Machail Yatra

Location of Machail Mata and the Legend behind Machail Yatra

Paddar is famously known for the Machail Yatra and we also know Mata Chandi as Machail Mata. Paddar is a Sub-Division of District Kishtwar and Machail is one of the small villages of Paddar. Maa Chandi or Machail Mata resides in the remotest corner of Paddar at an altitude of around 9500ft above sea level. It is a trek distance of around 30 kms on foot from the Gulabgarh Village. This is the last village connected by road. Every year thousands of devotees pay visit to the Holy Shrine of Mata Machail with the faith undeterred and to receive the blessings of Mata Machail Waali. The number of pilgrims with each passing year has kept on increasing manifolds.

Machail Yatra
Machail Mata Temple in 1976. Photo – Richard Hazlett

According to the ancient sources, Mata Machail appeared in the form of Pindi; the same way as it appeared at Vaishno Devi, Katra. Mata Machail came here from Mindal Bhattas, a small village in Himachal Pradesh to bless the people of Paddar. The yatra was initially started by Thakur Kulbir Singh of Bhaderwah who happened to be serving in J&K Police Department and was posted in Machail during 1980’s.



The Machail Yatra along with Holymace commences from Chinote in Bhaderwah during the month of August every year with a lot of zeal and fervor amidst the chants of Maa Chandi. Devotees from Jammu start their journey from the Lakshmi Narayan Mandir (Pacca Danga) after taking the obeisance and join the Holy Yatra at Bhaderwah from where it proceeds towards Kishtwar and then to Village Atholi in Paddar. The Holymace is welcomed enroute by thousands of devotees at various villages with them offering free Langars at Gulabgarh, Massu, Kundhail, Chishoti, Hamori and Machail.

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The role of Sarv Shakti Sevak Sanstha

It is a matter of great faith in Goddess Chandi that the visits to Machail Yatra has been gradually increasing and the official duration of the Yatra been increased every year to accommodate the tourist flow to the Holy Shrine as also keeping the Helicopter service functional throughout the official Yatra period.

For the convenience of pilgrims, the Sanstha has started construction of multi storied “Mata Machail Yatri Bhavan” at the base camp Gulabgarh with around 42 guest rooms, cloak room, dormitories with bath rooms and toilet facilities, shopping complex and also has latest architecture conference hall.

The complex also houses the Langar facility here throughout the month of August which caters to all the devotees starting their journey towards Machail Shrine. At present the Bhavan has capacity to accommodate around 1000 tourists per day which has become the sole attraction and center of tourist activities in the area. The construction is still under process as of now and has been financed by the Sarv Shakti Sevak Sanstha itself out of voluntary donations from the devotees every year.

Impact of Machail Yatra on Local Populace of Paddar

Machail Yatra has laid tremendous impact on the socio economic conditions of the people during the month long Yatra. The locals get to showcase their scantily available food crops like Bajar Bhang, Phulan, Sivil which are used during fasting and the sale of these items boost them financially. Coupled with it, the sale of shopkeepers, dhabawalas and tea stall owners surges considerably, earning them a good fortune; all this with the divine blessings of “Mata Chandi Machail Waali”.

Government Initiatives for Machail Yatra

The Government of J&K through District administration Kishtwar takes a lot of initiatives to provide facilities to the ever increasing flow of the pilgrims in the areas of health, clean water, rationed items, security arrangements and transportation. Significant is the step arranging the Chopper services from the District Headquarter Kishtwar as also from the Block Headquarter Gulabgarh to Machail. The Holy Machail Yatra is Organised by Sarv Shakti Sevak Sanstha® Doda.

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