They say, you can only go to Vaishnav Devi if you get the calling. Well then, I got mine. Until I reached inside the temple right in front of the abode I was not sure of a successful pilgrim program that I planned. Even the water drops falling from the cave surface over the led light fittings made me feel nervous about a probable mishap that I could imagine of.
Vaishnan Devi is not a destination. It is a process of fulfillment, a signage of achievement, and a symbol of courage Too heavy words I know, but they are undeniably true. It was a family trek to be precise.I am a kind of a person who doesn’t really enjoy pilgrimages, reason being the money business that is made out of the emotions of the devotees. Vaishnav Devi is a different story all together in all the sense. Before the climb none of us were sure of completing even half of the distance. It was so unusual that even at 2 am we were boosted up with so much power and strength to keep walking.The spirit never really went down .I again want to repeat, that it is the climbing process which makes you a feel different and not the destination because the air around is full of positivity, the thought you process are constructive and you suddenly start looking forward to good things in your life.I did spent my climbing time thanking God ,for my amazing family,for they taking so much efforts to walk 10kms of distance to contribute to a successful trip and my newly found interest in pilgrimages.
Delhi is the point you would want to reach to board the train to Katra. Well when you search IRCTC type ‘SVDK’ to search for Katra station.12 hrs of journey and you see the best railway station of India (I might hype). Best for the view that you get to see just when you get down from the train. Choppers flying everywhere and the spiritual vibes in the air,oh that rhymed. 😉
Get the ‘yatra pass’ immediately, from the railway station which is free of cost and valid for 6hrs,TnC ofcourse .We preferred climbing entire night considering the summer heat. Oh my my, for first 3kms you will hardly realize the purpose and difficulties awaiting you ahead. But when you cover 6kms of the distance to the holy shrine ,you start feeling exhausted, that feeling of blood pressure getting low by each step and the extra efforts required to catch your breadth. The climb gets steeper and the view gets better .
Every time I saw a well lit building, I assumed it to be the Temple, but again it was 2kms ahead of the place I stood with all those expectations loosing hope after every while.
Walking without footwear on the super chilled marble floor,standing in the queue facing the cold winds and the endless wait ,despite all this we finally climbed the terrain with all our heart and soul and were nothing but mesmerized seeing the holy adobe(the 3 pindis). That feeling of accomplishment is beyond comparison. The continuous chants of ‘Jor se bolo Jai mata di’ made the feeling more content.Ohh view, so picturesque. We made our return on the E-van which also was a challenge, to get the tickets I stood for 3hrs in the queue when I later came to know that only 3 tickets can be issued to a single person.(as we were 4 ,I had to do some jugaad ).The remaining half way ride on the pony(Pitthu they say) was a bumpy jaunt, I got to sit on the pony named ‘Vandana’ , yeh cool it was?
And that was a wrap to the holy pilgrim which was then accompanied by lots of local market shopping.We bought big bags of Walnuts and almond, and many other dry fruits, including some world famous kesar(pure I believe) .
After one half of a spiritual journey, we began our scenic trip to Nathatop, covering Patnitop midway and enjoying the route besides the Jammu Tavi river. The valley views, snowcapped Himalaya ranges ,wind chills and the music became the perfect combination to relax after a 13km climb.
What I recommend to do when you visit Vaishnav Devi is to enjoy the ‘tel maalish’ with ‘sarso tel’ of course if you climb. One famous sweet from Jammu called Patisa was an interesting take away from North. It’s made up of ‘Kud ka pani’ which is a natural source of water which comes out like tap water 24/7 when you dig the mountains. The taste in incomparable even with the filtered Bailey bottles.I have never had such cold and sweet water in my life time.
Nathatop was my first encounter to snow .We did numerous slides on the snow blanket and nourished ourselves with pahadi style maggie. Seeing the mud huts just the same as we saw in ‘Highway’ were a thing to me considering my love for the movie.
And now I get the intent behind the saying “Chalo bulava aaya hai, mata ne bulaya hai” .
P.s. SVDK stands for Shri mata Vaishnav Devi Katra
The trip to SVDK was indeed a memorabilia to cherish for the lifetime.