Jammu district derives its name from the city of Jammu which besides being the winter capital of the state, is known as the city of temples. It is believed that the city was originally founded by Raja Jamboo Lochan who lived in fourteenth century B.C. The Raja had gone out one day for hunting when he happened to witness a tiger and a goat drinking water from one and the same pond. This extraordinary phenomenon set him thinking and he decided to build a city at this site so that the strong and weak could live together in peace and mutual tolerance. Eventually, he founded the city which came to be known as "Jamboo" after his own name. With the passage of time and due to its frequent use the pronunciation of the name got slightly distorted and the city, came to be known as 'Jammu' as it is called now.
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Places of Interest This famous hill resort is perched on a beautiful plateau, at an altitude of 2024 metres across which the Jammu-Srinagar highway passes. Enveloped by thickly wooded forests, peaceful walks and breathtaking views of the mountainscape of the Chenab basin. In winter, the resort is generally covered with a thick mantle of snow thus providing opportunities for accommodation, there are a large number of huts and Tourist Bungalows, all managed by the J&K TDC. Several private hotels also provide rooms to suit every pocket and preference.
Kud (103 Kms )
This popular resort is situated on the Jammu-Srinagar Highway, at an altitude of 1738 metres. Accommodation is available at the Tourist Bungalows of the J&K TDC as well as at several private hotels.
Patnitop (110 Kms )
Sanasar (129 Kms from Jammu and only 19 Kms from patnitop )
Sanasar ia a cupshaped meadow surrounded by gigantic conifers. A place for a quiet holiday, the meadow has now been developed as a golf coures. It also provides opportunities for paragliding. Accommodation is available in huts,Tourist Bungalow and dormitory of the J&K Tourism Development Corporation.
Batote (125 Kms )
Situated at an altitude of 1560 metres on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, this resort straddles the forested shopes of the Patnitop mountain range, overlooking the spectacular lie of the Chenab gorge. Accommodation is available in huts, Tourist Bungalow and dormitory of the J&K TDC.
Sudh Mahadev ( near Patnitop, about 120 km from Jammu )
This holy spot near Patnitop is situated at an altitude of 1225 mtrs.,about 120 Kms.from Jammu. The shrine is visited by pilgrims on the full moon night of 'Sawan'(July-August) to worship the 'Trishul'(trident) and a mace which is said to belong to Lord Shive. The Devak stream originates at Sudh Mahadev and disappears among the rocks a few kilometres down stream. Accommodation:Pilgrims Sarai of J&K TDC.
Short of Sudh Mahadev is the legendary spring where the Goddess parvati used to bath before commencing Her daily prayers at Sudh Mahadev. This spring came to be named after Her as 'Gauri Kund'.
Situated a few Kilometres further away from Sudh Mahadev, mantalai is surrounded by lush deodar forests, at an altitude of over 2000 metres. It is believed that Lord Shiva had got married to the Goddess Parvati here.
Mansar Lake ( 62 Kms )
A beautiful lake fringed by forest-covered hills. Boating facilities are available in the spot. Every year around Baisakhi, a food and crafts festival is organised here by J&K Tourism. Accommodation: Tourist Bungalow and huts of J&K TDC.
Surinsar Lake ( 42 Kms )
It is a picturesque spot with a lake surrounded by wooded hills. Accommodation is available in J&K TDC Bungalow.
Shiv Khori ( 100 Kms )
This holy cave, nearly a kilometre long with a 4-feet high naturally formed shiviling, is considered second only to the shrine of Vaishnodeviji. A major festival is held here on Shivratri Day.
Dera Baba Banda ( 75 Kms )
It is a major Hindu-Sikh pilgrimage centre. Baba Banda Bairaagi was Guru Gobind Singh's favourite 'Saint-Soldier', who had the Gurudwara constructed on the banks of river Chenab, where he spent his last days.
Purmandal ( 40 Kms )
Just off the National highway leading towards Pathankot is the Purmandal Temple Complex built on the banks of the sacred, mostly underground river Decak. Often referred to as 'Chhota Kashi', its main temple is dedicated to 'umapati', while the other temples are associated with Shaivites of the Kashmir Valley. Regular bus service from Jammu. Accommodation in pilgrims 'Sarai'.
On the way to Sudhmahadev-Mantalai, a short detour takes one to Krimchi, site of three of the oldest temples of Jammu. The architecture of the temples shows distinct Greek (Hellenic) influences. Pancheri, a hill resort is a short distance away from here.
