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585 kilometers away from the capital of India (Delhi), situated at the foothills of Trikuta, besides the river Tawi at an altitude of 1030 ft. is Jammu, a historical city. Land of brave Dogras known for their heroic deeds is a land of peace. Dogras are handsome and artistic people who love beautiful things. Western travelers in the past ranked the people of Jammu as most gentle, elegant in the manners, decent, handsome, 'Bhalamanous' (noble and gentle) polished, gallant, agile, well skilled, cautious, refined, scholarly, able and moderate.

According to a Legend, King Jambulochan on seeing a tiger and a goat drinking water from the same pool was struck by the harmony and peace of this place and founded a City here-Jammu. It is also said that the history of the City is much more old and is related to Jamawant, one of the warriors in Rama's army, who used to practice austere penances here in a cave near Pir-Khoh.

Jammu has numerous temples in its lap and hence called the City of Temples. Linked with rail, road and air it has emerged as a big trading centre in the recent years. The view of the dawn and dusk of this sacred city is simply enchanting. In the crowded busy bazars people rub their shoulders to bargain for Kashmiri dry fruit, Bhadarwahi Rajmash, Kashmiri Shawls, Phirons, artificial jewellary, wood work etc. All bazars in the city have their own peculiarities and specializations. Raghunath Bazar a big retail market, Kanak Mandi a whole sale market, Pacca Danga for books, Jain Bazar for Jewellary, Linkroad a ladies shopping hunt etc, are the few bazars of their own type - in this way it has to offer many things for which a tourist is at the look out.


A shrine of immense religious significance, the cave of Trikuta Bhagwati, commonly known as Vaishno Devi, attracts lakhs of devotees every year. About 30 meters long, the entry to the cave is through a narrow opening reached after wading knee deep through a stream. Inside are images of three manifestations of Vaishnodevi; Mahasaraswati, Mahakali and Mahalakhsmi. The holy cave shrine is located in a beautiful recess of Trikuta Mountain at an altitude of 5000 feet. It is 39 miles to the north of Jammu.

Katra, the bus terminus for the pilgrims, is itself a neat little pastoral town. From Katra onwards one passes through 'Darshani Darwaza'. Going down for about a mile one crosses 'Bal Ganga'- a stream associated with the goddess. Pilgrims take a purificatory dip in this stream before starting on the ascent. About a mile above Bal Ganga is 'Charan Paduka' with holy foot prints. Two miles above is the most sacred site of 'Aadh Kumari'. It is a beautiful plateau where some pilgrims prefer to break the journey and rest for the night. There is a small narrow tunnel here called 'Garab Joon' which begins horizontally and ends vertically. Pilgrims consider it must to pass through this tunnel and those who cannot do so are labeled as sinners.

A few yards from Aadh Kumari begins the most difficult part of the ascent called 'Hathi Matha' -elephant's forehead. Then passing through 'Sanjhi Chhat' pilgrims reach 'Bhairoo Temple'. It is a practice among pilgrims to go to this temple only while returning from the holy cave. After this shrine, pilgrims have to climb down passing through a dense forest known as "Mata Ka Bagh". About a mile and a half from Bhairo temple, pilgrims reach the cave site.

A number of legends are attached with this holy cave. But according to most accepted legend, Goddess (Vaishno Devi) was living as Kumari (Virgin girl) since time immemorial, therefore, known as "Aadh Kumari". A wicked monster named Bhairo once wanted to marry her forcibly. Before Bhairo could fulfill his evil desire she ran away from her place. When Bhairo learnt it, he chased her upto the cave, where he was killed by her and she made the cave her permanent abode. A stone lying in front of the cave is considered to be the dead body of monster Bhairo.


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