Shiv Khori – A Popular Pilgrim Place
About Shiv Khori
Located in the Reasi district of the north Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir, Shiv Khori is a popular pilgrim place in the country, housing the holy cave shrine of the Hindus. Geographically in the Ransoo Village, Shivkhori happens to be one among the many holy shrines situated in the Reasi district of the state, such as Baba Dhansar, Mata Vaishno Devi, Siad Baba, and Marhada Mata.
Lietrally, “khori” means a cave, and Shiv Khori henceforth means the cave of Lord Shiva. A lot of legend and lore goes into the identification of the origin of this cave where millions of pilgrims gather to pay their tribute annually. One such story and belief of the devotees is that long ago, there lived a demon named Bhasmasur.
Such was his determination to achieve what he wanted that he performed rigorous meditation for Lord Shiva, and when he was done, Lord Shiva was pleased with his dedication and rewarded him with a blessing, in the form of an ability wherein the demon could end anyone’s life with his hand.
The striking element of the story was that after receiving the blessing, the demon went after Lord Shiva to kill him. The latter ran for his life and in that run, he entered this cave, currently known as the Shiv Khori. To put an end to the demon’s ill motives, Lord Vishnu appeared amidst this fiasco in the form of Mohini, and cajoled the demon to dance with her on her tune.
The demon obliged and began following the steps of Mohini, dancing on her tune, until there came a step and Mohini put her hand on her head, which of course the demon followed, and thus ended his life with his own hand.
If the legend is to be believed then there exists around 330 million Hindu deities in the form of pindis inside the Shiv Khori and all of these get natural water falling on them from the top of the cave. According to statistics, only 30% of the pilgrims hail from within the state of Jammu & Kashmir for their pilgrimage here, while the other 70% as a whole come from different states of India.
Currently, the administration and management of the Shiv Khori is handled by the Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, which also looks after the entire management of the popular Vaishno Devi pilgrimage in India.