Darshan means the blessed vision of holy personages in whatever name or form. It is not mere seeing through the physical external eyes. Darshan has spiritual consequences because it is imbued with a consecrated attitude of reverence and faith for the enshrining deities. The earthly abodes of holy personages are surrounded by divine energy and getting into such a sacred destination nourishes the soul. To reach to one such destination the Vaishno Devi Temple, one has to come to Jammu.
Vaishno Devi is the follower of Lord Vishnu, the savior of the ‘trinity. She is believed to be the incarnation of Maha Shakti or Supreme Energy is manifested in three forms; Maha Saraswti, Maha Laxmi and Mahakali, respectively representing ‘Creation, Conservation and Annihilation’. Maha Laxmi or is responsible for the sustenance of life and bestows her bliss and bounties to her devotees who undertake the arduous trekking to her shrine, in a cave on the top of Trikuta Hill, in the Himalayas. It is 16 km from Jammu and the covered is always covered with snow except during March-April or September-October.
Trekking to the sanctum of Vaishno Devi at Jammu is a great experience for the devotees. Because it sanctifies their deep reverence for Devi and their determination to undertake any kind of hardship for getting her get ‘darshan’. Special Darshan can be had in groups of five, with prior reservation through accredited travel operators. Pilgrims can take undertake a trekking of 13 km through Katra-BanaGanga, Charan Paduka- Sanjichat- Bhawan- Bhairavnath Temple. Bhairavnath is the demon from whose enticement the Devi escaped to come to her earthly abode in the caves.
Besides the religious trekking, tourists come in large number to Jammu for undertaking adventurous trekking through many routes that connect to Lal Draman, Machail, Gupt Ganga, Zumun Palmar, Vasukinag, Reushra, Sarthal and Kailash Yatra.
Devotees paying visit for darshan of Vaishno Devi find other destinations of religious significance in Jammu. They can visit the Peer Kho Cave or Jamawant Cave located near the river Tawi or have darshan of the Maryada Purusha ‘Shri Rama’ amidst the golden plated interiors of Raghunath temple. Panjbakhtar Temple and Ranabireshwar Temple are located in this temple complex, built by Maharaja Ranbir Singh. A holy ‘darshan’ of goddess is a must to be had at the Bawey Wali Mata Temple inside the premises of Bahu Temple.
A fine blend of architectures of Mughal, Baroque, Rajasthani and European styles attracts great number of tourists to the 150 years old Mubarak Mandi Palace, the royal residence of the Dogra kings of Jammu.
Man Sarovar is considered the most sacred lake which is located in Tibet. The Mansar Lake in Jammu is believed to share the mythological legacy of Man Sarovar and devotees feel it their religious duty to pay a visit to this one mile long lake amidst the forest-covered hills. For having a panoramic natural spectacle, Surinsar Lake is the best tourist destination.
Anyone visiting Jammu goes back with the strong conviction that he has made the best utilization of his vacation by acquiring spiritual experience in a natural environment that adds to his day to day working efficiency.