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India Travel Guide

History of Vaishno-Devi

Legends abound the Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi.

Different legends surround the origin of the Vaishno Devi shrine. According to one of them, a beautiful girl was born in the home of Ratnakar Sagar. The couple named the girl Vaishnavi. As a young girl, she took a vow to marry Lord Rama and started praying for it. Lord Rama was impressed with her devotion. He however said that he had vowed to be faithful to his wife and promised to return in another yuga (era). Lord Rama said that he would accept Vaishnavi if she recognized him when he came to her in a disguised form. Upon his return from Lanka, Lord Rama went to see the girl, disguised as an old monk, but she did not recognize him as Lord. Upon finding out, Vaishnavi was extremely sad. In order, to console Vaishnavi, Lord Rama said that the time would eventually come in the modern era when he would be the form of Kalki. Rama also asked Vaishnavi to meditate and set up her ashram at the base of the Trikuta Hills.

Vaishnavi's fame spread far and wide and people began visiting her ashram to seek her blessings. A tantrik demon by the name of Bhairon Nath secretly started observing Vaishnavi and was enchanted by her beauty. Upon being pursued by Bhairon Nath, Vaishnavi fled into the Trikuta Hills. Vaishnavi stopped on her way at places, which today are known as the Banganga. Charan Paduka, Adhkanwari before finally reaching the cave where the shrine exists today. Bhairon Nath continued to follow her and ultimately met his fate at the hands of the goddess who beheaded him. The severed head of the demon fell on a distant hilltop. Bhairon pleaded for mercy. The mother goddess then granted him a boon saying that every devotee who visits her temple should visit the shrine of Bhairon Nath as well, only then would the pilgrimage be complete.

Vaishnavi in the meanwhile shed her human form and assumed the face of a rock to continue her meditation. Thus, the goddess can be seen in the form of a five and a half feet rock with three heads also called the Pindies. These Pindies inside the holy cave are revered by one and all.

 

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