Katra

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Katra, also known as Katra Vaishno Devi, is a city in the Reasi district of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. It is in the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains, about 42 km from the city of Jammu, and 35 km from Udhampur. The main attraction is the Maa Vaishno Devi temple.

Get in[edit]

The nearest railhead/airport is Jammu. To get to Katra from there, you can take cabs (₹820 for an Indica, ₹890 for an Ikon), or buses from the bus stand just outside the railway station.

If travelling from Delhi, there are options to travel in buses which go direct to Katra, but the train journey is more comfortable.

Get around[edit]

By taxi

See[edit]

Maa Vaishno Devi temple[edit]

Maa Vaishno Devi is a famous Indian goddess who has a temple near Katra. It is on a mountain and a climb of 12 km has to be undertaken to reach it. Following are the options to reach Maa Vaishno Devi temple from Katra.

  1. Katra to Ardh Kuari - 6 km
    1. Walk - 3 hours
    2. Pony - ₹200 - 1 hour
    3. Pitthu - for luggage or small babies - ₹140 - 3 hours
  2. Ardh Kuari to Maa Vaishno Devi Bhawan - 6 km
    1. Walk - 3 hours
    2. Pony - ₹200 - 1 hour
    3. Pitthu - for luggage or small babies - ₹140 - 3 hours
    4. Electric vans - Only for elderly people and the handicapped
  3. Katra to Maa Vaishno Devi Bhawan directly - 12 km
    1. Helicopter - ₹699 (as on 23/02/2012) one way - 5 Minutes
    2. Palki - for elderly - approx ₹3000 - 6 hours
    3. Walk - 6 hours
    4. Pony - ₹385 - 2 hours
    5. Pitthu - for luggage or small babies - ₹260 - 6 hours
  4. Maa Vaishno Devi Bhawan to Bhairo Baba temple - 2 km
    1. Walk - 2 hours
    2. Pony - ₹150 - 45 minutes
    3. Pitthu - for luggage or small babies - 2 hours
  5. On the way back - The options are similar on the return trip. However, you can go directly from the Bhairo Baba temple to Ardh Kuari. You don't need to come back via Bhawan.

The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board which manages the temple has more details on its website.

The best season to visit Vaishno Devi is October-March, as you can visit the original cave of Mata Vaishno Devi and accommodation is very cheap at that time.

  • Ardh Kuari
  • Main Bhawan. Dormitories available here for you to rest after the climb!
  • Kal Bhairav Temple
  • The Bhawan - the Sacred Sanctum of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji is about 13 km from the base camp Katra and is linked by a hilly track. The journeys are mostly made at night, so the entire route has ample illumination. Facilities such as drinking water, toilets, medical dispensaries etc are made available throughout the track. Apart from these facilities the entire track contains number of shops providing the refreshments and other local products.
  • The Goddess Vaishno Devi's abode - is in 100 feet long cave with a narrow opening. The holy cold and crystal clear water washes the lotus feet of the Mata's "Pindian". There are three natural pindies representing Maha Sarswati, Maha Lakshmi, Maha Kali which represent creative, preservative, and destructive aspects of the Super Power. It is an ancient shrine whose reference is found in the Vedas and ancient scriptures.
  • Shri Mata Vaishno Devi - one of the oldest shrines of India, located at an elevation of 5,300 feet on the holy Trikuta Hills of the Shivalik Hill Range. In early 1980s the number of pilgrims was just more than 10 lakhs annually but their number increased steeply after the historic reforms initiated with taking over the shrines by the statutory independent board under the chairmanship of the then governor, Sh Jagmohan, on August 30, 1986. These reforms were carried forward with equal zeal by the successive governors.

Shiv Khori[edit]

  • Shiv Khori - Shiva, meaning "auspicious", is one of the Hindu gods that make up the supreme Trinity, comprising of Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the Preserver and Shiva or Mahesh, the Destroyer and Re-Producer of life. Lord Shiva is the destroyer of the world, which is responsible for the change. Lord Shiva is worshipped in many forms. He is conceived in his unborn and invisible form as lingum. The "Shiv-Lingum" symbolizes the power behind the creation. It is believed that at the end of all creation, during the great deluge, all of the different aspects of God find a resting place in the Lingam.
  • Shiv Khori Yatra, Shiv Khori cave, Shiv Khori pilgrimage - Famous cave shrine of "Shivkhori", 80 km from Katra, depicts the natural formation of shivlingum. It is one of the most venerated cave shrines of Lord Shiva in the region. The holy cave is more than 150 m long & houses the 4 foot high Svayambhu Lingum, which constantly bathes in a milky lime fluid dripping from the ceiling. The cave is full of natural impression & images of various Hindu deities & full of divine feelings. That is why Shivkhori is known as "Home of Gods". The route from Jammu to Shiv Khori is full of beautiful & picturesque mountains, waterfalls & lakes.

Do[edit]

Eat[edit]

Most 3 star and above hotels have very good vegetarian food. There are hundreds of other restaurants in the main Katra market. On the way to Bhawan - you have many options of eating snacks and having cold and warm beverages. At some places run by the trust you can have good lunch of rice and rajma.

Drink[edit]

Alcohol drinking is prohibited on the way to Darshan.

Sleep[edit]

  • Hotel Sunchick (in Vaishino Devi). ₹700/day for a double.
  • National Guest House (close to Katra bus stand and Hotel Chirag International),  +91 1991-232165-094192-15791-098581-63803. Clean and spacious rooms. 24hrs checkout. ₹600-700/day for a double/triple.

Go next[edit]

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