The famous holy cave temple of Mata Vaishno Devi located in Katra (Jammu and Kashmir) at a height of 1560 m above sea level. Mata Vaishno Devi popularly known as Mata Rani is a manifestation of Hindu Goddess Durga. Thousands of pilgrims visit here every year to seek blessings and show faith in this temple.
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi resides in a sacred cave located in a three-peak mountain named Trikuta. The journey of Vaishno Devi Temple started from Katra Bazaar. You will find many hotels in Katra market to relax according to your budget. We recommend that you start your journey in the morning after resting in the hotel. You have to get a Yatra Parchi or Entry Pass entry for the journey which is absolutely free. This Yatra Parchi gets from at Parchi Counter near Fountain Chowk, for which you have to take a Yatra Parchi by standing in a queue. This ticket contains a unique number that has to be submitted while entering into the main gate of Bhavan. You can also get this Yatra Parchi online.
You have to keep Yatra Parchi with yourself to show it at different checkpoints like Banganga check post and Parchi Counter Bhawan.
Ponies, palanquin and helicopter services are available here to take devotee to the top. The whole way has a lot of shops selling snacks, food items and religious goods.
We can divide the Vaishno Devi Temple’s journey into four parts.
Entry Gate or check post, Ardh Kuwari, Vaishno Devi Bhawan and Bhairon Valley. There are two ways to the Vaishno Devi Bhawan. One goes through Banganga and the other via Tarakot which is the new route. These two routes meet in Ardh Kuwari.
After getting the Yatra Parchi, you have to walk down about 1 km to reach the Banganga Gate. Banganga Gate is the major checkpoint. You can also take an autorickshaw to reach this point. There are separate lines for men and women.
Pilgrims show their dedication by chanting slogans and singing religious songs to pay devotion towards Mata Vaishno Devi, which gives them the strength to cover such a long journey. The views of the mountains are really astonishing and attract everyone. Sometimes half of the mountains are covered by the clouds and the time when it rains, the weather touches the soul. In the months of December and January, snowfall here adds up to the beauty of this holy place. Near Banganga, you will get facilities like Pony, Palki and Palanquin at the pre-paid Counter.
After crossing the entrance you first go to Banganga. Many devotees go to darshan after bathing. A lot of shops will be found on the way. You will also see many photo studios where you can click photos by paying a minimum of 30 to 40 rupees (May vary from shop to shop). If you want, you can also have a foot massage, which costs around 50 rupees for 15 minutes.
After covering a distance of about 2.5 km you will find Charan Paduka Temple. It is believed to be the place where Mata Vaishno Devi Temple halted to check if she was still being chased by Bhairon Nath. Mata Vaishno Devi came to a halt where one can still see her footprints on a rock slab. Pilgrims seek the blessings by touching the feet of Goddess Vaishnavi by touching her feet at this temple.
On the way you will also get an announcement system. These announcement systems help people if somebody lost in their groups.
You will find many shortcut routes which are drawn by stairs. We recommend you reduce the use of stairs as it is a very difficult route.
After covering a distance of about 6 km, Ardh Kuwari comes to the temple. The view from here all around is very pleasant and attractive. To visit Ardh Kuwari or Garbh-Joon Cave you have to take separate slip/Parchi which have to be taken from the Garbhjoon slip counter. You can also take a room to stay here if you want. You can also use a mini car for Bhawan which costs around 360 rupees from Ardh Kuwari. After Ardh Kuwari you will reach to Sanjhi Chhat. Where you can sit and relax for a while. The view here is very attractive. The helicopter facility is also available from Katra to Sanjhi Chhat. Afterward, you can only get horses and palanquin or you can walk.
Walking a little from the Sanjhi Chhat, you will see the Bhawan. Just before the Bhawan you will get a second check post. Devotees here take some snacks in order to take some rest.
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The devotees after bathing at the bathing ghat keep all their things in the locker. You have to keep everything in the locker like a mobile, belt, watch, Wallet camera, etc. After taking the prasad(Bhent), they line up for Darshan. You will found a large queue who is waiting for their turns to enter into the main Bhawan.
