Vaishno Devi Tour
There is a saying that you can never undertake the Vaishno Devi Tour unless the goddess of the temple has summoned you. Some people want to visit the temple for years on end before they can finally make it. Others who have absolutely no plans to visit the temple suddenly find themselves swept up in plans to go there. While some might dismiss it as mere superstition, others firmly believe that the summons is vital to making the trip to the temple. Perhaps the location of the temple has something to do with this belief.
Located in the mountains with a treacherous and long climb up to the temple, it is easy to see why people believe that you can only undertake the Vaishno Devi Tour with the blessings of the deity. The only way up was to walk. If you could not walk you were carried up in a “Palaki” which was a seat that two men carried on their shoulders. Some more adventurous souls even chose to ride up on mules. Reaching the summit with aching backsides. If you were to make the trip even two decades ago, it would have seemed a miracle. However now that the road has been made and the steps up to the temple have been well set, it is not as difficult a trip as it used to be.
Sure it is quite a climb, but it is not as bad as it once used to be. In fact there is even a helicopter service being operated from Jammu which allows you to skip most of the arduous climb, dropping you but a mile away from the temple. This is the ideal way for the elderly who are keen to visit the temple to make the trip. The younger ones are able to make the journey up by foot quite comfortable. You still have the mules and the “Palaki”s running so that’s an option you can exercise should you get too tired. The difficult climb is supposed to add to your merits in the eyes of the goddess, so many people prefer to climb even when tired. Then after they have visited the temple and obtained her blessings they take a mule ride back down.
It is also the belief that as you feel that you can not climb any more, the goddess comes to your rescue and you get a second wind. When you do reach the top, you must now get through a hole in the mountain which will take you to the holy cave inside. This sanctuary of the goddess “Sherawali” or the “one who rides a tiger” is the destination of millions of people worldwide. People from across the borders come to thank this goddess for boons that she has granted. In fact many miracles are given to her credit. It is also believed that once a person has obtained her blessing, he will no longer suffer hardships on earth.
The red cloth with golden border which is called her “Chunri” is carried back with people along with the “Prasad”. These are then tied to vehicles such as cars and scooters to get her constant protection. It is also a way for the driver of the vehicle to proclaim that he has made the difficult journey to the temple and back with the blessings of the goddess. While taking the helicopter in and out is the easiest way to do this tour, if you are more religious try and climb at least part of the path to feel good about journey. If she has sent you the summons you will go and visit her for sure.