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Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra

07-Aug-2013, 20:52:45, :
The shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi is one of the most visited pilgrim sites in India. Situated at a height of 5,300 ft., the site is located inside a cave in a hill. amidst the folds of the Trikuta Bhagwati hill at a height of 5,300 ft., in the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). This cave temple is at a distance of 61 kms from Jammu and the last 13 kms of the way have to be negotiated on foot by the yatris, as the devotees are called. Once at the entrance to the cave, the path turns into a narrow tunnel with a cold stream named the Charan Ganga running through it. The pilgrim has to wade through this to reach the sanctum sanctorum.

The holy cave shrine of Vaishno Devi is nestled in a beautiful recess of the Trikuta Mountains forming a part of the lower Himalayas. It is located 61 km north of Jammu at a height of 5,200 feet above the sea level in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In the cave there are images of three deities viz. the Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati.

Yatra Registeration is also possible online. Know More

All pilgrims without exception are required to register themselves before undertaking the Yatra. The task of registration is done by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board which is the only STATUTORY & LEGAL authority for the purpose. No other organization, private or public is authorized to issue the Yatra slip. The registration process is entirely FREE and is fully computerized. This process is carried out at the Yatra Registration Counter, popularly known as (YRC), situated at Bus stand, Katra. Under this, a visitor has to register his name along with the number of companions and he is issued a computerized Slip (Yatra slip/Parchi) which is the documentary permission for him to proceed on his journey to the main Shrine. He is required to cross the first Check Post located at Banganga (around 1.5 kilometers from the YRC) within 6 hours of the issue of the slip, failing which his slip is confiscated at the Check Post and he is required to take a fresh slip altogether. The entire Yatra Registration process is fully computerized, thus making it convenient, efficient and smooth. It is to be noted that yatries who proceed without this slip/Parchi shall be turned back from Banganga check post and not allowed to proceed further. In the rare case of any yatri being found at Bhawan/en-route without the yatra slip, he/she shall not only be turned back but disciplinary action shall also be taken against him/her.

Important: - One Yatra Slip is issued for a maximum of 9 family members. For more members, more than one Yatra slip can be taken. In case of yatries in large groups, a separate yatra Slip should be taken for each family.

Yatra Counter No. II: - In order to reduce the waiting time in the main YRC, a second Yatra counter has been made operational near the second bus stand. It is situated nearly one km away from the main Yatra counter on Udhampur road and is called YRC-II. This counter in addition to the usual registration has also been authorized to issue Yatra slips for large yatra groups (say one bus load or more) traveling as a single group. This has been so designed because the area near the YRC-II is used for idle parking of travel and luxury coaches and for pilgrims arriving through these coaches, it is more convenient to obtain the Parchi from YRC-II.

Waiting Slip: - Since the carrying capacity of the Holy Trikuta Mountain is limited, the maximum numbers of yatries who can have Darshans in a single day are about 23,000-24,000. However, during the peak rush periods, the number of yatri arrivals is far in excess of this number. In such a situation, the yatries are then asked to wait at Katra itself. This phenomenon is called Waiting and no yatra slips are issued during waiting. Instead red/pink waiting slips are issued. These have to be validated at the YRC, the following morning or whenever "Waiting" is called off. Then the waiting slips are taken back and the original yatra slips are issued following which yatries can begin the Holy journey. The phenomenon of waiting is inconvenient but is necessary owing to the geographical limitation of the Holy Hill. Yatries are advised to check out the yatra status from this website before embarking on the yatra. As a thumb rule, weekends during May, June and the second half of December or any other block of school/college/office holidays invariably witness heavy rush thereby necessitating "Waiting".

Need and Importance of Registration

Registration at YRC is important because of the following reasons:-

All Devotees, once they get registered at the YRC for their trek are automatically and compulsorily insured against any accidental causality (a rare possibility) on their way to the Holy Shrine. This is a free insurance to all those who undertake this holy pilgrimage. The amount of insurance is Rs.1,00,000/- for majors and Rs 25,000/- for minors and is valid only in case of accidental deaths. For cases of natural deaths including heart attacks, this insurance package is not applicable.

Unlike other major pilgrim spots, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine is located deep in the mountains. Though a lot of development has taken place all along the way from Katra to Bhawan, the Holy Mountain has its own limitations and saturation levels as regards its capacity to hold and sustain large crowds. Besides, the resources available to provide various services and facilities to the Devotees are also limited. This is because, in the absence of a road, even the most basic and essential items have to be carried either on ponies or by humans.

Further, since the Holy Pindies are situated in a narrow Cave, group visits for Darshans are not possible. The system of Darshans is thus through a continuously moving queue, round the clock. Thus only a limited number of pilgrims can have Darshans everyday.

Thus, because of all the above reasons, the number of pilgrims on the track and at the main Shrine Complex needs to be regulated. This regulation to helps to avoid overcrowding and accidents and also ensures that all of them get basic facilities like food and water.

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