Jajjar Kotli ( 35 Kms )
On the National Highway leading towards Srinagar is the Jajjar Kotli Tourist Complex, built on the banks of the Jajjar rivulet. The crystal clear, cool water of Jajjar attact picnickers in large number during summer. A Tourist Cafeteria, a Bar and a small Tourist Bungalow are the facilites provided here by JKTDC.
Akhnoor ( 32 Kms )
To the west of Jammu situated on the banks of the mighty Chenab river is the historic town of akhnoor. This town is associated with the legend of Soni-Mahiwal. Ruins of the Indus-Valley civilization are to be seen along the river bank commanding a panoromic view all around.
Salal Dam and Lake ( 95 km )
95 Kms.from Jammu to the west of the Holy Shrine of Vashnodeviji is the Salal Dam and Lake. With an installed capacity of 400 mw of electricity, this is the largest Hydroelectric Project commissioned in the state so far. The lake formed behind the dam is 33 Kms. long. The Dam site can be visited with the permission of the project authorities.
Baba Dhansar ( 65 Km from Jammu, on way to Salal Dam )
Baba Dhansar is a beautiful and cool picnic spot. Here, a huge spring gushes out of the mountainside in a thick grove of trees and froms a number of small water-falls before flowing into the holy Banganga. Next to the spring in a small grove in the rock face is a naturally formed Shivling on which droplets of water fall naturally all the year round. A big mela is held here during Shivratri.
Katra ( 50 Kms ) Base camp for Vaishno Devi Yatra
This small town serves as the base camp for visting the famous shrine of Vaishnodeviji in the Trikuta hills. The Shrine is approachable on foot-path. Every year,nearly 4 million pilgrims pass through katra on their way to Vaishnodeviji. Accommodation is available in Tourist Bungalows, Yatrika and a number of Private hotels, besides pilgrims 'Sarais'.
Maa Vaishno Devi shrine
One of the most Religious & Hindu Pilgrimage destination in India, is located in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Maa Vaishno Devi shrine is conveniently located from Delhi. Shri Maa Vaishno Devi Shrine is one of the oldest shrine of India, located at a height of 5300 feet on the holy Trikuta Hills of the Shivalik Hill Range. The Holy cave is 13 Kms from the Base Camp Katra. The Town Katra is 50 Kms away from Jammu and 35 Kms from District HQ Udhampur and is linked by road. The entire uphill Journey from Katra to Bhawan is on foot, however, one can hire ponies, palkies or pithoo for ease of journey. Recently Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has started the air taxi services between Jammu, Katra and Sanjichat at the normal rates.
Route of shri Mata Vaishno Devi
The 13 Kms hilly track between Katra and Bhawan contains number of ancient temples and view-points for rest and enjoy natural beauty. The first stop is at Banganga, 1 Km away from Katra where one can have holy bath in the Banganga and have a Langer/Parshad (free food) run by famous T-series Industries.
The second stop Charanpadhuka is about 2.5 Kms away from Banganga. It is believed that Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji took rest while moving towards the Trikuta Hills. The place contains the foot prints of Goddess, and thus the place is named Charanpadhuka Temple.
The third stop Adkuwari is about 3 Kms from Charanpadhuka. Here one can stay for night as half of the journey is over. At Adkuwari the devotees can have Darshan of Adkuwari Temple and Gerbhjoon (an ancient Cave of about 20 feet). It is believed that Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji hide herself from Bairon Nath in this cave for 9 months.
After a steep height of about 4 Kms from Adkuwari the fourth and last stop is Sanjichat. The Sanjichat is the highest place in the track. One can enjoy the aerial view of Katra, Udhampur, Reasi and Jammu.
From Sanjichat about 2.5 Kms downhill track led to Bhawan the holy Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi. About 0.5 Kms from Bhawan on the Bahawan-Sanjichat track an about 2 Kms link track lead to the Bairon Nath temple. The track is further linked with Sanjichat though dense forest containing different species of wild life such as Langoor, Monkeys and other wild birds.
For the ease of Journey the tourist must
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board
- Register themselves at the booking counter Katra and get the yatra slip
- Get permission for the video camera, if interested.
- Check the identity card of the Pithoo, Pony and Palki before hiring them.
- For ease of Journey Travel as light as possible, since all the facilities are available on the track.
- Avoid the use of Polythene bag to protect the environment.
