A View of Katra
It is the third time we are visiting Goddess Vaishnodevi,residing in a cave in the beautiful Trikuta range of the great Himalayas.Yes,every time the trek is enjoyable and frolic filled and with an amount a person spends for ten i-max movies,one can make this awe inspiring,health giving,THE- REAL- THING- journey by train!We go to Katra,2500ft. above the sea level, from Jammu and climb around 14km. to reach the shrine visited by 8 million people every year;next only to the Balaji temple at Tirumala! Once,full of hurdles and dangers,now the whole way is well paved and with good,hygienic facilities for food,snacks,soft drinks and icecreams.Drinking water and toilets are also provided at convenient distances.Hindus and Sikhs regularly throng to these beautiful peaks tallest at around 9000ft.,but our journey takes us to a height of 6500ft.only.The majestic valleys and mountains are joyously climbed by all comfortably taking their own time,chanting "Prem se bolo Jai Mata Di" and so on.....But remember,unless the Enlightened Damsel gives us a call,we don't reach the place.Don't worry,just go to Katra and you are through to Her benevolence along with all; experiencing the thrill at all important places where She created mythology,being followed by a crafty Tantric Bhairobaba, against her wishes, with malice in his heart.
Prem se Bolo...... Jai Mata di.....
is cleansed of all his sins once he comes out of the cave ; and also the gynic problems of ladies are rectified! At any time there will be a long queue for this event and one stands for hours together thoroughly tiring oneself but enthused by the slogans hailing the Mother.It is next morning with soothing sunshine and rejuvenating breeze, when we head towards HaathiMattha(elephant's head shaped), a point at a height of 6500ft. and a distance of 3km.On the way,beautiful needle-shapedpine leaves in bunches shine like emeralds in the sunlight, against the far off huge cliffs in the background.
A Unique Tall Hill Midway...
by the Temple Trust very efficiently and at the most reasonable prices)! But the highly attained Bhairobaba's head is still conscious as he repents before The Almighty Mother.Being kind hearted,She not only pardons him but also grants him a
boon that one's pilgrimage will not be complete unless the person visits Bhairobaba's temple 1300ft. higher!From Her Darbar(or Bhavan) at a level of 5200ft.
At the shrine we get very good branded tea,coffee and also icecreams,everywhere.At the big eateries provided by the Trust we get great hot Alu ,Gobhi Parathas with sliced onions,pickles for breakfast; and yummy Kadhi withPakodas,Rajma,rice,parathas and curries for lunch!Yes,you are fit for the tough climb to Bhairoghati,full of langurs(perhaps they are friends of Bhairobaba now). One really feels happy, particularly after seeing the pleasent head of Bhairobaba!From here beautiful views of valleys,mountains and gorges is your lot:you are bound to return a healthy, tuned and energised person after this romantic, friendly trek!
Bhairo Baba's Friends Now!
Man,don't try to emulate Bhairobaba with a lady against her wishes, for a boon; today a woman is much more powerful by the grace of Mother, but far less benevolent! You will be deep in the soup!
RAJA RAM ATRE.
Raja Ram Atre.