Vaishno Devi Tourism
Pilgrimage

Vaishno Devi Tourism

Vaishno Devi Info

  • State: Jammu & Kashmir
  • Famous for/as: Pilgrimage
  • Altitude: 1700 m
  • Pincode: 182301
  • District: Udhampur
  • Language: Dogri,Urdu
  • STD code: 01991
  • Weather: Summer 5 to 40°C, Winter -14 to 24°C
One of the most visited pilgrimage destinations in the country and a revered site for Hindus, Vaishno Devi is located in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. The hills of Vaishno Devi are home to the famous Mata Vaishno Devi Temple, and the nearest town is Katra.

Located at an altitude of 5200 feet above sea level and at a distance of approximately 14 kilometres from Katra, this is the second most visited religious site in the country. More than eight million devotees visit the temple every year.

The Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi which is a narrow hilly cave is in a part of the lower Himalayas called Tirkuta Hills. The shrine contains images of three deities – Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati who are all reincarnations of Goddess Durga. The Mata Vaishno Devi Temple is acknowledged as one of the Shakti Peeths of Goddess Durga.

To visit the shrine one has to trek up the mountains. The original cave is quite narrow and takes time to reach the Sanctum Sanctorum. A new tunnel has been constructed, which is 200 metres long to facilitate the large influx of pilgrims visiting the destination for Darshan. However, the original cave is open for devotees during the lean season, traditional festivals or ritualistic occasions.

With so many visitors all round the year; Vaishno Devi is very well connected. The nearest airport is the Jammu Airport which has regular and frequent flights from all major domestic airlines.

Earlier, a visit to Vaishno Devi was done on foot and devotees walked to the caves of Mata Vaishno Devi at a distance of 61 km from Jammu which was quite strenuous. Even now, many devotees prefer to walk, although carts and horses are also available to carry visitors to the mountains. Helicopter services are available which shuttle devotees to the shrine on a daily basis.

Due to its high altitude, the weather in Vaishno Devi is quite cold and during winter the temperature goes down below 0° Celsius. It is best to avoid travelling to Vaishno Devi during the winter and rainy seasons. The best time to visit the site is during the summer season and when there is no rainfall.

Apart from the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi, there are also quite a few other pilgrimage sites on the way, like the Bhumika Temple, Kalika Temple, Shiva Goompha, and Ban Ganga Temple with the spring of the holy river Ban Ganga.


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Vaishno Devi Traveller Reviews

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Naveen gupta

  • Tourist
  • Naveen gupta
  • Lives in Faridabad
  • 2 Reviews
  •  70 readers

"Very good place to visit" new review

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted 2 weeks ago
It's well said aap bulandi"

Mata darshan was planned several time but not working out due to busy college schedule of my both sons who currently study in IIT Kanpur and IIT Delhi. Finally, we were all set to go for vaishno devi with Well and itinerary.

Due to our sons' schedule, we planned it for Dec 3rd week. The credit goes to my wife who put her sincere effort, time to obtain the information and plan all this. As per our research on internet and having a view on statistical data on. Maavaishnodevi. Org/ website, it was observed that there will be huge rush at this time. Having no other alternative we go ahead with that and booked our train ticket accordingly. The train we booked was "Uttar Sampark Kranti Express" which takes approx. 12 hours from New Delhi to Katra.

The planning started with booking online yatra slip on. Org/. Here you will need to register yourself and then you can start booking rooms, yatra slip, helicopter etc. Online Yatra slip is free of cost and benefits a lot. Having this, you need not to be in queue (which can be very long during heavy rush) which saves a lot of time of individuals of-course. Online Yatra slip can be booked only 2 months in advance and totally depends on availability. There is a constraint on number of people in a day. Alternatively, offline Yatra slip can be obtained from various places like Katra bus stand, Niharika guest house etc. Many hotel agents also help to obtain this.

As per train schedule, we reached Katra station at 9:00 am. Katra railway station is really awesome. It took us approx. 15 minutes to get out of station to auto stand due to heavy rush at station. On station there are number of traveler/hotel agents who follow you and ask to get a room. You can get a good bargain if you had not already booked one. We entertain any of the agents as we have already booked our room in Ardh Kumari - Shailputri bhawan and Katra - Niharika.