- Throw the waste in the waste-boxes available.
- Walk on the track only and enjoy the beauty of the nature. Wrong track can lead to disastrous results.
- While leaving for the Darshan of the Holy Shrine, deposit your belongings at the clock rooms and get the receipt.
- Donations are to be made at the donation counters and get the receipt duly signed.
Since the year 1986, when the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (commonly called Shrine Board) was formed (under "The Jammu & Kashmir Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Act, 1986'), the management of the Shrine and regulation of the Yatra has been vested in the Board. The Board has undertaken a number of developmental activities aimed at making the Yatra a comfortable and satisfying experience for the Yatris. So far, over 125 crores of rupees have been invested by the Board for providing various infrastructural and other facilities. The Board continues to reinvest the offerings and donations received in carying out improvements in various kinds of Yatri facilities.
Mata Vaishno Devi Ji
As per the legend, during the period when the Goddess was busy in annihiliting the Asuras, Her three main manifestations viz. Mata Maha Kali, Mata Maha Lakshmi and Mata Maha Saraswati got together one day and pooled their collective Tejas or spiritual strength. A stunningly bright light emanated from the place where the Tejas of the three manifestations coalesced and a beautiful young girl emerged out of this Tejas. The young girl asked them, "Why have I been created?'' The Devis explained to her that they had created her so that she would live on earth and spend her time in upholding righteousness. The Devis added, "Now, go and take birth in the house of Ratankar and his wife who reside in the southern part of India, and who are great devotees of ours. Live on earth. Uphold righteousness and evolve yourself spiritually so that you reach higher levels of consciousness. Once you have attained the appropriate level of consciousness you will merge into Vishnu and become one with him.'' So saying they blessed the girl. Sometimes later a very beautiful girl child was born to Ratankar and his wife. The couple named the child Vaishnavi. The girl right from her childhood displayed a hunger for knowledge which was like a vortex and which no amount of teaching and learning could sufficiently satiate. Subsequently, Vaishnavi started looking into her inner self for knowledge, and soon learned the art of meditation and realized that meditation and penance only could bring her close to her greater objective. Vaishnavi thus relinquished all household comforts and went deep into the forest for Tapasaya (meditation). Meanwhile, Lord Rama, during his fourteen years of exile happened to visit Vaishnavi who recognized him immediately as no ordinary being but the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and immediately asked him to merge her into himself so that she could become one with the supreme creator. However Lord Rama, knowing that it was not the appropriate time, dissuaded her by saying that he would visit her again after the end of his exile, and at that time if she succeeded in recognizing him, he would fulfill her wish. True to his words, Rama visited her again after being victorious in the battle, but this time he did so in the disguise of an old man. Unfortunately, Vaishnavi was unable to recognize him this time and was distraught. Upon this, Lord Rama consoled her that the appropriate time for her being one with the creator had not come, and that time would come eventually in 'Kaliyug' when He (Rama) would be in his incarnation of 'Kalki'. Rama also directed her to meditate, and set up an Ashram at the base of Trikuta hills, to elevate her level of spirituality so as to bless mankind and rid the poor and destitute of their sufferings.Only then would 'Vishnu' merge her into himself. Vaishnavi, immediately set off for the northern part and after immense hardships, reached the foot of the Trikuta Hills. After reaching there she set up her ashram there and began to meditate.
