My tryst with mountains began when I was barely 6 months old. This soon translated to annual trip to Katra,Jammu. Trekking up to the Vaishno Devi shrine all by myself gave me joy like nothing else. The various landmarks in the journey with the interesting mythical tales behind fed my inquisitive mind. I would often watch movies and read books on the same when I came back. I don't term myself religious as I am not a regular temple-goer, fast-observer etc. however I strongly believe in the divine power. I feel there's someone who's constantly looking out for me. But then,I also believe that I don't need four walls of a temple or life-size statue of a god to pray. All you need is a pure heart and soul and just look out for others around you. That's what praying to God means to me. With this belief system in place,I've never considered my annual journey to Vaishno Devi as a pilgrimage. I've observed tons of things here,all these years. When Kashmiri Pandits were attacked,I was there in Katra thriving under the state-wide curfew. When Raghunath Temple in Jammu was attacked,I was there. I've seen an old lady from Odisha get off from a moving train at the Jammu platform and fall on the tracks and still survive miraculously with barely any scratches. It's sad how this beautiful state has been marred by terror in the name of religion but what uplifts me is the spirit of people here. They've never been bogged down by any of these attacks and still welcome people with open arms. Jammu TravelStories Trip1of2016 Lifeinpictures Myphotodiary Nature Mountains Storiesofindia