The story of Ma Vaishno
About the Shrine
Route to the cave
Information To Pilgrims
How To Get There






About The Shrine 

According to the legend, the holy Shrine of Vaishno Devi Ji was first discovered by Pandit Shridhar, about a thousand years ago. The story of the discovery is something like this.

A Brahman named Shridhar used to live in village Hansali at the foot hills of the Trikuta mountain. This village is adjacent to the present town of Katra. Shridhar was a devotee of Shakti in her benign form.

Shridhar Playing with the girl
Even though he was a very poor man and had to depend upon doles of others for keeping his body and soul together, his face always radiated a glow of contentment and peace.

Shridhar used to spend most of his time in meditation and prayers. In fact, he would be chanting paens in praise of Shakti even when he took the cows and goats of the villagers for grazing on the mountain. One day, while he was grazing the cattle, a very pretty young girl aged between 8 to 10 years, met him on the hill. Shridhar felt strangely attracted towards her and the two of them became friendly. The girl told him that her name was Vaishnavi and she lived on the other side of the mountain. Thereafter, Shridhar would often meet the young girl on the mountain and the two of them would spend the day in playing, laughing and talking.

Shridhar Entering the Cave

One day Shridhar wistfully mentioned to Vaishnavi that he had been to a Bhandara a couple of days ago which had been organised by a wealthy man of the area. A very large number of people had participated in the Bhandara, partaken of the food and before departing had blessed the man. Shridhar felt that the man who had organised the Bhandara would as a consequence have earned enormous spiritual merit. Hearing this, Vaishnavi urged Shridhar to organise a Bhandara too. Well aware of his own precarious financial position, Shridhar demurred. However, Vaishnavi continued to exhort him. After a few weeks she was able to coax him, against his better judgement, to organise the Bhandara. A date was agreed upon and then Shridhar left in order to make the arrangements for the function.

He invited all the people living in nearby villages to the Bhandara. Thereafter, he began to go from door to door requesting his neighbours and acquaintances to give him the provisions which could be cooked and served to the guests on the day of Bhandara. A few people obliged but many others turned down his request. They, in fact, taunted him for having the temerity to hold a Bhandara without having the wherewithal for organising it. As the day of the Bhandara drew near and Shridhar realised that he was finding it extremely difficult to organise the provisions that would be needed for feeding the huge number of people he had invited, he began to spend sleepless nights. His distress reached such proportions that he stopped taking the cattle for grazing on the mountain. He became sick with worry and found it difficult to concentrate even on his prayers and meditation.

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