As predicted by Lord Rama, her glory spread far and wide, and people began to flock to her Ashram to seek her blessings. As time passed, a Tantrik named Gorakh Nath who had a vision of the episode between Lord Rama and Vaishnavi in the retrospective time frame, became curious to find out whether Vaishnavi has been able to attain a high level of spirituality or not. He, therefore, sent his most able disciple 'Bhairon Nath' to find out the truth. Bhairon Nath on locating the ashram started observing Vaishnavi secretly, and realised that though a 'Sadhvi' she always carried bow and arrows with her, and was always surrounded by langoors (apes) and a ferocious looking lion. Bhairon Nath was enamored by Vaishnavi's extraordinary beauty, and losing all good sense he began to pester Vaishnavi to marry him. Meanwhile a staunch devotee of Vaiashnavi, Mata Sridhar organised a Bhandara (Community meal) in which the whole village and Guru Gorakh Nath along with all his followers including Bhairon were invited. During the course of Bhandara Bhairon Nath attempted to grab Vaishnavi but she tried her best to daunt him. On failing to do so, Vaishnavi decided to flee away into the mountains to continue her Tapasaya undisturbed. Bhairon Nath however chased her to her destination. The goddess after halting at (present day) Banganga, Charan Paduka, and Adhkwari, finally reached the holy cave Shrine. When Bhairon Nath continued to follow her despite the goddess trying to avoid a confrontation, the goddess was compelled to kill him. Bhairon Nath met his ultimate fate when the goddess, just outside the mouth of the cave, beheaded him. The severed head of Bhairon fell with a force at a distant hilltop. Bhairon Nath upon death realised the futility of his mission and prayed to the deity to forgive him. The almighty Mata ( Mother Goddess) had mercy on Bhairon and gave him a boon that every devotee of the goddess would have to have the Darshans of Bhairon after having the Darshans of the Goddess and only then would the yatra of a devotee be complete. Meanwhile, Vaishnavi decided to shed off her human form and assuming the face of a rock she immersed her self into meditation forever. Thus Vaishnavi, in the form of a five and a half feet tall rock with three heads or the Pindies on the top is the ultimate destination of a devotee. These Pindies constitute the Sanctum Sanctorum of the holy cave known as the shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji, which is revered by one and all.
The Trikuta Mountain where the Shrine is located and the Holy Cave are the gateway to the dimension of Super Consciousness. And just like the Trikuta Mountain, which is one at the base but has three peaks (hence the name Trikoot), the revelation of the Mother Goddess in the Holy Cave is in a natural rock form which is one at the base but has three heads at the top. These three heads in a natural rock form are known as the Holy Pindies and are worshipped as the revelation of the Mother Goddess. The entire rock body is immersed in water, and a marble platform has now been constructed all around. The main Darshans remain to be of the three heads called the Holy Pindies. The uniqueness of the Holy Pindies is that although they emanate from one single rock form, each one is distinctly different from the other two in colour and texture.
Towards the right of the devotee is the Holy Pindi of Mata Maha Kali (the Supreme Energy of Dissolution) in the colour associated with Her i.e. black. The Supreme Energy of dissolution is Mata Maha Kali. She represents the Tam Guna- the quality associated with the darker and unknown realms of life. Tam stands for darkness. Psychology and science state that only a very small per cent of the Universe is conscious. The remaining is still subconscious or unconscious. These unknown realms contain all the mysteries of life. Creation is a phenomenon, which exists within a specific time. However the Energy that transcends the barriers of time is the Eternal Time or Maha Kali. Since man's knowledge about life is very limited and he remains in the dark about most of it, it is represented by the colour black which is associated with Mata Maha Kali. She is the basic source of all that is mystical and unknown to man. In her attribute of Maha Kali, the Mother Goddess constantly guides her devotees to conquer the forces of darkness.
In the centre is the Holy Pindi of Mata Maha Lakshmi (the Supreme Energy of Maintenance) with a yellowish-red tinge, the colour associated with Mata Maha Lakshmi. Mata Maha Lakshmi is the Supreme Energy of Maintenance. She represents Rajas Guna- the quality of inspiration and effort, and is considered to be the basic source of wealth, prosperity, material gains, quality of life etc. Wealth and prosperity are better represented by the colour of gold, which is yellow, and hence associated with Mata Maha Lakshmi.
The Pindi to the extreme left of the viewer is worshipped as the Holy Pindi of Mata Maha Saraswati (the Supreme Energy of Creation). It has a whitish tinge when looked at attentively. White has also been considered the colour associated with Mata Maha Saraswati. Being the Supreme force of Creation, Mata Maha Saraswati is considered to be the basic source of all Creation, Knowledge, Wisdom, Righteousness, Art, Spiritualism, Piousness etc. Since white is a colour that denotes piousness and purity, hence it is associated with Mata Maha Saraswati. She represents the Satva Guna- the quality of purity.
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji is considered to be an incarnation of the three Supreme Energies.
While the main Darshans in the Holy Cave are those of the three Pindies, there are other Darshans too in the Cave.
Other Darshans in the Holy Cave
The Holy Cave is around 98 feet long. Besides the main Darshans of the Pindies inside the Cave, there are various other Darshans, outside and inside the Holy Cave and around the Holy Pindies. It is believed that the Darshans of 33 crore (330 million) Gods and Goddesses are present in the Holy Cave. It is believed that at some given point of time, each of the 330 million gods and goddesses have worshipped the Mother Goddess in the Holy Cave and have left their symbolical marks inside. It is also believed that during Poojan and Aarti in the morning and evening, all these Gods and Goddesses arrive at the Holy Cave to pay their obeisance to the Mother.
