Shri Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra near Jammu is one of the most sacred sites in India.
A pilgrimage to this holy shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi is considered to be one of the most holiest pilgrimages.
Mata Vaishno Devi resides in a holy cave located in the folds of the three peaked mountain named Trikuta (pronounced as Trikoot).
The holy Cave attracts millions of devotees every year.
The journey to the holy Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi starts with the call of mata.
It is strongly believed that unless there is a call or bulawa from mata, no one can visit the shrine or have her blessings.
How To Reach Mata Vaishno Devi:
For reaching Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, first you need to reach Katra.
– Nearest Airport – Jammu (46 kms away from Katra).
– Nearest Railway Station – Katra (Recommended Route).
– Private & Govt Buses – You will also get direct buses from Delhi or Jammu upto Katra.
From Katra to reach Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, you can either walk, take a horse, pony, palkhi or a helicopter.
Katra helipad is 2.5 kms away from Katra Bus Stand. The helicopter will drop you till sanjhichat, from sanjhichat to reach Bhawan the distance is of 2.5 kms and can be reached only by walk or a palkhi, pony or horse.
Operational timings for helicopter are 6.15 am to 7.15 pm (Timings are subjected to change).
Online Booking for helicopter starts 60 days prior to current date and can be booked until 4 days prior to the current date.
You can also avail the services of tatkal booking of helicopter, which happens only at the helipad counter in Katra & Sanjhichat, and can be booked on your travel date.
One way fare from Katra to Sanjichhat or Sanjichhat to Katra (Fare Rs.1730/-) per passenger and Katra-Sanjichhat-Katra (Fare Rs.3460/-) per passenger.
Any other information regarding helicopter bookings are given on the below website:
The distance of reaching Mata Vaishno Devi Temple from Katra is 15 kms one way trek.
There are 4 major points which you will hear often on your way to reach Mata Vaishno Devi Temple:
1. Banganga – Starting point of your 15 kms trek, all horses, palki and pony are available from here.
2. Bhawan – 0.5 kms before Mata Vaishno Devi Temple, all horses, palki and pony will drop you here.
From here to reach Vaishno Devi Temple, the distance of 0.5 km you have to cover by walk only.
3. Ardhkuwari Mata Mandir – From Banganga the distance to reach Ardhkuwari Mata Mandir is 5-6 kms.
4. Sanji Chat – Helipad where helicopter will drop you if you’re coming from Katra by Helicopter, the distance from helipad to Vaishno Devi Temple is 2.5 kms.
Stay & Food Options:
You will find many budget private hotels in Katra for your stay.
You can also look for Shrine Board Accomodation booking on the below link:
You will get many Bhojanalayas in Katra, and also along the trek route from Banganga checkpost until Ardhkuwari.
Once you cross Ardhkuwari Mata Mandir, the frequency of these Bhojanalayas will be become lesser.
Best Time To Visit Vaishno Devi:
Darshans are open round the clock throughout the year.
Local Modes of Transportation:
You will get many Auto’s on individual or sharing basis just outside the railway station or bus stand to reach Banganga, which is the starting point of the 15 kms trek to reach Mata Vaishno Devi Temple or Katra Helipad.
You will get all these facilities at the given points along the trek route at Bhawan, Sanjhichat, Ardhkuwari, Banganga.
Police Station, Cloak Room, Bhojanalaya, Post Office, Medical Facilities, Lockers, ATM, Accomodation, Toilets
Hospitals are available along trek route located in Banganga, Charan Paduka, Ardhkuwari, Himkoti, Sanjhichat, Bhawan.
Bhairon Baba Temple:
There is an old saying that your visit to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi is incomplete without a visit to Bhairon Baba Temple.
The distance by walk is approximately 2 kms from Bhawan, but due to high altitude and steep climb, it seems quite difficult.
Now there is a direct ropeway facility from Bhawan upto Bhairon Baba Temple and return upto Bhawan.
Note: The services of the ropeway are operational only during the day time.
Ropeway Charges: Adult Rs.100 per person (From Bhawan & Return), Child: Free.
Time Taken in Ropeway (One Way): 3 Minutes.
Prasad & Offerings:
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has its own no profit no loss shops at Bhawan known as Bhaint Shops where Prashad/Bhaints offerings are available at a fair price.
Temple Opening & Closing Hours:
Darshans are open round the clock throughout the year.
All prepaid SIM’s purchased outside Jammu & Kashmir won’t work in Jammu / Katra.
Only Postpaid connections purchased outside Jammu & Kashmir work in Jammu / Katra.
Jio, BSNL and Airtel works best in Katra & Vaishno Devi.
You can also purchase a Yatri Prepaid SIM after reaching Jammu / Katra.
Yatra Registration / Yatra Parchi:
Yatra registration card is mandatory for all travellers who wish to travel to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Temple.
You will find many yatra registration counters at Katra Bus Stand, Katra Railway Station through which you can obtain your yatra parchi.
Please do note that yatra parchi needs to be carried throughout your journey from Katra to Vaishno Devi Temple and should be kept safely.
You are required to cross the first check post located at Banganga within 6 hours of the issue of your yatra parchi slip, failing which you will be required to take a new yatra parchi again.
Online booking of yatra parchi is also available, please do take a printout of the Yatra Parchi before reaching the Banganga check post.