May 9, 2017 by
Journeys have always fascinated me to the core. Being one of the activities I love the most, travelling not only refreshes me but also give me lots of memories I cling to throughout my lifetime. One such beautiful travel experience is the trip to Maa Vaishno Devi temple in Katra. The abode of my Maa, the supreme power and the Goddess herself.
My journey started from the north-eastern state of Assam, from the hustling town of Guwahati. It was a journey with my mother and two of my aunts. We started out on a late February day by Rajdhani express at 7 am. My father and a sister in law came to bid us on this beautiful journey. Though I wanted my sis in law to accompany a lot, she couldn't for some health issues. We were both in tears as the train chugged out of the station whistling through the slums located near the tracks onto the mesmerizing Saraighat Bridge across the River Brahmaputra. I loved train journeys very much, looking out to the fields and is also the place I resort to another most loved activity of mine- reading. The day went by lazily sleeping and reading into the night and then to the next morning. I hardly knew which stations passed by in the midst of the night. We reached Delhi around 1 pm and checked into Mayur Assam hotel in Arakashan road in Paharganj. It was a stay of few hours as we again had a train at night to Jammu. As we had few hours to spare, we roamed the markets in Arakashan road, had lunch and came back to the hotel to rest for some time. Thereafter, we had a train from Old Delhi railway Junction to Jammu Tawi junction at 8.30 pm. We reached Jammu early the morning next day and took a bus from Jammu to holy town Katra.
The ride from Jammu to Katra was pleasant crossing small hills into the valley wherefrom we can see the breathtaking view of the route to the Maa Vaishno Devi temple. Once we reached Katra, we checked into a local hotel, ate, bathed and packed light clothes to start for the temple. We had pre-bookings of stay in Gouri Bhawan in the temple premises which is why we took clothes with us. Thereafter, started the long walk to the temple premises. I should surely add here, the 12 km long walk was indeed very refreshing. It is true when people say there is no pain felt when you walk miles to visit your Maa. The road spotted with holy souvenir shops and religious songs gave us company as we reached the entrance of the temple.
We walked through the long queue and visited our holy Maa. She was graceful in her abode, the calmness and graceful aura surrounding the whole premises. Words fall short of describing how much I adore her and love her. She is the one and only, the ever power and ever knowing and the supreme amongst all. Once we had her view, we went to the Gouri Bhawan and stayed for the night. We had bookings for the aarti early at 5 am in the morning so we hastily slept off.
It was already dark when we woke up for the aarti and got ready to start for the temple again. We witnessed the aarti- the divine prayer to the deity and the call to seek her blessings and love. Thereafter, we went to see Maa once again before leaving for Bhairav mandir on the mountaintop. After reaching Bhairav Mandir by walking 2.5 kms uphill, we offered prayers and then sat awhile there and then took the way back to the base. We reached after around six hours and took rest to our fill. Next day, we did some local shopping and headed for Jammu in a bus. Once we reached there, we stayed for few hours before heading for Delhi in a train.
We reached Delhi the next day and stayed in a hotel at Karol Bagh. We had entire two days to spare and we shopped, visited friends and places across Delhi. After the refreshing two days in Delhi, we headed for Guwahati again in the same Rajdhani Express with a hope to come back to Delhi and mostly to visit Maa again in the near future. We reached Guwahati the next evening with my father waiting at the station for us to pick us up. The journey from Guwahati to Maa Vaishno Devi temple was indeed much refreshing and joyful. It is indeed always a happy moment when one visits Maa's abode.