At the entry of the Holy Cave, towards the left hand side, is the symbol of Vakra Tund Ganesh. Adjacent to the symbol of Lord Ganesh are the symbols of Surya and Chandra Dev. Once inside the Holy Cave, one crosses over the Dadh (torso) of Bhairon Nath, which is around 14 feet long. Due to the impact of the mighty blow of the Divine Mother, while the head of Bhairon Nath fell atop an adjacent mountain a couple of kilometers away from the Holy Cave, his body lay lifeless at the entrance of the Holy Cave.
After the Dadh (torso) of Bhairon is the symbol of Lord Hanuman known as Launkra Beer. Thereafter one comes across Charan Ganga, the legendary river flowing from the feet of Mata. Those having Darhans through the old Cave have to wade through water beyond this point. Around 23 feet beyond Launkra Beer, on the left upper hand side, the roof of the cave flares out and the entire weight of this cave appears to rest on the innumerable heads of Shesh Nag. Immediately below Shesh Nag is the Havan Kund of Mata and adjacent to it are the symbols of Shankh, Chakra, Gada and Padam.
Above, almost touching the ceiling of the cave are the symbols of five Pandavs, Sapt rishis, Than (udders or breast) of the divine cow Kamdhenu, symbols of Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh and Shiv-Parvati. 3 feet further ahead, on an elevation can be seen the Khamba that was gripped by the legendary worshipper Prahlad. Diagonally below this, at the water level is the Yantra with innumerable mystical signs and symbols inscribed on it. 22 feet beyond this point is located the Sher Ka Panja, symbolizing the lion which is the mount of the Mata Vaishno Devi Ji. The distance from the entry point to the Sher Ka Panja is 59 feet. 13 feet beyond this, immediately above the head of the worshipper, is located the symbol of the Primary Hood of Shesh Nag which appears to be bearing the weight of the roof of the Cave at this point. 6 feet further ahead, on the left hand side, are the symbols of Shankar and Gauri.
13 feet beyond this are the Holy Pindies of Mata Maha Kali, Mata Maha Lakshmi Vaishno Devi and Mata Maha Saraswati. To the right of the Holy Pindies on the upper side can be seen the symbols of Lord Ganesh, Surya Dev, Chandra Dev and Goddess Annapurna. Slightly behind the Holy Pindies, on the right hand side can be seen the symbol of the seated Sinh Raj (Lion). A little ahead of it is the full hand of the Mother Goddess, raised in the Varad Hast mode, granting boons to the world. An interesting corollary to the Varad Hast of Mata lies in the story of the sacrifice of Sati. The Scriptures say that the hand of Mother Sati fell in the region of Kashmir creating a Shaktipeeth. There are a few sources, however, which believe that it was at this place i.e. the Holy Cave at Trikuta Mountain that the hand of Sati fell and the Varad Hast in the Holy Cave provides some link to the tale of Sati. Immediately opposite the Holy Pindies is the natural symbol of Lord Pashupati Nath.
Yatris may however note that most of these Darshans are possible only if the original cave is used. However, owing to the heavy rush, usually the new tunnels are used and the original cave is opened only during the lean seasons. Yatries desirous of having all the Darshans are advised to formulate their programme to correspond with the lean seasons.
After this can be seen the symbol of Lord Hanuman called Launkra. Water gushes out of the base of the holy Pindies and flows out of the holy Cave. This gush of Holy water is known as Charan Ganga and the water of this stream is collected in small containers by the devotees and taken home. The same water is also channelised to the bathing ghat and the devotees take a bath in this water before they join the queue for Darshan of the holy Pindies.
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. The Pujaris perform 'Aarti' before the holy deity first inside the sanctum- sanctorum and then outside the cave. 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. The yatris who remain seated outside the holy cave during the time when the Aarti is performed inside the Sanctum Sanctorum, keep listening to the Pravachans of head Pandit. After the Aarti outside the holy cave is over, the pujari distributes Prasadam and the charanamrit ( the holy water) to the devotees. This whole procedure of 'Aarti' takes nearly two hours during which time the darshans remain suspended. All the maintenance works required inside the cave are carried out during this time only.
