :- 21 pictures / post
Post with Maximum Number of words :- 3842 words AMARNATH YATRA : Amarnath Cave and Ice Shivalinga (Most blissful moment of my life)
Post with Maximum Number of Pictures :-30 pictures VAISHNO DEVI :- Hotel and Helicopter Booking & Trek to Bhawan
Post with Minimum Number of Words :- 1738 words PAHALGAM : Aru Valley, Deer Park & Mamaleshwar Temple
Post with Minimum Number of Pictures :- 5 pictures MIGHTY JOURNEY TO ALMIGHTY – One example on “HOW LORD CALLS HIS DEVOTEES”
Dear Readers ,
Finally, This Mighty series comes to an end here. Thanks for reading, commenting and giving huge and tremendous support here.
My only aim to write is that this series is useful to people who wants to visit any of these places . I hope so you have enjoyed this as I have while writing. After finsihing this series I am feeling the same pain as I have after completing the yatra . YEH DIL MAANGE MORE.
Will be coming soon with fresh series on any of place where Omkaar ( Almighty ) has performed his Leela. Till then
( *** sign :- denotes that pictures are taken from free download section of Maa Vaishno Devi’s official website https://www.maavaishnodevi.org/)
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