Devee | Temples
Vaishnav Devee temple is a very famous Devee Temple. She resides in a cave located in the folds of the three peaked mountain named Trikoot Parvat. The Holy Cave attracts millions of devotees every year. This is due to the unflinching faith of the devotees who throng the Shrine from all parts of India and abroad. The Holy Cave of the Mother is situated at an altitude of 5200 ft. The Yaatree have to undertake a trek of nearly 12 km from the base camp at Kataraa. At the culmination of their pilgrimage, the Yaatree are blessed with the Darshan of the Maa Vaishanav Devee inside the Sanctum Sanctorum - the Holy Cave. These Darshan are in the shape of three natural rock formations called the Pindee. There are no statues or idols inside the Cave.
It is not known as when the pilgrimage was started to this place, but the place is said to be a million years old. Vaidik literature gives no reference to the worship of any female deity, although the Mountain Trikoot does find its mention in Rig Ved, the oldest of the four Ved. In fact the practice of worshipping Shakti, largely started in the Pauranik period.
Some traditions believe this Shrine to be the holiest of all Shakti Peeth because the skull of Satee fell here. Others believe that her right arm fell here. But some scriptures do not agree with it. They do agree that at a place called Gandarbal in Kashmeer, the right arm of Satee fell. Nevertheless, in this Holy Cave one does find stone remains of a human hand, popularly known as Varad Hast (the hand that grants boons and blessings).
The Discovery of the Shrine
The Legends Behind the Shrine
As a result Ratnaakar had a beautiful daughter in his house. They named her Vaishnavee. She had an insatiable hunger for knowledge since her childhood. Soon she learnt meditation, left all material comforts and went to forest to do Tapasyaa. When Raam was in exile, He visited this girl. She had recognized Him immediately that He was no ordinary human being, but was the incarnation of Vishnu. She asked Him if she could merge with Him immediately. Raam did not think that that time was proper for her to merge with Him, so He consoled her that he would come to her later after His exile and then she will be able to recognize Him and merge with Him. Raam ket His promise, He returned to her after he had killed Raavan, but He met her in the guise of an old man. Unfortunately Vaishnavee could not recognize Him and felt very distraught. Raam again consoled her that it was not the appropriate time to merge with the Creator, she will merge when, in Kali Yug, Kalki Avataar will incarnate. He also advised her to live in the foothills of Trikoot Hills in an Aashram and to elevate her lever of spirituality. He blessed her that she would bless people to get rid of their poor state and sufferings.
As she lived there and started blessing people her fame and glory spread widely. Meanwhile a Taantrik Gorakhnaath had the vision of Raam and Vaishnavee episode in the back of the time frame and became curious to know whether Vaishnavee will be able to that spiritual development or not. So he sent his most trusted disciple Bhairon Naath to find out about this. Bhairon Naath came there and kept an eye on her activities. He noticed that although she was a Tapswinee, still she always carried a bow and arrow with her, and was always surrounded by Langoor (apes) and ferocious looking lion. But seeing her he lost in her beauty and propose her to marry him.
Meanwhile a very great devotee of Vaishno Devee organized a Bhandaaraa in which all the village people, including Gorakhnaath Jee, came. During this Bhandaaraa (group feeding), Gorakhnaath Jee tried to catch hold Vaishnavee, but she escaped. She left her old place and went to over the hills to continue her Tapasyaa. However Bhairon Naath followed her to her residence. Vaishnav Devee stopped for a while at Baan Gangaa (present Charan Paadukaa) and Adhkwaaree, finally reached the Holy Cave and stayed there. When Bhairon Naath did not abandone following Vaishanavee, she had to kill him and this happened just outside the mouth of the cave. The severed head fell on a nearby hilltop. He realized after his death that his mission failed and asked for Vaishnavee's forgiveness. The kind Vaishnavee granted him boon that one will have to do his Darshan after Devee's Darshan, then only the devotee's Yaatraa will be completed and fructified. Meanwhile Devee left her human form and transformed into a stone forever and continued her meditation. Thus Vaishnavee, in the form of a five and a half feet tall rock with three heads or the Pindee on the hilltop is the ultimate destination of a devotee.
(2) Legend of Shreedhar
Shreedhar was really astonished to see all this but still feared how to say to them that he would not be able to feed them all. But at the same time he saw Vaishnav Devee coming out of his hut and started feeding the guests. All guests had the food of their choice and the Bhandaaraa was a very successful event with a little disturbance created by Bhairon Naath, the disciple of Gorakhnaath. After the Bhandaaraa Shreedhar had a curiosity to know about the powers Vaishnav Devee had. He began asking young Vaishnavee about those powers, but Vaishnav Devee was not there to reply him. He started feeling an emptiness in his heart as well as in his life. Then one day Vaishanv Devee appeared in his dream and showed him the way of her cave and blessed him with four sons. Shreedhar got very happy, so he set out to have Darshan of his Devee. After finding the cave he decided to spend his life in the worship of Devee.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/03
Updated on 12/19/12