Vaishnudevi

By Sanjeev Nayyar esamskriti@suryaconsulting.net | 2001

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As soon as you reach Katra, register at the Shrine Board Registration Counter since you need a Parchi - Entrance slip to start the Yatra. In peak season i.e. summer, Diwali or new years you might to have wait for hours. We went in June, stood in the line at 5 a.m., got ticket by 11 a.m. So try and go off-season if you can.

This temple is run by the family of slain music director Gulshan Kumar. He runs a Langar where food is served for free to pilgrims daily. Remember to have Rajma Chawal in the many dhabas in Katra.

Now we start the Climb with Katra in the background and shops in the forefront. It is a 14 kms climb from Katra to the temple complex. The pathway is cemented; very clean with food stalls all along. The trek is like one picnic. Some sraddahulus climb barefoot, others wear shoes whichever way you go remember to carry Band-aid with you.

There are Monkeys galore enroute, on of them in a thoughtful mood. You can hire a horse instead of walking or be taken in a palki too. We saw a number of old people use the palki.

This is Adhyakumari Temple enroute. It is nearly mid way to Vaishnudevi and attracts lots of pilgrims too.

Pilgrims relaxing. All along there are cemented roads and tin sheds where you can sit, eat and recoup energies. Thanks to ex Governor Jagmohan the trek is a delight with excellent facilities along the way.

Devotees dancing enroute. Enroute you will find people who play the Dholak for you. We saw many small groups dancing their way through. The happiness on everyone`s faces was a pleasure to see.

Taken from the top that`s the way we climbed up on a cloudy day. Parts of the trek go through areas where it rains heavily. In such places tin sheets are provided to prevent yatris from getting wet.

This is the Bhavan Complex. The temple is in one of the Hills behind it. To the right of the photo is from where pilgrims enter. There is a locker room where you can leave your valuables before taking a cold-water bath followed by Mata s darshan. I would suggest that you spent a day here enjoying the lush green surroundings and spiritual atmosphere. There is a very good restaurant there so food is not a problem.