The holy shrine splendid temple of the Goddess Chandi is situated at the height of over 10,000 feet above the sea level in Machail village surrounded by high mountains, thick deodar forests and attractive meadows adjacent world famous sapphire mines area. The most attractive and historical lion ridden idols of the Goddess Chandi and Goddess Lakshmi made of pure silver and white marble inside the temple are the rare sight and source of inspiration for the pilgrims.
Legend of Machail Chandi Mata Temple
According to the legend, the Goddess Chandi appeared at Machail long ago in the shape of ‘Shila’. The mother came here from her ancient place Mindhal Battas to bless the simple, ignorant and helpless people of Paddar area.
Chhadi Yatra at Machail
Thousands of people visit the shrine every year mainly from Jammu region. The pilgrimage happens in the month of August only every year. The shrine was visited in 1981 by Thakur Kulveer Singh of Bhaderwah, Jammu region. From 1987 onwards, Thakur Kulveer Singh started ‘Chhadi Yatra' that happens every year and thousands of people visit the shrine every year during ‘Chhadi Yatra’. There are lots of supernatural happenings that the pilgrims experience and report. The Sankirtan and gungaan of the Goddess continues at halting stations till late night.
The most important and impressive aspect of the Machail Yatra is the unique holy mace of the Goddess which remains ahead of the pilgrims and provide strength and inspiration to the pilgrims enroute.
The Gulabgarh is the base camp. From Gulabgarh, the foot journey starts for about 32 km. People take 2 days to reach the shrine by foot. On the way there are many villages, where one can stay at night. The Chhadi takes three days to reach Machail. Many people organize roadside ‘Langers’ (free food points) on the way to the Gulabgarh. Government of Jammu and Kashmir also arranges basic amenities for the pilgrims.
How to Reach Chandi Mata Temple
Located 290 km away from Jammu city in the district of Kishtwar, one can reach the Machail Chandi Mata Temple by hiring a cab from the city. To reach the shrine, lot of travel agents arranges buses from Jammu, Udhampur, Ramnagar and Bhaderwah. It takes approximately 10 hours by road from Jammu to Gulabgarh.