मचैल यात्रा ⛰
Looking towards the long trek to Machel Mata, (popularly known as Machel Yatra).
𝕄𝕒𝕔𝕙𝕖𝕝 𝕄𝕒𝕥𝕒 is a Goddess Durga shrine popularly known as Machel Mata being located in the village “Machel”, from where it derives its name, in Kishtwar District of Jammu region in India.
The temple history is entwined with the conquests of Zorawar Singh Kahluria, who in 1834 AD sought blessings of Machelmata, before crossing the mountains and Suru River (Indus), with 5000 men for vanquishing an army of local Botis of Ladakh. He became a faithful devotee after the successful mission.
Machelmata Sthan as the shrine is popularly known, has a landscape of unblemished beauty with hills, glaciers and tributaries of the Chenab River (Chandrabhaga / चंद्रभाग).
Paddar valley, nearby is famous for its world-famous sapphire mines, and is a cool place for hiking, cannoning and holy hot springs.
The area is home to bhot community and the Thakur community who are serpent worshipers, and was merged with Kishtwar tehsil, by Maharaja Ranbir Singh.
Thousands of people visit the shrine every year mainly from Jammu region.The pilgrimage happens only in the month of August every year being inaccessible during the winter months of December, January and February.
To reach the shrine, lot of travel agents arrange buses from Jammu, Udhampur, Ramnagar or Bhaderwah.
One can also hire a cab as well. It takes approximately 10 hours by road from Jammu to Gulabgarh, as the distance is 290 km.
Gulabgarh 🏕, being the base camp for the holy shrine, from here the 32 km foot journey starts that usually takes 2 days for pilgrims to reach the shrine by foot.
On the way there are many villages, where one can stay for the night and even enjoy free langars. Government of Jammu & Kashmir also arranges basic amenities for the pilgrims.
You can also opt for helicopter service to reach the shrine these days from Jammu and Gulabgarh though you will be missing many scenic beauties of the nature.
The helipad is only 100 meters from the shrine. Helicopter takes around 7-8 min to reach the Mata's Darbaar.