Mata Vaishno Devi

The town of Katra, which is close to Jammu, contains the Vaishno Devi shrine. Nestling on top of the Trikuta Hills at a height of 1700 m is the sacred cave shrine of Vaishno Devi, the mother goddess. At a distance of 48 km from Jammu, the cave is 30 m long and just 1.5 m high. At the end of the cave are shrines dedicated to the three forms of the mother goddess—Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasarasvati. Pilgrims start trekking to the cave temple, which is 13 km from Katra, enter in small groups through a narrow opening and walk through ice-cold waters to reach the shrines. According to legend, the mother goddess hid in the cave while escaping a demon whom she ultimately killed.