Vaishno Devi Tourism

Vaishno Devi is famous for

Review and Ratings (118)

Read 118 destination reviews with average rating of 4.3/5, out of 1168 Vaishno Devi reviews
Naveen gupta

Naveen guptaratingratingratingratingrating5.0/5

2 reviewsPosted 11 months ago

Very good place to visit

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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Jai Sharma

Jai Sharmaratingratingratingratingrating5.0/5

2 reviewsPosted 3 years ago

An awesome experience at Vaishno Devi

What an experience! I am sharing the memories of our journey in the month of October 2014 during Navaratri time.

It is nothing less than Heavenly experience to visit Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in Jammu & Kashmir. It was an unforgettable journey in our lives. The train journey from Delhi to Jammu & journey by road to Katra ( Base camp at the foot hill was very pleasant. We had taken hotel in Katra to become fresh. There are very good hotels in Katra for short & long stays. We could plan our hotel stay through HolidayIQ. Com which is providing excellent services online. We started our climb by walk to Mata Sri Vaishno Devi in the evening by 5 pm. There are various modes of transport. Horse ride, Doli for aged persons & helicopter services from Katra to the top of the hill.

We reached the top of the hill shrine in the night by 9 pm as we were tired we stayed in the guest rooms ( provided by Mata Sri Vaishnav Devi Shrine Board, which we booked online). We had darshan of Devi early in the morning which was a thrilling & divine experience.

We climbed down the hill in the evening. We made ourselves comfortable in the hotel room & proceeded for Jammu by taxi for our onward journey to Delhi by train.

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I am heading to Vaishno Devi

Vaishno Devi Overview

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.