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The three goddesses are ensconced inside the sacred cave in the form of Pindies.
The Goddess Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi, and Maha Saraswati are ensconced inside the sacred cave in the form of Pindies. Devotees are blessed with the darshan of Goddess. After visiting, take your all things from the locker and if you want, you can also take a room and relax here. Restaurants are also available here. On the days of Navratri, the Bhawan is decorated with flowers that look very beautiful & attractive.
After visiting the Bhawan, devotees visit the Bhairon Valley. It is believed that the journey of Vaishno Mata is considered incomplete without a visit to Bhairon Valley. You can also get the facility of Cable Car to go to Bhairon Valley. If you want, you can book it by Cable Car Ticket Counter.
The ticket price from Bhawan to Bhairon Valley is Rs 100.
The view of Bhairon Valley is very beautiful. Tourists can enjoy the amazing view of the mountains from here. You can also enjoy the snowfall during the winter season.
Vaishno Devi is open to pilgrims throughout the year. The best time to visit Vaishno Devi Bhawan is from October to March. During Navratri, the Bhawan is decorated with flowers that look very beautiful. Your visit to Vaishno Devi during Navratras will be memorable.
Opening and Aarti Timings
Vaishno Devi Bhawan & Bhairon temple are always open for darshans except for Aarti time. Aarti performed twice in a day morning & evening before sunrise and after sunset. Aarti may take about 2 hours to complete.
- Must confirm the ticket of Garbh-Joon Cave some days before your journey.
- Heart patients are strongly advised to keep their medicines along with them. Although, there are various dispensaries on the way to the Bhawan
- No accessory made of leather ( wallet, belts, jackets, etc.) and the camera is not allowed inside the main Bhawan. You can keep your accessories safe in the locker room provided after bathing ghat.
- Take one blanket with yourself if you want to stay at night because the weather there at night becomes very cold.
- If possible, bring some food with yourself and eat before starting the journey, except for heavy food.
- You can also take langar arranged by a community kitchen which is free for everyone at the first checkpoint.
- The food in the restaurants is not suitable for everyone to bring some ready-made food with yourself.
- Beware of pickpockets.
- You can also take trekking sticks in order to walk comfortably.
- If possible, don’t prefer the stair-way while going upside. But you can choose this way while coming downside.
Katra market is famous for dry fruits. People move around in the market. Most people buy cashew, almonds & walnuts from here. These are available in different ranges at different prices according to their qualities. The market looks very beautiful at night due to lighting. You will found many hotels to stay here & restaurants for breakfast. You can buy keys chains and gift items from this market.
How to reach this beautiful and religious heaven
Jammu Tawi is the nearest airport to Katra and from there you can easily hire a taxi which will only take an hour to reach. Helicopter services are available to Sanjhi Chatt which is 5 km from holy Bhavan.
Regular bus services are available at affordable prices from major cities of India like Jammu Tawi, New Delhi, Amritsar and many more. You can also hire a taxi from Jammu Tawi to Vaishno Devi Temple. Katra Bus stand is just at the starting point where the journey to Holy cave begins.
Please Note: After finishing your journey in the night if you reached back to Katra if you wish to go back to your house or somewhere else then it would be very difficult to get a bus from Katra after 11:00 PM.
Katra railway station is the nearest railway station to holy Bhavan. It is only 1.5 km far away from Katra from where the journey has started. The best way to reach Vaishno Devi by train is the Shree Shakti train that starts from Delhi on Friday evening and returns on Sunday morning. Except for these regular train services to reach Jammu Tawi are available from almost every major city of India. Tourists can find accommodation near the railway station at reasonable prices.
The measure of the beauty of Vaishno Devi Temple cannot be expressed in words truly. The best experience can only felt by visiting it. But we tried a lot to give you ideas about this serene temple in Jammu and Kashmir. So guys do comment and share to support us. We promise to provide this type of information in the future.
Jai Mata Di…!!!!