About Mata Vaishno Devi Temple
Katra is situated in the Reasi district in Jammu & Kashmir. It is popularly known for the Mata Vaishno Devi temple Journey. Each year many people visit this place and take blessings of Mata Vaishno Devi. Katra serves as a basecamp for all the pilgrims and from there they start their journey to the temple. It is around a 12 km journey.
How to reach Temple
We can reach Katra via Train, Road and Air. The nearest airport to Katra is Jammu airport which is 50 km far from Katra. Katra has its own railway station which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Shri Narender Modi on 4th July 2014. NH-144 highway also passes through Katra with the help of which we can reach there by road. So Katra is connected by all the transport mediums.
Best time to visit Temple
You can visit Katra at any time but the best time to visit Katra is between November to April. Because in this season many people visit this place and climate conditions are also favorable.
How to Register For Mata Vaishno Devi temple Journey
Before starting the temple journey, it is necessary to register yourself on Yatra Registration Counter (YRC) which is located at Katra Bus Stand. This registration is done by Shrine Board which is free of cost. This registration is a kind of insurance for accidental causalities during the journey.
After registration, each pilgrim is issued with a journey slip which is mandatory to show at BanGanga check post which is around 1.5 km away from YRC. This journey slip is valid only for 6 hours i.e you need to cross the first checkpoint which is BanGanga within 6 hours of the issue of this slip.
Journey to Mata Vaishno Devi temple
After the registration, your journey starts from Katra basecamp. It is around 12 km long journey. All the facilities like food, medical are available during this journey. You can cover it by walking or by hiring the horses/ponies or Palkis etc. The cost of horse riding is around Rs. 1300/- for single side. You can also choose Helicopter option for your journey which costs around Rs. 1800/- for single side. But it will drop you till Sanjhichhat which is 2 km away from Mata Vaishno Devi temple. For convenience, you must book the helicopter online before 15-30 days before the journey.
There are many awesome locations like Banganga, Charan Paduka, Adhkuwari, Himkoti, Sanjhichhat, Bhairon Ghati and many more to explore in this journey. Banganga is first check post where most pilgrims prefer to take a bath before proceeding to their journey. It is believed that Mata Vaishno Devi created this Banganga river from her arrow. The second location is Charan Paduka temple. It is believed that Mata Vaishno Devi’s footprints got engraved and imprinted there. So, pilgrims take blessings there by touching Mata Vaishno Devi’s feet.
The midway of this journey is Adhkuwari which is 6 km away from temple. It is believed that Mata Vaishnavi did worship of Lord Shiva for 9 months. It is a womb-like cave where all the pilgrims pass through it by crawling or walking and clean their sins. The next location is Himkoti which offers a beautiful scenic view of mountains and valleys. You can get packed or cooked food from the restaurants here. The next location is Sanjhichhat which has a helipad for helicopter landing. It is around 2 km away from the temple. The next is Bhairon Ghati. It is believed that for the full blessings of Mata Vaishno Devi, all pilgrims must visit this Bhairon temple on their return journey.
The ultimate and final location is Mata Vaishno Devi temple. After reaching the temple queue starts from the gate and it takes around 1-2 hours in a queue to reach Mathttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaishno_Devi#Templea Vaishno Devi cave. There are three holy Pindies in this cave which represent Mata in three forms Maha Lakshmi, Maha Kali, and Maha Saraswati. All the pilgrims feel energetic and blissful after a glimpse of Mata Vaishno Devi. After this you can book a cab for Bhairon Baba temple which is 2 km far from temple. You can also travel this distance by walking or by cable car which costs Rs. 100/- for two side.
Things to carry for Mata Vaishno Devi temple journey
If you are traveling during the rainy season, you must carry a rain suit and if you are traveling during winter, you must carry heavy woolen clothes with you. It is highly recommended that you should wear comfortable shoes for climbing.
If you have any queries or questions, do share them in the comment section.