December 21, 2021 10:15:59 am
Kajol recently took to Instagram to share a picture of herself at Vaishno Devi. She captioned the post: “See that crazy exhilarated look in my eyes.. so happy that I’m almost high!” She is seen in a nude coloured high neck sweater standing against the backdrop of lush greenery. The actor also shared a picture of the “sindoori sunset” from Vaishno Devi on her Instagram stories.
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Vaishno Devi is one of holiest Hindu pilgrimages, located at a height of 5,200 ft in the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains. It is about 14 km from Katra in Jammu. Every year, many Hindus from all over the world undertake the pilgrimage to seek the blessings of the goddess. It is said that Mata Vaishno Devi manifested here inside the famous cave, where the shrine now sits, in the form of natural rock formations. If you, like Kajol, want to plan a trip to the Vaishno Devi temple this winter, here are a few things to remember:
During winter, the average temperature stays -5 degree-Celsius. Despite the cold, many throng to the pilgrim site and its surrounding valley to witness snowfall during the end of December and beginning of January.
Make sure you carry enough warm clothes for the journey.
Before you start the journey towards the temple, you will have to register yourself for the yatra at the yatra registration counter in Katra free of cost. After that you will have to cross the first check-post at Banganga within the first 6 hours.
There are many alternatives to reaching the shrine. You can opt to walk the 12 km long well-paved road to the temple or climb the stairs all the way. No matter what you use, be prepared for a long walk or climb with comfortable shoes.
You should start the journey at nightfall to witness the glorious sunrise over the mountains and to make it to the temple in time for a fulfilling visit.
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If you don’t want to walk all the way, you can jump on a pony or a doli to ride to the temple. Autos also ply throughout the day. You can acquire all the relevant information regarding the rates at the Assistance Centres at Katra or Banganga. You can also pre-book a helicopter ride to the Sanjhichatt helipad which commands a panoramic view of the mountains.
Information kiosks, public utilities, and eateries are available all along the road.
The main complex, called Bhawan, has free as well as rented accommodation facilities, restaurants, cloakrooms, medical unit, blanket stores and shops selling religious souvenirs.
When in Vaishno Devi, you can also visit the following places:
Ardh Kuwari Cave
Located midway to the shrine, the Ardh Kuwari Cave is where Mata Vaishno Devi is believed to have rested for nine months. The inner chamber of this cave is dedicated to Mahakali, Mahasaraswati, and Mahalakshmi.
Dera Baba Anand
Located on the banks of the river Chenub, this gurudwara is dedicated to Baba Banda Bahadur. The gurudwara, which hosts thousands of Hindu and Sikh devotees during the three-day fair held at Baishakhi, houses Baba Banda’s ashes, weapons and relics.
Trek 2 more kilometres to the Bhairavnath Temple from the Vaishno Devi temple to complete your pilgrimage. Dedicated to Baba Bhairon, the mysterious guardian of Vaishno Devi, the temple commands breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
Carved snake formations on the roof dripping water, natural formations like that of a 4 ft high shivalingam attract pilgrims to the Shiv Khori cave which is 200 m long.
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