Katra or Katra Vaishno Devi, as it widely known, is a small town in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir. The small city of Katra is situated at the foothills of the Trikuta Mountain, the abode of Vaishno Devi Mata. It serves as an excellent base camp for the pilgrims visiting the holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi, which is approachable on foot along a 13 km long trekking route. Katra is one of the popular tourist spots in India and millions of pilgrims from across the country throng the shrine to seek diving blessings of Mata Vaishno Devi, an incarnation of Goddess Shakti.
Katra (Vaishno Devi) can be visited in any season as it experiences pleasant weather throughout the year. Average temperature of summer season ranges from 5⁰ to 40⁰ and temperature of winter season ranges from -14⁰ to 24⁰.
ABOUT THE SHRINE OF MATA VAISHNO DEVI
The Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi is one of the ancient and revered religious places in India. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Vaishnavi, an incarnation of Shakti in the form of natural pindies. The three natural pindies are considers as the main idols, representing Goddess Kali, Saraswati and Lakshmi. Those Pindies symbolize destructive, creative and preservative characters of the mother goddess. Set atop the Trikuta Mountain, the temple is located at an altitude of meters (5300 feet). To pay a religious visit to Mata Vaishno Devi, devotees need to complete a hilly track of 13 km on foot. Nowadays, chopper services are also available from Katra to Sanjhi Chhat. Devotees can also hire, pony, palki services for the trek. Pithoo (person carries the luggage of the tourist) are available for hiring.
Vaishno Devi Tour
Darshani Darwaaza :
Yatra begins from Darshani Darwaza, the gateway to the shrine. According to legend, this is the place where Mata met Pandit Shridhar in the form of the young girl. From this place provides panoramic view of the Trikuta Mountain.
Ban Ganga is the first stop view point for the yatris on foot journey. Set on the bank of a small rivulet Ban Ganga at an elevation of 2700 feet, the view point offers beautiful natural ambiance. 1 km away from Katra, Ban Ganga is the place where devotee can take holy bath in the river and have free food (Langar/Parshad) run by T series Industries.
The ancient temple Charan Paduka is nearly 1 km away from Ban Ganga. It is the second stop view point for the yatris. As per mythological story, it is said that the Goddess stopped at this place and took rest while moving towards Trikuta Mountain.
Adhkuwari is the third stop enroute the shrine and is about 3 km away from Charanpaduka. The place marks the midpoint of the journey. Here, devotees can take rest and relax. They can also visit the Adhkuwari temple and cave where goddess meditates for 9 months.
Just after Adhkuwari, the fourth view point is Himkoti, it is 2.75 km away from Adhkuwari. There is no such religious legend associated with this place but it is known for its natural splendor. The place is the most beautiful place on the track and offers breathtaking view of the entire valley.
Sanjichhat is the last and highest point for the devotee on journey from Katra to the Shrine. Nestled on the lap of Trikuta Mountain at an altitude of 6200 feet, the place offers bird's eye view of the entire region including Katra, Udhampur, Reasi and Jammu.
Bhairon Temple is the place to visit after having the darshan of mata. It is believed that Darshan remains incomplete unless devotees pay a visit to this revered temple.
HOW TO REACH KATRA
State operated and private buses from Jammu (42 km/26 miles), Delhi (650 km/403 miles), Amritsar (251km/155 miles) and Patnitop (39 km/24 miles) ply to Katra on NH 1A and at Domeil, the road branches out to two sections, while the highway heads towards Srinagar and other one leads to Katra.
In Jammu, regular buses leave for Katra at every 10 minute interval between 5:30 a.m and 8:30 p.m. Private taxis are also available in Jammu for the journey.
The nearest railhead Jammu Tawi is well connected to all major cities in India like Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Chennai, Kolkata, etc.
THINGS TO DO
Pilgrimage tour to Mata Vaishno Devi