Tucked deep in the Trikuta Mountains of Jammu & Kashmir is the cave shrine of Vaishno Devi. Much revered by Hindus, the shrine finds mention in ancient texts like the Vedas. Vaishno Devi is a bustling religious centre that draws pilgrims all through the year. The shrine is located 61 km north of Jammu at a height of 5,200 feet above the sea level and to get there one has to trek 13.5 kms from Katra, 50 kms away from Jammu. The path can also be traversed on a pony.
Midway to the shrine is the Adhkuwari temple, where the Goddess Vaishno is believed to be have spent nine months on her way to the mountains. Inside the 100-meter long cave, the shrine is narrow and pilgrims have to walk through a running stream of cold water called the Charan Ganga to get to the sanctum sanctorum. Within, three rock-cut idols of the goddesses, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati are venerated under canopies of silver and gold. Previously the Shrine had only one natural entry cave, but now two more exit caves have been constructed. The shrine can be visited all through the year.