Lord Shiva meditated in Shiv Khori Cave and the cave was created by him as threw his Trishul on the mountain. According to legends, even Lord Vishnu and other Gods have visited the cave. There are near about 33 Crore impressions of Gods inside the cave and so Shiv Khori is also known as “Home of Gods”. The Shrine is so beautiful and spiritual and is full of beautiful & picturesque mountains, waterfalls & lakes. The other side of the cave ends at Amarnath in Kashmir and anyone who tried to go deep inside the cave never returned.
About Shiv Khori
Shiv Khori is located in Ransoo Village in Reasi District, J&K, and attracts lakhs of devotees annually. Some also believe the yatra of Vaishno Devi ends after visiting Shiv Khori. To reach the gufa (cave) of Shiv Khori people have to walk nearly 3 km on foot. In the gufa, people worship shivling which is formed naturally and there are natural impressions and images of many Gods. Shiv Khori is also known as “Home of Gods”.
History of Shiv Khori
No one really knows about how Shiv Khori was discovered and there are only myths that one can believe upon. It is believed the Gufa (Cave) of Shiv Khori was discovered by a Shephard who was searching for his missing goats in the nearby area. So when he saw the cave he decided to enter the cave and found a number of saints who were worshipping Lord Shiva and were impressed by the divine power of Lord Shiva. The Saints asked the shepherd to promise to not tell anyone about the cave. But when he came out from the cave he told about the cave to other people and died shortly after telling about the cave. There is one more myth about the history of Shiv Khori Cave, it is believed that many saints have spent decades inside the cave for meditation and spiritual attainment. There is one more legend associated with the cave and it is believed that Lord Shiva threw his Trisul and the cave was formed.
The Bhasmasur Legend Associated With Shiv Khori
There was a devotee of Lord Shiva who was known by the name Bhasmasur and it is believed that Bhasmasur meditated for a very long time and Lord Shiva became happy and asked him for asking a wish and he asked for a power by which he can end anyone’s life just by keeping his hand on the head of the other person and Lord Shiva granted him the special power. But after obtaining the power he tried to end Lord Shiva and when Lord Shiva came to know about his evil intentions he ran away with Maa Parwati and Nandi to save himself. He decided to rest for some time at a place which is today known as Shiv Khori but the demon reached there and a dreadful fight happened between them. Due to the battle, today the place where Shiv Khori is located is known as Ransoo (Ran = Battle & Soo = Ground). But Lord Shiva decided not to kill Bhasmasur as he was a devotee of him. It is believed that while running Lord Shiva threw his Trishul which led to the formation of Shiv Khori Cave and he entered the cave and started meditation there. After some time, Lord Vishnu in the guise of Maa Parvati came forward and asked Bhasmasur to dance according to her tune and when he started dancing he took his hand at his head and destroyed himself by mistake. After this Lord Vishnu along with other gods went inside the Shiv Khori cave. It is also believed that 33 Crore Gods exist in the cave in the form of Pindies.
About Shiv Khori Gufa (Cave)
The word Khori in Shiv Khori means Gufa or Cave. The exact length of the cave is not known but some people believe it is nearly half a kilometer but devotees are allowed to go only up to 130 meters. The rest part of the cave is unexplored and it is believed it is connected to Amarnath Cave in Kashmir. Many Sadhus tried to explore the cave but never returned.
The cave is in the shape of Lord Shiva’s Damroo and the width of the cave at some points is very less that a person can barely crawl through those points. Natural water keeps dripping from the top of the cave to the top of Shivling and it is believed before Kaliyug milk used to ooze instead of water. The opening of the cave is nearly 20 feet wide and 22 feet in height. There is a natural formation that represents a gigantic snake and is believed to be Sheshnag. Many pigeons are seen in the cave similar to Amarnath Cave and are believed to be good omen.
There are natural impressions of many Gods. To the left of Shivling, Maa Parvati’s impression can be seen sitting and can be identified by her feet. And just above the Shivling, a cow impression can be seen and it is believed to be Kamdhenu. Also, to the left of Shivling an impression of Kartikeya can be seen, and above Kartikeya’s impression of 5 headed Ganesha can be seen. To the right of Shivling, Lord Ram’s, Lakshman’s, and Hanuman’s impression can also be seen. It is believed the cave has impressions of 33 Crore Gods such as the holy foot of Maa Kali, Panch-Pandaya, Sudarshan Chakra of Lord Vishnu, and many more.
Festival at Shiv Khori (Shivaratri Mela)
A 3-day festival or Mela is organized on Maha Shivaratri every year. During these 3 days, thousands of pilgrims visit Shiv Khori from different parts of India. As the number of pilgrims was increasing every year so Shiv Khori Shrine Board decided to construct a Guest House at Village Ransoo, Reception Center, and Pony Shed. The shrine board has also installed oxygen and electric generators, exhaust fans for the convenience of pilgrims. They have also made additional facilities for pilgrims like Toilet Facilities, Water Facilities, Bus services from Katra, Udhampur, and Jammu.
Darshan Timings of Shiv Khori
Before the Pandemic, darshan timings of Shiv Khori were 05:00 AM to 07:00 PM in the summers and 06:00 AM to 06:00 PM in the winters. And Aarti timing was 06:00 AM to 08:00 AM in the morning and 05:00 PM to 07:00 PM in the evening.
But after the lockdown darshan timings are 07:00 AM to 05:00 PM and Aarti timings are 07:00 AM to 08:00 AM and 07:00 PM to 08:00 PM. An Advance booking is required for darshan which can be done on their website.
How To Reach Shiv Khori
Shiv Khori is located in the Ransoo Village in Reasi district, J&K. Shiv Khori is nearly 110 KM from Jammu City, 80 KM from Katra City, 120 KM from Udhampur, and 266 KM from Srinagar.
- BY AIR: The nearest airport from Shiv Khori is Jammu Airport which is nearly 120 KM from Shiv Khori. You can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Katra or directly Shiv Khori. The Shrine is always planning to start chopper services soon.
- BY TRAIN: The nearest railway station to Shiv Khori is Shri Mata Vaishno Devi railway station in Katra and is at a distance of 80 KM from the shrine and Jammu Railway Station is 110 KM from the Shrine.
- BY ROAD: Shiv Khori is well connected by road with other cities. You can reach Jammu or Katra by Volvo buses and then further take a taxi or bus. There are government buses also running between Jammu and Katra of JKSRTC.
VAISHNO DEVI TO SHIV KHORI DISTANCE
Most people usually visit Shiv Khori when they visit Vaishno Devi, Katra. Shiv Khori is at a distance of 80 KM from Vaishno Devi. From Katra Bus Stand you can take a bus which will usually cost nearly 250 RS and there are 4-5 bus services running from Katra to Shiv Khori and all of them depart from Katra in the morning between 8 AM to 11 AM. It usually takes 3-4 hours to reach Shiv Khori from Katra and buses return by evening.
Accommodation In Shiv Khori
Devotees usually stay in hotels at Katra and return by evening to Katra from Shiv Khori. But now the Shrine Board has also constructed a Tourist Reception Center-cum-Sarai (Guest House) at the base camp of Shiv Khori in Ransoo Village. And there are also some private hotels in the village but if you prefer to stay in Katra then it will be a better option as there are many hotels.
Best Time To Visit Shiv Khori
You can visit Shiv Khori throughout the year.
- In Summers, it will be extremely hot so if you can bear heat you can during the Summer season.
- In the Winters, it is cold and chilly but there is no snowfall in Shiv Khori but take some warm clothes if visiting at that time.
- In the Monsoon, it is pleasant and you may find some awesome scenery on your way to Shiv Khori.