Devotees can also opt for SHRADDHA SUMAN VISHESH POOJA, a Special Pooja.
Shradha Suman Vishesh Pooja
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.
- No of Persons Allowed: One
- Facilities Entitled under the Package:
i. Aarti Darshan for one Person.
ii. One two bedded AC Room in Niharika free of cost.
iii. One two bedded room at Bhavan free of cost.
iv. Maximum of three meals for one person free to cost at Katra/Bhavan.
- Prescribed Donation Amount: Rs. 11,000/-
- No of Persons Allowed: Two
- Facilities Entitled under the Package:
i. Aarti Darshan for two Persons.
ii. One two bedded AC Room in Niharika free of cost.
iii. One two bedded room at Bhavan free of cost.
iv. Maximum of three meals for two person free to cost at Katra/Bhavan.
- Prescribed Donation Amount: Rs. 21,000/-
- No of Persons Allowed: Three
- Facilities Entitled under the Package:
i. Aarti Darshan for three Persons.
ii. One four bedded AC Room in Niharika free of cost.
iii. One four bedded room at Bhavan free of cost.
iv. Maximum of three meals for three persons free to cost at Katra/Bhavan.
- Prescribed Donation Amount: Rs. 31,000/-
Booking of Poojan in advance by Post
- No of Persons Allowed: Five
- Facilities Entitled under the Package:
i. Aarti Darshan for five Persons.
ii. One four bedded AC Room and one two bedded AC Room in Niharika free of cost.
iii. One Four Bedded and One Two Bedded room at Bhavan free of cost.
iv. Maximum of three meals for five persons free to cost at Katra/Bhavan.
- Prescribed Donation Amount: Rs. 51,000/-
Devotees can book their slot for Aarti Darshans in advance by sending a Demand Draft of the desired amount drawn in favour of "Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board" payable at Katra. The request must be on the prescribed form. Devotees may send the filled-in form through e-mail as attachment along with the details of the Demand Draft or through Post at the address below :
The Dy. Manager (Enquiry & Reservations),
Shakti Bhawan, Niharika Complex,
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board,
Katra, J&K. Pin Code 182301
01991-232125 & 232887 (EPABX), 234053
1. More than five persons shall not be allowed under this pojan unless they are all members of the same family for which special and prior permission of the Board authorities is required.
2. This poojan can be booked in advance. Spot booking is also allowed on current basis subject to the availability of slots.
3. A maximum of two children (below ten years of age) will be accommodated free under all categories.
4. Poojan once confirmed cannot be cancelled nor the donation returned.
5. All donations made to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Katra qualify for exemption under Section 80-G of Income Tax Act, 1961
Offerings towards the Shrine can be made either in cash or through demand drafts or cheques. Various counters have been set up by the Shrine Board, so as to facilitate the pilgrims to make donations. These counters are available at Bhawan, Sanjichhat, Adkuwari, Enquiry and Reservation section at Niharika, Katra and also at the Central Office of the Shrine Board at Katra. All these donation counters are fully computerized and are manned by trained staff of the Shrine Board.
Bhaints, Prasad & Offerings
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.
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has its own no profit no loss shops at Bhawan known as Bhaint Shops where Prashad/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.
All offerings in cash are required to be put into the sealed donation boxes kept at various places and no donations in cash or kind are allowed to be handed over to any temple priest or anyone else. Computerised donation counters have been set up at various points at Katra and at Bhawan and devotees can offer cach/cheques/drafts and obtain computerised receipts on the spot.
All ornaments and jewelry offerings are to be deposited in the jewelry boxes kept in the Sanctum Sanctorum. Saries, Cholas, Chunris, etc. are also accepted here. Devotees who wish to offer larger ornaments can also deposit the same at the Office of the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Room No.8, Kalika Bhawan at Bhawan or the Office of the Chief Executive Officer, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Central Office, Katra. The larger ornaments are preserved and offered at the feet of Holy Goddess on a rotational basis.
The Holy Bhawan
The Holy Bhawan, is the main centre of reverence for the devotees. It is also the key location in the entire Yatra circuit. Therefore adequate arrangements and facilities have been created by the Shrine Board for the convenience of the devotees. These include free & rented accommodation; Toilet Blocks; Bhojanalayas; Post Office; Banks; Communication (STD/PCO); Announcement Centres; Blanket Stores; Cloak Rooms; Medical Dispensary (with a ICU); General Stores; Bhaint Shops; Police Station, etc.