Vaishno Devi travel guide is our endeavor to provide you with detailed travel information on Vaishno Devi
The Journey to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine is one of the holiest and the most arduous pilgrimages for Hindus all over the world.
The shrine is situated at an altitude of 5,300 feet. The pilgrimage route is about 14 kilometers from the main town of Katra. The trek is not an easy one as the hill slopes are steep and require a lot of stamina and fitness if one decides to do it on foot.
There is a common belief that Mata Vaishno Devi grants wishes to those who seek her blessings, from young to old, everyone undertakes this wonderful but arduous, Yatra (pilgrimage journey)
The Yatra begins at Katra and pilgrims have to cover 14 km. of terrain on foot to reach the Darbar. Vaishno Devi is all about Mata Vaishno Devi Pilgrimage and the entire town of Katra is dedicated to this main event
One kilometer away from Katra, you will reach Ban Ganga, place where Mata quenched her thirst and at 6 km, the holy cave at Ardh Kuwari. Yatris are advised to obtain a Yatra Slip from the Yatra Registration Counter at the Tourism Reception Centre, Katra Bus Stand. You need a Yatra Slip, to cross Ban Ganga check post.
The Yatra Slip is absolutely free but is necessary to commence the Yatra. You can obtain caps, canvas shoes, sticks, etc. on hire for the Yatra. Pithus (people who carry weight on their backs) can be hired for carrying your luggage. A medical check-up is also available at the point.
Mata Vaishno Devi Pilgrimage
The entire 13 km route is adequately wide and tiled (see picture above). Besides, the whole path is lit up by powerful sodium vapor lamps during nights.The whole route is swept and cleaned from time to time throughout the day. Shelter cum sheds and shelter cum cafeterias are set up throughout the route.
Pure vegetarian food is available at these outlets. Price charts are exhibited at all these outlets prominently. Drinking water has been made available all along the route, with water coolers and storage facilities. Public utilities with automatic flushing systems along the track and at the Bhawan have been facilitated.
After 6 km. of trekking, you will reach Ardh Kuwari, the holy cave where Mata meditated for nine months. After 9.5 km., you will reach Sanji Chhat where you can rest for some time. Accommodation is also available at this place. Bhawan is just 3.5 km. away.
On reaching Bhawan, show your Yatra Slip at the Registration Office and obtain the Batch no. provided on the slip. This number is important as it will determine your place in the queue for darshan.
On reaching Bhawan, have a bath and change your clothes. Be sure to get your luggage and leather items booked in the cloakrooms and obtain the receipt. Book the valuables separately and obtain the receipt. You can also get blankets on refundable deposits for Rs.100/Blanket. Buy Prasad, Chunri, and Coconuts from the shops situated at the entrance of the Bhawan.
How to reach
Through air: Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport is located in Varanasi. It is nearly 22 KM from the city center.
By rail: Jammu’s civil airport at Ranibagh is 9 km from the city center. Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Indian Airlines, runs flights to and from Delhi, Srinagar, and Leh.
By road: Direct buses ply to Delhi everyday. The distance from Delhi is 630KM
Best time to visit: The pilgrimage (Yatra) and the route remains open throughout the year. The most popular time to undertake the journey is during the festive and auspicious time of the Navratras.
Things to do: Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrimage