Vaishno Devi is a magnanimous pilgrimage destination with some legends that are far more mysterious and interesting than human understanding. The remarkable surroundings among the beautiful mountains are still anonymously the most far reached yet most visited destination in the country because of the rich history of the place.
The tale of the Pindies
There are three Pindies at Vaishno Devi which represent Goddess Lakshmi, Saraswati, and Mahakali. It is believed that the Goddesses came together as a manifestation of spiritual energy and emanated as a beautiful young girl. The Devis or the Goddesses directed the energy to take birth in the household of Ratnakar and his wife. After the girl child was born, she was named Vaishnavi. She was intellectually brilliant and displayed immense radiance. Once Lord Rama visited the place during exile and Vaishnavi immediately recognized that Lord Rama was the avatar of Vishnu who was incarnated on the Earth for the welfare of human beings. Vaishnavi asked Lord Rama to merge her into him. However, Rama denied and promised her that he would return at the end of his exile and if Vaishnavi recognized him then, he would fulfill her wish. But when Lord Rama fulfilled his exile and came to visit Vaishnavi in the form of an old man, she failed to recognize him. Vaishnavi was devastated upon which Lord Rama consoled her and said that she would come to her in the Kalki yuga in the form of Kaki and merge with her. Lord Rama directed her to meditate and pray at the base of the Trikuta hills, upon which Vaishnavi gave up her human form and turned into a rock with three faces.
These are known as the Pindies. The Pindies are rocky bodies immersed in water with a marble platform around them. What’s interesting is though the three Pindies are formed on a unanimous rock or from a single source, each one is different from each other in its texture and color. The right one has a darker shade and is dedicated to Mahakali which represents the aura of the darker and unknown realms of life. The Pindi at the center is a blend of vermillion and yellow shade which represents Goddess Lakshmi. She symbolizes wealth and prosperity. And, at the extreme left, Maha Saraswati is represented by a whish rock who is associated with wisdom, knowledge, creation, art, and righteousness.
Mata’s Bhawan and Bhairav Nath
The holy Bhawan at Vaishno Devi houses the Holy cave which is the ultimate destination of the Pilgrims. The Pindies are in the cave. It is believed that Vaishnavi ascended uphill after Bhairav Nath located her in the Garbhjun at Adhkuwari. Then she reached the holy cave and Bhairav Nath challenged her. The Goddess finally assumed her divine form here and severed the head of Bhairav Nath. The blow was so powerful that Bhairav Nath’s head flew away and fell about half a kilometer away from where the Bhairav Nath temple is now. As the sage asked for forgives and asked the Goddess to merge him in her divine energy, the Goddess freed him from the repeated cycle of reincarnation and granted him a boon, that no pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi would be complete without visiting the Bhairav Nath’s Temple.
Ways to reach the temple
To reach the temple there are different tracks, among which the old, holy track is the most-sought. But, as the old track is steep and narrow at some points, a new alternative track was opened to the pilgrims in the year 1999. The trek to Vaishno Devi is a 15 km stretch with a good ascent. You can walk up there or take the pony rides, palkis and pithu for kids. There is also a small bridge over Banganga through which people reach the pindis. While you are on your way make sure to visit the Charan paduka as well which is situated at an altitude of 338 feet and nearly 1.5 km from Banganga. There you can find the footprints of Mata Vaishno Devi in their most magnificent form.