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Maa Vaishno Devi shrine board

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chit Chat' started by Priyadashini, Dec 13, 2016.

  1. Priyadashini

    Priyadashini New Member

    I would like to know what the Maa Vaishno Devi Shrine board is about. Is this just an information point in Katra or do they provide services and facilities as well.

    It would be my first time going to Vaishno Devi, so it is important I get all the vital information before I leave.
     


  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi, @Priyadashini, welcome to the forum!

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    (Images from Rswarath, Vinayaraj, Nikhil Chandra and Vinayaraj)

    Overview

    One of the most important pilgrimages sites for Hindus in India is in Katra, the Vaishno Devi Mandir. Home to the Vaishno Devi, a manifestation of Goddess Lakshmi, the small town is thronged by millions of devotees every year. Because of this, there was a need for a proper management committee to handle all the needs of the pilgrims. At first, the mandir was managed by the Dharamarth Trust and Baridars. However, there was no proper facilities for pilgrims back then which made the pilgrimage more difficult to undertake. In the year 1986, the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board was created to further enhance the facilities around the shrine and within the shrine itself.

    What is the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board?

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    The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board Website

    The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board is the official committee that manages all things related to the Vaishno Devi Mandir. The donations given to the temple are also handled by the Shrine Board. All the facilities that the pilgrims have now are all care of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. Their main goal is to make the pilgrimage easier and more convenient for devotees as much as possible. Just this 2015, a new CEO has been appointed for the Shrine Board, which is Ajeet Sahu. A number of many more employees help to make the Vaishno Devi Mandir and the pilgrimage all the more satisfying and enjoyable for all devotees. Basically, the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board is the only official management committee for the Vaishno Devi Mandir. No other trust, company or group is related to the Vaishno Devi Mandir and if you have any queries answered, you only need to reach the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.

    Developments Over the Past Years

    With the creation of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, several developments and improvements have been apparent over the past years. Even the pilgrims themselves have noticed these changes and applaud the Shrine Board for all their efforts and care.

    Projects Undertaken by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board

    ProjectOld ConditionPresent Condition
    Main TrackPatchy roads without any lightingSmooth, well-lit and illuminated
    Alternative TrackNon-existent back thenWell-laid paths and shorter distance than Main Track
    BathroomsFewOver 100 bathrooms throughout the Main Track
    Potable WaterVery fewOver 100 potable water drinking points
    FoodVery fewAbout 12 restaurants in Main Track and 3 restaurants in Alternative Track
    AccommodationsNoneFree and rented accommodations in different points of the pilgrimage
    Vaishno Devi MandirOld and dilapidatedSpacious, complete with modern facilities and security
    Bhairon GhatiPatchy tracks and temple in bad conditionRelaid tracks and renovated temple
    Facilities for PilgrimsVery fewCloak rooms, blanket stores, shops, resting areas, medical facilities and transportation (ponies, porters, palanquins etc.)
    Online ServicesNoneRoom booking, helicopter booking, pooja and yatra reservation
    The table above highlights the different projects undertaken by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board over the last couple of years. From the Vaishno Devi Mandir itself, up to the Bhairon Ghati Mandir, to the Main Track, the Alternative Track and many more, there have been lots of progress that the Shrine Board has done for the devotees. Whereas the journey was very tiring back then, without any facilities to cater to the needs of the devotees, the journey is very enjoyable now that even children and seniors can be seen participating in the pilgrimage.

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    Helipad in Katra, One of the Projects of Shrine Board (Image from Best Destinations in the World)

    Facilities and Services Provided by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board

    1. Yatra Parchi - First of all, it is essential for all pilgrims to have their own yatra parchi prior to doing the pilgrimage for the Vaishno Devi Mandir. The yatra parchi can be acquired personally or online. The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has made it easier for pilgrims by creating two yatra counters in Katra. Getting a yatra parchi is free of charge if done personally. You can reach Counter I, near the Main Bus Stand of Katra, Counter II, about a kilometre away from the former or Counter III in Saraswati Dham, near the Jammu Tawi Railway Station. Or you can opt to register online via the official website of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and obtain your yatra parchi from there. The process is very simple, just register with a working email address, input the number of devotees, the date you would like to visit the mandir and it would then show your transaction reference number. Print out the yatra parchi confirmation page and bring it at the Ban Ganga Checkpost on arrival at Katra to further proceed with your journey.

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    Yatra Parchi Counter (Image from Maa Vaishno DEvi Darshan)

    2. Pooja - Prior to reaching the mandir, if you would like to have pooja, then you can also reserve a slot for that. Pooja can be divided into Individual Pooja and Shradha Suman Vishesh Pooja. The former is further subdivided into two categories, both of which are only for individuals and doesn't include accommodations. The latter is further subdivided into four categories, where individuals or a few members of the family can have pooja and accommodations are also provided for. However, both costs a bit so you need to prepare money for this. Pooja can be reserved online as well, via the same website given above.