As planned, we directly moved from Katra railway station to Banganga. This the main place from where your trekking starts to bhawan. Your yatra-slip is verified over here and scanned for record. As we were having luggage with us, we were expecting cloak rooms near banganga but we find any. Anyway, we crossed banganga check post with all our luggage with us. As soons as you cross check post, there are plenty private cloak rooms. Many shopkeepers also provide this facility and honest enough. We deposited some of our luggage with a private cloak room and get a receipt for the same.

So our yatra starts from here at 10:00 AM.

Jai kara e sherawali da, bol saache darbar ki jai.

From here trekking starts which is approx. 13 km to bhawan. Due to cold weather, we had put a lot of winter clothes and also some extra in our bags with us. There we booked a porter to carry our bags. They are having proper registration number. We clicked a photograph of porter along with his ICard and proceeded on foot.

[Me with my Pitthoo]

Up to to Ardhkuwari, it was wonderful and we reached there in 2 hours. My wife was keenly interested to have a darshan for Ardhkuwari gufa irrespective of how much time it was going to take. So as soon as we reached Ardhkuwari, we took the sequence number. Would like to remind, here you will need your Yatra slip for obtaining the Ardhkuwari sequence number. Our seq number was 63 and at that time it was group 42 which was waiting for turn. As per our estimation, it was going to take atleast 2-3 hours. We had some snacks/Tea at Shrine board bhojnalya (having controlled price and everything you will get on.

As we had already booked our room in Shailputri bharwan at Ardhkuwari, we proceeded to our room and refreshed ourselves. Again checked the group number, it was 45, we thought twice and proceeded to bhawan. We had already dropped some of our luggage in cloak room there and continued with lesser luggage with us.

Just before Ardhkumari, there are 2 ways to bhawan.

1st one is traditional way and via Hathi mattha and distance is approx. 6. 5 km to bhawan. On this way there are a lot of ponies (Ghoda) but you will find many shops along the way.

2nd one is new way and via HimKoti and distance is approx. 5. This way is new and is cleaner and ponies are not allowed here and you hardly get any shop on this way.

From Ardhkuwari, there is a tunnel which carries you to himkoti way to start your trekking via that way at 2:00 PM.

Anyway, we took the himkoti way and started our journey. We were at bhawan at 5 PM. There again your yatra slip is checked and verified. At the same time you will get group number as well. We were expecting a huge rush, but there was not any rush at all. We were not even given the group number. I enquired the person, what is our group number. He told us, group number is not required, just go and have darshan. I was not convinced, I asked him again " bhai group number to the do". He stared at me and said main nahin aata kya, khali pada hai, group number ki jaroorat nahin hai, jao aur darshan kar lo".

I was elated and whispered Mata Di".

Now the next task was to submit our luggage, belt and shoes to locker. Before that we took our Prasad from the Shop" which you will get at your left side when you enter the complex. Prasad is at fixed price and no bargain or negotiation is required here.

"Just opposite to Shop", there is cloak room 1. This is less crowded but a little far from bhawan. Due to less crowd, we preferred that and deposited all our luggage, belt and shoes in that cloak room. You will need to show your yatra slip over here to obtain cloak room. Another 2 cloak rooms (2 and 3) are near bhawan but are overcrowded. There is not much distance between cloak room 1 and 2 & 3.

We started for main bhawan having only Prasad with us. Your coconut will be exchanged with token on the way. Keep this token with you.

There the queue was not much and hardly 20-25 people were there in queue. With-in no time, we were in divine gufa in front of maa vaishno devi.

While inside the cave, you will have darshan of mother goddess in three pindi forms - Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi (Vaishno) and Maha Saraswati. It was a divine moment and cannot be expressed in words.

On exit, holy water coming from the mata's feet can be collected which is coming out of stone mouth. On the way, we were provided Nariyal back exchanged with token. After that, you will be given Prasad (mishri) and Mata's khazana in paper pouches. So, we had done Mata darshan very peacefully and were very happy. It was approx. At 05:45 PM at that time.

It is believed that the Yatra is not considered complete without having a darshan of Bhairon after Mata's darshan. Bhairon mandir is 2. 5 km. From Bhavan and is quite steep. We collected all our luggage from cloak room. Before proceeding to Bhairon, we went to Shrine's bhojnalya and had good eatables like Chips, tea, Biscuits and Rajma Charla. Now we were full and ready to proceed for Bhairon baba darshan.

