The Vaishno Devi Mandir is one of holiest Hindu shrines in the world. A yatra to the shrine of Vaishno Devi is to Hindus what a pilgrimage to Mecca is to Muslims. The number of devotees visiting the shrine has been increasing steadily year upon year, and now it is said more than 10 million people visit the temple every year.
The original shrine is located inside a rock cave. This rock cave is said to be millions of years old. There are no carved idols in this cave, but instead, there are three naturally formed pindies. These pindies are said to be the three different forms of the mother goddess, namely – Lakshmi, Parvati, and Saraswati.
The shrine is closely connected to the Hindu epic Mahabharatha. The Mahabharata is one of the earliest Hindu texts to talk about the worship of the Mother Goddess, and the Pandavas are said to be one of the earliest devotees of Vaishno Devi Mata. The temple is also said to be placed where the hand of goddess Shakti fell. No one knows if this is true or not, but the cave does house a human hand. This hand is worshiped along with the three pindies.
The Vaishno Devi pilgrimage is a must for every Hindu, but even if you are not someone who is spiritually inclined, a visit to this shrine evokes feelings that you would have never probably felt before.