One of the most sacred Hindu Shrines of India, Vaishno Devi Temple is set on the top of the Trikuta Hills of the lower Himalayas. Dedicated to Maa Vaishno Devi, the temple holds immense religious importance, which is why it visited by a number of pilgrims every year. It is believed that around 8 million people visit the shrine every year. This makes it the second most visited religious place in India after Tirumala Venkateshwara Temple. Vaishno Devi Temple is set at an elevation of 5300 feet above sea level and to reach the temple, devotees need to cover a trek of 12 km from the base camp Katra. There are four main points of the trek to the temple- Ban Ganga, Adhkuwari, Charan Paduka and Sanjhichhat.
Ponies and palanquins are available for those who can’t manage to trek. Helicopter service is also available to reach the Bhawan of Maa Vaishno Devi. Inside the cave temple, Maa Vaishno Devi is present in the form of three Pindis which represent three Goddesses- Maa Saraswati, Maa Lakshmi and Maa Kali. These three pindis symbolize three forms of Mother- the preserver, the creator and the destructor. It is believed that no prayers go unanswered and disheartened return happy from the shrine. According to the legend, Maa Vaishno Devi resided in the cave for a few days to hide from a demon, Bhairon whom she killed eventually.
Maa Vaishno beheaded Bhairon and after he asked for forgiveness from Maa, Maa Vaishno blessed him and granted him a boon that no Darshan at her temple would be considered complete, if the pilgrims did not seek the blessings of Bhairon. This is why; Bhairon Temple is the next important stop after visiting the holy Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi. The best time to visit Maa Vaishno Devi Temple is from the month of March to October.