    Pooja Fees by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board

    TypeInclusionsFee
    Individual Pooja (A)Pooja Performed for IndividualRs. 1,100
    Individual Pooja (B)Pooja Attended by Individual + Five Family MembersRs. 5,100
    Shradha Suman Vishesh Pooja (A)Individual Aarti + Accommodation in Niharika & Holy Bhawan & PrashadRs. 16,000
    Shradha Suman Vishesh Pooja (B)Aarti for Two + Accommodation in Niharika & Holy Bhawan & Prashad + Three Meals in Holy Bhawan & Prashad/PersonRs. 31,000
    Shradha Suman Vishesh Pooja (C)Aarti for Three + Accommodations in Niharika & Holy Bhawan & Prashad + Three Meals in Holy Bhawan & Prashad/PersonRs. 46,000
    Shradha Suman Vishesh Pooja (D)Aarti for Five + Accommodations in Niharika & Holy Bhawan + Three Meals in Holy Bhawan & Prashad/PersonRs. 75,000
    3. Yatra by Helicopter - The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board also has helicopter facility for pilgrims who want to reach the mandir by air. There are two ways of obtaining this facility, either personally or online. For personal booking, you need to have the yatra parchi prior to obtaining a ticket for the helicopter ride. Just reach the Helicopter Ticket Counter in Katra, pay the required fees (Rs. 1,170 for one-way and Rs. 2,340 for two-way), show ID proofs for all members of the family, along with proof of travel documents and you're good to go. On the other hand, you can also book online via the official website linked above. After registering, click on the Helicopter Services tab, input the names of the members and pay the required fees via credit card or debit card. Print the confirmation page and bring it on your journey to Katra. By helicopter, you would be cutting the journey short as the ride is from Katra to Sanjichhat.

    4. Accommodation - Accommodation options are also available in Katra, also provided by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. There are two types of accommodations, either free halls or rented rooms. The free halls are located in three main points: in Adhkuwari, in Sanjichhat and in the Holy Bhawan of Vaishno Devi. There are also free accommodations available in the Niharika Complex and near the Counter II for yatra parchi, but only during heavy rush of pilgrims. Though these are free, the halls come in a first come, first serve basis only. You can also opt for the rented accommodations also managed by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. These are available in Jammu, Katra, Adhkuwari, Sanjichhat and the Holy Bhawan of Vaishno Devi.

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    Niharika Complex (Image from Katra Link)

    Rented Accommodations in Jammu

    Vaishnavi Dham ComplexTariffKalika Dham ComplexTariffSaraswati Dham ComplexTariff
    Double Bedded AC RoomRs. 1,100Double Bedded AC RoomRs. 1,500Dormitory (Per Bed)Rs. 100
    Suite ACRs. 1,500Dormitory (Per Bed)Rs. 150
    Dormitory (Per Bed)Rs. 100
    Rented Accommodations in Katra

    Niharika ComplexTariffShakti & Trikuta Bhawan ComplexTariffAshirwad Bhawan ComplexTariff
    Double Bedded AC RoomRs. 1,300Dormitory (Per Bed)Rs. 100Dormitory (Per Bed)Rs. 110
    Double Bedded Non AC RoomRs. 850
    Four Bedded AC RoomRs. 1,500
    Four Bedded Non AC RoomRs. 1,100
    Rented Accommodations in Adhkuwari

    Sharda Bhawan ComplexTariffShailputri Bhawan ComplexTariff
    Double Bedded RoomRs. 700Dormitory (Per Bed)Rs. 120
    Rented Accommodations in Sanjichhat

    Mangla Bhawan ComplexTariff
    Double Bedded RoomRs. 700
    Dormitory (Per Bed)Rs. 100
    Rented Accommodations in Holy Bhawan

    Vaishnavi and Gouri Bhawan ComplexTariffMain Bhawan ComplexTariffManokamana Bhawan ComplexTariff
    Double Bedded RoomRs. 900Double Bedded RoomRs. 1,400Dormitory (Per Bed)Rs. 120
    Four Bedded RoomRs. 1,300Four Bedded RoomRs. 2,050
    Six Bedded HutRs. 1,700
    These are all the facilities and services provided by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board itself. You can avail of these facilities and services in the pilgrimage itself. Some other facilities can be obtained or reserved online for ease of pilgrimage.

    Conclusion

    The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board caters to all the needs of the devotees. With the creation of their official website, the pilgrimage for the Vaishno Devi Bhawan/Mandir has been made easier. You can just register into the website and avail of services like yatra parchi registration, pooja registration, accommodation rental and even helicopter booking. No other website or company is associated with the Vaishno Devi Bhawan so it's best to reach the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board to avoid being fooled by other companies or groups into paying higher fees for your pilgrimage needs.

    I hope this helps you.:)
     

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