There you will get ponies to bhairon. Due to steep trekking, many people prefer these. The rates are almost fixed. Just do not forget to obtain Icard and Registration number after booking the pony. We hired one for my wife. Me and my 2 sons started on foot only. We were there at bhairon mandir at 6:00 PM. No rush was there so it hardly took us 10 minutes for darshan. Thanks GOD, we reached before 07:00 PM as Mandir is closed during 07:00 PM to 09:00 PM for Articulating etc.

After bhairav darshan, we took some rest and had some eatables and refreshed ourselves. We were free by 06:30 PM. Now, our next target was to go to Ardhkuwari and have darshan over there. We again proceeded to Ardhkuwari at 07:00 PM. It was very cold by that time and we had put on some more clothes.

We reached at Ardhkuwari mandir by 09:00 PM. There we checked the sequence. Our number was gone so we had to take another sequence which was 142. We were still having the old sequence number (63) parchi with us. The current group number was 115 at that time. We were all tired and hungry. We put all our luggage to our room (already booked) and went to Shrine bhojnalya. Rush was there but it was manageable. We had complete dinner and decided to wait for our turn. We enquired from authorities, when can we expect our turn. They told that 142 sequence number can be expected at 2:00 in night. Having no other alternative, we waited in front of mandir for our turn. It was not more than 10 minutes, we found that authorities were calling all group whose sequence has been passed and sequence number is less than 100. Our old sequence was 63 and we were still having the old parchi as well.

So it was like saanche darbar ki, jai".

We entered the complex. There the queue was long and it took time everyone to pass through holy cave as the cave is very narrow. We were all done by at 11PM and were out of Ardhkuwari gufa. We had some snacks and tea over there while returning to our room. We slept peacefully overnight and woke up refreshed.

It was 05:30 AM, we had some snacks and tea etc, over there. By 06:00 AM, we were ready for our downward journey to banganga. This time we took stairs through-out our way and reached Banganga by 08:00 AM. From there we collected our luggage from cloak room and proceeded to Katra bus stand. It was 08:30 AM by that time.

We proceeded to ShivKhori from there. Shiv Khori is surrounded by green luscious mountains and is at a tracking distance of 3. 5 kms. It is about 140 kms from Jammu and less than 80 kms from Katra. On the way we had our lunch at dhaba. It took approx. 3 hours to get there. Reaching there, you will again need to obtain Yatra parchi for each individual. 10-15 minutes to obtain the yatra slip. Ponies are also available there. We took ponies for the up-way and had darshan of Shiv Lingam over there. We started our back journey on foot and were back by 04:30 PM. We reached at our hotel at Katra by 08:00 PM.

Now, our next and big target was to have dinner. We had already collected information from internet for good eating joints in Katra. Dhaba is very famous and situated in kartra main market. We reached there but it was not easy to take seat over there. We were in waiting and seats were allocated depending upon how many members were there in group. We were 4 members, waiting for approx. 10-15 minutes, we were allocated tables. The dinner satisfied our taste buds. On the way back, we had some tea and snacks again in our Niharika hotel and headed towards our room. Room was 4 bedded AC, very clean and spacious. In all manner it was very good and satisfying. We had a good sleep over night.

Next morning, we were all refreshed and went to see local market. Before starting, once again we had our breakfast at Manoranjan dhaba. If you are planning to buy Walnuts, you need to be very careful about quality. Getting good quality walnuts over there is a challenge in itself if you are not extra careful. You will end up spending handsome money but get less satisfying quality. In Katra main market, there is shop called shop". The shop is very big and having many items which the pilgrims want to buy. The price was fixed and quality was good. We did almost all our shopping from that shop. No bargain, fixed price shop J

In the evening, we had our train scheduled at 07:00 PM. Before moving to station, we had our lunch at Ratna" in Katra main market. We boarded the train at scheduled time and reached New Delhi almost in time.

Key points to Note:

1. Book online yatra parchi in advance.

2. Get stamped your yatra parchi for sure (if Offline)

3. If want to book rooms at bhawan, you need to be very quick and a good internet connection is required. Booking start exactly 2 months in advance at 12:00 sharp

4. Do not take stairs while going up if you are not regular walker and very fit physically. It puts a lot of pressure on your knees.

