Located in the Trikuta Hills, Vaishno Devi is a sacred pilgrimage destination for the Hindus and is frequented by numerous tourists from all parts of India. Vaishno Devi is also recognized as Mata Rani and Vaishnavi, and is one of the manifestations of the revered Mother Goddess. The Vaishno Devi Temple is indisputably one of the main tourist attractions in Vaishno Devi and is believed to have been built by the Pandavas. You will get a glimpse of the various symbols of a number of gods and goddesses inside the holy cave that leads to the main shrine. A tour to Vaishno Devi is bathed in spirituality and you can see the devout pilgrims lined up in the serpentine queues filling the ambiance with religious fervor and enthusiasm.
The shrine can be reached through a long cave that extends to a length of 98 feet and inside this cave you can watch the various symbols of Vakra Tunda Ganesha, Surya Dev and Chandra Dev. While crawling into the cave through the tunnel, you will come across the Dhadh (torso) of Bhairon Nath. There are numerous heads of Shesh Nag and below that one can see the symbols of Shankh, Chakra, Gada and Padam. On the top, almost touching the ceiling of the cave, you will find the symbols of the five Pandavas, the Sapt Rishi, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Parvati. The ambiance inside the cave is very mystical and hypnotic as well.
Apart from the tourist attractions in Vaishno Devi, the weekend excursions would further make for exciting journey to the major attractions. Located at a distance of 70 kilometers from Katra is the holy cave of Shiv Khori which is called the abode of Lord Shiva. The cave is an amazing natural wonder. There is also a naturally formed Shiv-lingam that is quite attention grabbing. When you travel to Vaishno Devi, you will also come across the temple of Baba Dhansar which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is situated on the way to the Salal Dam. This place is characterized by a huge spring emerging from the rocks in a dense grove of trees and forms various rapids prior to flowing into the sacred rivulet that merges with the Chenab River.
There is more in store for the travelers in the nearby attractions of Vaishno Devi and the sacred shrine of Dera Baba Banda is one of them. It holds importance for the Hindu and Sikh pilgrims alike and a local legend has it that Baba Banda Bairaagi was Guru Gobind Singh's preferred 'Saint Soldier' who built a Gurdwara on the banks of river Chenab. You must pay a visit to the other tourist places such as Baba Jitto's temple andPatnitop is idyllic spot for recharging your batteries and relaxing with nature, which only gives and never asks for anything in return. Just sitting under the
sun in the meadow can be the highlight of your holiday as you relax and watch a different world go by-the horses satiating their appetite with the grass; a few tourists busy taking pictures; villages walking to and from the main bazaar. The gentle music of the wind provides the lilt to your carefree holiday spirit. The lush wooded forests around the hotel offer ample opportunity for trekking and a rich selection of scenic spots for picnics. For security reasons, camping is discouraged. Walking on kutcha (unpaved) paths between rows and rows of tall trees leads to quiet retreats which are totally relaxing with the assorted menu of excellent views of the pine-covered mountains. The only sound one hears is the tinkling of bells on goats and cows and the rustling of leaves and twigs as you walk in a dream world of your own.During the festival of Navaratri, thousands of diehard followers from all over the country and even abroad line up the long mountain roads to worship the deity. Navaratri is the biggest festival in honor of the Goddess and people have to stand in lines for hours to have the darshan. Patnitop during your tour to Vaishno Devi.