Decided to visit Vaishnodevi after my colleagues talked so much about it. Being a catholic with a deep respect for all religions I decided to make the trip last weekend. I could write a few pages on my experience, however will try to keep short. It was indeed uplifting for the soul. The sheer energy of the yatris was felt every step of the way. A real gathering of humanity...all castes, creeds, colours, shapes, sizes, old, young, rich, poor, able bodied, disabled bodied were all one for the journey. I wish this country could learn to live with each other in this way. Started my yatra 4.30pm Sat and returned 6am Sun. 2hrs was spent at Bhawan for darshan and queues etc. Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board should be congratulated for their efforts in providing impeccable facilities for the pilgrims. Plenty of food, water, places to rest all along the track. The only negative I found was the Pony Wallas were taking advantage of people who were tired and could not continue to walk half way through the journey. Quoting Rs1200 for a 3km journey when the recommended rate for the entire yatra is less than Rs500. There did not seem to be any official who could have intervened. I went barefoot at the darshan and my toes turned blue. I could not understand how so many yatris walk the entire 27km barefoot! It has to be the call of the divine Mata. I felt priviledged and fortunate to have been able to visit and complete the journey on foot. Will remember the experience...and some of the pain I am still experiencing for the rest of my life. JAI MATA DI..
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