5. Have plenty of water during the way.

6. Keep as less luggage as possible during the way.

7. During winter weather have complete arrangements of garments.

8. No need to carry eatables on the way, there a plenty of options.

9. Beware of monkeys. If you are having white polythene with you or any other eatable, they will surely snatch it.

10. Shops on the way charges almost double. At Shrine bhojnalya, you will get quality items and at MRP.

11. Do bhairon baba darshan after mata darshan.

12. Keep your patience.

13. Keep your body language, language and thoughts clean.

14. Only thing which is allowed at bhawan is Prasad and cash, no leather items.

Jai Mata Di.
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Kushal Sharma

  • Scout
  • Kushal Sharma
  • Lives in New Delhi
  • 31 photos
  • 9 Reviews
  •  2 helpful votes
  •  3045 readers

"Rekigious tour"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted 2 months ago
I go to Vaishno devi every year. The best way to reach the Vaishno Devi is by Train, the best Trains are Jammutawi Duronto Express, Ajmer Jammtwai Express and Uttarsampark kranti express. Above these three Durnoto is best it will arrive at Jammu at 7'o clock in the morning from Jammu one can have bus or local passenger train to Shri mata vaishno devi Katra station. I would prefer to go via bus as new highways has been opened and it will give you beautiful view.
The experience after reaching at there is very much good, The view of the mountain is magnificent whether it is day or night.
The best weather months to reach out here is from December to January once can simply have Darshan of Ardhkuvari Cave easily as there is less crowd. And I would recommend you to go to bhawan via old route which is Hathi matha rasta. The Hathi matha rasta gives a magnificent view though it is steep.
After the darshan must visit Shiv khori and patni top as they are very much near and beutiful place too.
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Ankush Kumar

  • Tourist
  • Ankush Kumar
  • Lives in Sikandra Rao
  • 2 Reviews
  •  1 helpful vote
  •  646 readers

"Devine"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted 3 months ago
We visited this place end September. Helicopter cancelled because of weather. We took pony at 5. 45 am and reached bhawan by 8. 45 including half an HR break for pony. Maa vaishno ka jab bulava aata Hai tabhi Jana hota hai
It is said to be able to get the chance to go to vaishno Devi darshan when you are called by maa vaishno Devi.
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Jagdish Raval

  • Guru
  • Jagdish Raval
  • Lives in Ahmedabad
  • 454 photos
  • 380 Reviews
  •  88 helpful votes
  •  147806 readers

"Well-known Hindu pilgrim centre of India"

  • 5.5/7
  • Posted Jul 13, 2016
Mata Vaishno Devi is a well-known Hindu pilgrim centre of India in Jammu and kashmir. More than 10 million pilgrims visit every year. From base camp at Katara, you have to walk 14 km. One can hire a horse or dolly. One can go by Helicopter also. We went there by Helicopter. We have purchased return ticket Online before 1 month. We have also hired a Dolly from Helipad to Vaishno Devi Temple which

Distance is almost 4 km. We were so much pleased and feeling blessed by having darshan of Goddess Vaishnavi. There is special vip line for passenger of Helicopter. A nice and memorable religious Tour with my wife. Do visit once in a life.
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Srijan Srivastava

  • Explorer
  • Srijan Srivastava
  • Lives in Lucknow
  • 25 photos
  • 102 Reviews
  •  23 helpful votes
  •  33002 readers

"Very nice place to visit"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted Jul 12, 2016
I visited Vaishno Devi in november with some of my friends. We reached Jammu by train from Ambala to Jammu. We took a bus from Jammu to Katra and slowly the temperature of the place started getting down as the bus was moving forward. The mountains were so beautiful when we reached Katra. We booked a hotel there in Katra. The food in Katra was okay. The price of the food was expensive a bit. To reach Vaishno Devi we registered ourself for the entrance and after 4-5 hours of continuous travel we reached Vaishno Devi. The overall experience was very good and we returned same day till evening. My legs were paining because of such a long travel. I got foot massage in the market. We enjoyed a lot during our journey.

