Mata Vaishno Devi, one of the most important religious abodes of Hinduism, is a shrine located in the Trikuta hills of Jammu and Kashmir. In fact, this shrine is among the much visited shrines of India and the incoming pilgrims per year are in millions. In the cave, there are three energies symbolizing goddess Lakshmi, goddess Saraswati and goddess Kali. There is not as such mention of Maa Vaishno Devi in Rig Veda, the ancient scripture of Hinduism, but there is mention of Trikuta hills in this scripture. The pilgrims ascend the hilly terrain on the pony or by foot in order to reach the cave and the distance from the base camp at Katra to the cave is 14 km. On the way, some very important stops come like Banganga, Adhkuwari and Sanji chat. There are complete facilities like the various eating points, resting spots on the way. The management of the shrine is under Sri Mata Vaishno Devi shrine board.
The legend of Sridhar
Sridhar was a devotee of Mata and the credit of finding the cave goes to him. He had organized a fest but it was interrupted by Bhairavnath. Mata left in the midway of the feast and was chased by Bhairavnath. Finally mata killed Bhairavnath near the cave and his head fell at the place called Bhairavghati. In the meantime, Sridhar was greatly distressed by what had happened and he prayed to Mata to reappear with fasting. But his prayer was answered finally when Mata appeared to him in a vision and directed him to reach the cave. He at once left for the search. Although it was quite difficult; but he was constantly guided by Mata on the way giving him the directions of the path through visions. Finally he reached the cave and Mata instantly appeared to him and also showed him the three divine energies called pindies. He was also blessed with 4 children and from that day onwards he constantly prayed to Mata. Mata told him that the pilgrimage will be incomplete without the visit to Bhairav ghati. Till the present day, pilgrims have not forgotten this and they are fulfilling what Mata had said.