Jammu and Kashmir one of the most beautiful destinations of all time leaves you awestruck. It was summer when I visited this state in India. We enjoyed our few days in Kashmir and then we proceeded to Jammu, which was hot during summers. The only spot that was left in the Jammu and Kashmir trip was Vaishno Devi.
About Vaishno Devi :
The Vaishno Devi shrine is situated in the holy cave at an altitude of 5200 ft in the three-peaked mountains “Trikuta” in Katra. The religious trek of 13 km from the base camp to Vaishno Devi is one of the holiest pilgrimages attracting devotees from all over the world. The trek is a phenomenal adventure and the view from the top is breathtaking.
The start of Vaishno Devi trek:
I was so excited to visit the Vaishno Devi temple and so was my enthusiasm. Unaware of the path we started our trek after dinner at around 9 o clock. I was astonished about everything because it wasn’t the normal trek, but an adventurous and religious continuous walking on the inclined slopes through the roadway.
We left our phones and valuables in our hotel room and started walking through the base camp carrying 2 water bottles. At the base camp, many visitors were starting the trek with us, while some of them just finished the trek. Looking at their happy and satisfying faces, we were exhilarated. There were many people offering horse rides, some porters, and palanquins to help you travel through the route. Also, some people booked a helicopter ride through the official site to reach the top followed by a 2.5 km walk.
I and my sister were offered the ride but we declined and decided to walk. We were energetically moving in the starting one hour with fun. But then gradually our speed declined and we started taking too many stops in between. We were searching for horse rides in the way but in vain. There were only 2 stops where you could get horse rides, one at the base camp and one after crossing 7 km. So looking at other’s enthusiasm we moved on.
Enthusiasm & Motivation in the way:
In the way, everyone was saying slogans loudly to motivate devotees to move on. The “Jai Mata Di” slogan was on everyone’s mind. The entire roadway was illuminated with lights and there were many shops to offer small needy stuff. It was so mesmerizing to experience that. The children, young as well as old pilgrims were there in the way, some moving on with us and some getting down after the worship.
Halfway in the journey:
Finally, after crossing 7 km, we took a big tea break, and then there were horse rides available again. But comfortable with walking till now, we declined horse ride again. We were crossing mountains after mountains and reaching heights. It was totally adventurous. Alongside the well-paved road on which we were walking was the stairs route too which was shorter but steeper, so physically challenging. Many people took that way. Walking uphills was tiring, two bottles of water weren’t enough, but the spirit of reaching the temple was exciting. Moving on step by step with people encouraging us was an enthralling experience. The night view was beautiful, on one side was a mountain wall while on the other side valleys, giving the pleasurable view of Katra.
The walk towards Vaishno Devi shrine:
Then after the final 2.5 km comfortable way, we reached the top. It took around 8 hours to reach there. It felt like accomplishing a great victory. There were devotees waiting in a queue for seeking the blessings of goddess Vaishno Devi. The queue was very long, and visiting all the temples along with the major Vaishno Devi temple took us another two to three hours. The caves though which we walked comprised of natural rock formations or pindies immersed in water. The marble platform was built for easy access. The atmosphere was mesmerizing and the shrine was too delightful. We sought our blessings and our wishes too.
The religious trek satisfaction:
This night was one of the best ones giving lots of experiences. The hot Katra seemed so cold at this height.
It was 5 in the morning when we finished our tour at the top. The view from there left me awestruck. The valleys and mountains with the sunrise view were very astounding. The cool morning breeze gave me a sense of satisfaction.
Later we started moving downhill. On the way down we were back with energy and enthusiasm. Our speed was fast. After walking half the distance, we took a horse ride finally, and that was a huge relaxation to our legs. We reached base camp. I really wished the horse could carry us to our hotel, but that was it. The journey was exciting and fulfilling.
The end of the most amazing trek:
After reaching the hotel, we took a complete day rest. The memories and experiences were captured in our hearts to relish forever. This religious journey was indeed incredible.
I got a beautiful yet important lesson – Move step by step towards your goal and dreams and finally, you will attain it. You just need some continuous efforts and motivation to persist.
Trekking is fun and exciting.
You can read about my adventurous Sinhadag trek experience in the previous post or by clicking Sinhagad Fort – The Adventure Trek!
Do check out the Sinhagad trekking images on my instagram account.