I have been once in Katra for Darshan of Maa Vaishno Devi, After reaching to Katra by bus from Jammu, agents from different hotels tried me to insist to go for the hotel they want. I have been new to the place so became agree to one of them and he have been once in Katra for Darshan of Maa Vaishno Devi, I have been new to the place so became agree to one of them and he promised for 24 hrs water neat and clean rooms and enough space for 4 persons. Before taking me to room he got deposited token money and when I went into the room it was very small and also only two small beds were there, but I thought we have to stay for one night so will manage with that. The things got worse. When after taking Bath by person the water was finished and we had to manage some how using mineral water bottles which I purchased from nearby shop. It was very bad experience about the booking but we did not have any option as we had our train next to next day from Jammu and could not go and search for another hotel/room. We had Darshan without any other obstacles  and got helped by some unknown persons for the Darshan tickets to what we had missed to take before starting the Journey to temple. I would just like to say first visit the room they want to offer you then only pay the token money.
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Shvetang Gupta

  • Tourist
  • Shvetang Gupta
  • 18 photos
  • 18 Reviews
  •  6 helpful votes
  •  8923 readers

"Jai Mata Di"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted Jul 6, 2016
A spiritual and religious place where every wants to go. Really a good experience. I reached Katra in morning time and I planned to take some fresh up after a long journey. I was with my family so I decided to start in evening due to hot weather in may month. We started at 6 PM and reached 2 AM in the Bhawan and at 4 AM morning I got blessed to Mata Vaishno Devi. After we go to Bhairav baba mandir. After the darshan we came back Katra and relaxed in a hotel. The food in Katra is cheap and good. Manoranjan dhaba is good place to eat in Katra a tasty food specially Dal Makhani wow superb taste. In karta every thing is in walkable distance. If you have baby don't forget to take milk because in Katra only packed milk is available easily and not even good for baby so take dry milk powder so that baby couldn't get hungry.
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  • 2 votes

Razz Meena

  • Explorer
  • Razz Meena
  • Lives in Delhi
  • 13 photos
  • 13 Reviews
  •  11 helpful votes
  •  10593 readers

"Religious visit"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted Jun 18, 2016
I use to go so many times at holy Vaishno Devi Mata Rani... I feel so relax when reach to the temple... Journey to Bhawan is quite difficult but Mata Rani make it easily. Shrine board of Vaishno Devi is great... They make our journey comfortable... Hope Mata call us soon again... Want to be their every year or twice a year...
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Saurabh Kakkar

  • Tourist
  • Saurabh Kakkar
  • Lives in Noida
  • 3 Reviews
  •  1 helpful vote
  •  2654 readers

"Surreal environment for first time visitors"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted May 14, 2016
Awesome place, all facilities available at very economical prices. Having food at Manoranjan restaurant is a must. The place is full of religious places and religious people which creates a surreal environment for the people going for first time. You can opt for palki or even helicopter service for convenience or you can enjoy the trekking. The path is full of restaurants serving awesome food, specially tandoori aloo paratha. The place is well connected by road, railway and air.
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  • 1 vote

Vsk Madhavi

  • Tourist
  • Vsk Madhavi
  • Lives in Hyderabad
  • 14 Reviews
  •  2 helpful votes
  •  6471 readers

"A religious place to visit"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted Apr 18, 2016
Planning to vaishno devi require a lot of courage and must admit that the vaishno devi darshan by walk is not a easy get through. I would like to add that if devi has given you good health please take the vaishno journey by walk. It gives us immense satisfaction after the devi darshan that we covered the whole journey by walking.

The jktdc hotel in katra is the best stay we had with the very good hosting by the jktdc staff. Very cooperative staff and the food was lip smacking.

While journey towards vaishno devi you should also have the much talked about rajma chawal of Kashmir. The best rajma chawal you can have anywhere.

It's advised for a night stay in katra after the darshan of vaishno devi since the body doesn't support for any more journey. Any other journey can be planned only on the next day of darshan.
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C.s. manish Dasgupta

  • Explorer
  • C.s. manish Dasgupta
  • Lives in Kolkata
  • 43 photos
  • 96 Reviews
  •  132 helpful votes
  •  57701 readers

"Good place for nature and god lover"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted Apr 12, 2016
Jai Mata Di. We all are the children of Mata. For the past 3 years I am starting my new year with mata's darshan. If you enjoy trekking then this is a destination. If you are God lover this is a destination. If you are nature lover this is beauty. Friends it's my suggestion to start as early as possible so that you can get down by evening. It's around 13 km each way. If you have problem in walking on steep roads take helicopter service for approx 1400 per head one way (affordable).
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