The Vaishno Devi shrine attracts millions of devotees every year, located in Katra
|Deity||Vaishno Devi (Maa Adishakti|
|Location||Jammu and Kashmir|
|Elevation||1,584.96 m (5,200 ft)|
Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani, Trikuta and Vaishnavi, is a manifestation of the Hindu Goddess Mata Adi Shakti/Adi Parashakti. The words "Maa" and "Mata" are commonly used in India for mother, and thus are often heavily used in connection with Vaishno Devi.
Ever since the inception of Shrine Board in 1986, the Holy Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi has witnessed an ever-increasing number of devotees. The Yatra that stood at 13.96 Lakhs in the year 1986, increased to 104.95 lakhs (10.4 Million) in the year 2012, 93.24 Lakhs in the year 2013, 78.03 Lakhs in the year 2014, 77.76 Lakhs in the year 2015, 77.23 Lakhs in the year 2016 and 85.87 Lakhs in the year 2018. 
According to Hindu mythology , in the Treta Yuga, when the earth was overburdened by the wicked and tyrannical rule of the demons, the Goddess Vaishnavi was created when Uma (Mahadevi), Rema (MahaLakshmi), and Vaani (MahaSaraswati) decided to combine their energies to rid the earth of impending doom. After destroying the demons that were burdening Mother Earth, Goddess Vaishnavi was requested to reside on Earth, so that she may forever keep all evil at bay. She chose to incarnate as a human, named Vaishnavi.
As a child, Vaishnavi was immersed in the devotional service of Lord Vishnu, a habit she carried well into her adulthood. When she was of a marriageable age, she left home to perform intense austerities to please and win Lord Vishnu as her husband. Years passed, and as an answer to her prayers, Lord Vishnu appeared to her in the form of Lord Rama. She learned from him that he was already married and was searching for his wife, Sita, who was abducted by the demon king of Lanka, Ravana.
Seeing his devotee distraught, Rama promised her that he would return to her one day, and if she recognized him, she could marry him. Rama went on to rescue Sita and become the king of Ayodhya, all while Vaishnavi waited for his return. One such day, she was approached by an old man who asked the beautiful Vaishnavi to be his wife. She however, refused his proposal, thinking of him as undesirable for his age and looks. She had failed to recognize the old man who was none other than Lord Rama, who had come to keep his end of the promise. However the harsh penance of the goddess can't go unfulfilled, so Lord Rama granted her the boon that in his 10th incarnation of Lord Kalki during kaliyuga, he would marry her and asked her to wait for him till his 10th incarnation on the trikuta mountain. He even gave her a troop of his monkey army for her protection.
Rama left, and Vaishnavi continued to spend years in meditation, moving from place to place, solving the troubles of all who asked, with her Siddhis. This threatened the popularity of a local Tantrik who sent his disciple Bhairon Nath to find out more about her. But Bhairon Nath was stupefied by her beauty and lustfully stalked her wherever she went.
In order to escape his unwanted attention, Vaishnavi entered a cave and continued her meditation there, for nine months, as a child rests in its mother's womb. When Bhairon Nath discovered her hiding spot and attempted to hunt her down again, with an intention of forcing himself upon her, Vaishnavi assumed the form of the Goddess Kali and severed his head.
Bhairon Nath realized his mistake and begged her for forgiveness. His head had fallen far from his body, but the merciful Mother Kali promised him that he would forever be enshrined there and that he would be her guardian form then on. Kali abandoned her rage and returned to the form of Vaishnavi, and reentered her cave, where she assumed the form of three rocks and resides there to date. Each rock is representative of MahaSaraswati, MahaLakshmi and Mahadevi. This shrine is lovingly called 'Vaishno Devi', where lakhs of devotees throng every year.
- "Maiden master plan for Vaishnodevi shrine area". The Economic Times. 12 April 2017. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
- Vaishno Devi History
- "Vaishno Devi-Bhairon Mandir ropeway service starts from today". Times of India Travel. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
- "Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board :: Helpdesk :: Yatra Statistics".
- Vaishno Devi travel guide from Wikivoyage
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