Shri Vaishnodevi from Katra (Jammu), a place of worship for millions of devotees from all over India!

Shri Vaishnodevi Temple is a sacred place for Hindus. Shri Vaishnodevi is also known as ‘Mata Rani’. The temple of Shri Vaishnodevi is at a height of 5,200 feet above sea level. The temple is located on a hill after a 14 km climb from Katra in Jammu district. Millions of devotees from all over the country visit this place which is famous as a very awaken shrine.

Shri Vaishnodevi seated at Manik hill in North India
in a state of meditation at the behest of Lord Shri Rama!

Shri Vaishnodevi (Goddess Shri Saraswati, Shri Lakshmi and Shri Kali from left)

A. The greatness of the Goddess is described in the Puranas.  Vaishnodevi incarnated at the home of Ratnakar Sagar in South India.  Vaishnodevi was called ‘Trikuta’ in her childhood;  However, being born in the lineage of Lord Vishnu, she got the name ‘Vaishnavi’.  When Trikuta was 9 years old, she asked her father for permission to do penance on the beach.

B. While doing penance on the beach, Trikuta prayed to Lord Rama an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.  Shriram reached the beach with his army in search of Sita.  At that time, the divine girl in deep meditative state caught his attention.  Trikuta opened her eyes.  She said to Shri Rama, “I have accepted you as my husband.”  Shri ram said to her, “In this incarnation, I have taken the promise to be loyal only to Sita.” After that Shri Rama assured her, ” In Kaliyug, when I will take an incarnation in the form of Kalki,then your wish will come true. ”

C. Shri Rama told Trikuta to meditate in a cave on the Manik hills in the Trikuta mountain range in northern India.  After that, Trikuta worshiped for Navratra (night nights) so that Shriram would be victorious against Ravana.  Shri Rama had promised her, ‘Trikuta will be famous as Shri Vaishnodevi and will be immortal forever.  The whole world will sing the praises of Shri Vaishnodevi. ‘

Shri Chitashakti (Sau.) Anjali Gadgil while offering salutation to the form of Goddess seen on the hill

The divine Mata Shri Vaishnodevi who took
care of the problems in the bhandara (religious feast) of devotee
Shridhar and also looked after the wellbeing of the demon named Bhairavnath!

A. Overcoming the problems in the bhandara of devotee Shridhar: Shridhar named person was a devotee of Shri Vaishnodevi. Once the goddess appeared to him in the form of a beautiful girl and asked him to make a bhandara for the monks and devotees. Bhairavnath, a selfish demon, had also come for this bhandara. Shridhar was worried about how to complete the Bhandara. Then the goddess came in the form of a girl child and reassured Shridhar and by the grace of the goddess the bhandara was completed.

B. ‘Banganga river’ originated with the arrow of Shri Vaishnodevi! : Bhairavnath realized that the girl has supernatural powers. He thought she was the incarnation of a goddess. He decided to test the goddess. He searched for this divine girl for 9 months. While running away from Bhairav, the goddess shot an arrow towards the earth. Water started flowing from that point. This came to be known as the river ‘Banganga’. There are footprints of the goddess on this riverside. Even today they are the same. They are called ‘Charanpaduka’.

C. Beheading of Bhairavnath demon as he interfered her penance: Shri Vaishnodevi performed penance for 9 months. During this time, she gained spiritual knowledge and strength. It was at this place that Bhairavnath found her. As a result, her penance was violated. Finally, the Goddess took the form of Shri Mahakali and severed his head. His head fell down at a distance of two and a half kilometers away from the holy cave. Shri Bhairavnath temple is at this place.

D. Knowing Bhairavnath’s desire for salvation she relieved him from the cycle of birth and death: The Goddess knew that Bhairavnath violated her penance with the desire for his own salvation. So, the Goddess freed him from the cycle of birth and death and gave him the boon, ‘Unless the devotees visit your temple after my temple, they will not get the full benefit of my visit.’ At this time Shri Vaishnodevi took the form of a big rock along with three Pindas and went into meditative state. Now everyone can see this stone in the temple of Shri Vaishnodevi Mata.

The devotee Shridhar cames here in search of Goddess. He stayed there in the service of the Goddess Vaishnodevi who took the form of rock. Since then, Shridhar’s family has been serving the goddess as a priest for generations after generations.

The place where Shri Vaishnodevi killed Bhairavnath is known as ‘Bhavan’. At this place Goddess Shri Kali (right side), Goddess Shri Saraswati (left side) and Goddess Shri Lakshmi (center) are seated in the cave in the form of Pindi. The combined form of these Pindis is called Shri Vaishnodevi. ‘

(Reference: Website)

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