Revered as one of the most visited temples in India, Vaishno Devi Shrine is beautifully nestled atop the Trikuta Hills. Dedicated to Maa Vaishno Devi, a manifestation of Hindu Goddess Adi Shakti, the white shrine looks astounding amidst verdant environs. Mata Rani dwells here within a holy cave in the form of Pindies (rock formations). The three pindies are of Goddess Kali, Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi who collectively are known as Vaishno Devi.
Every year innumerable devotees embark on Vaishno Devi Yatra with full devotion. Although the sacred pilgrimage commands an arduous trek of 13 km plus 1.5 km (till Bhairon Ghati) yet that shakes the strong faith of the devotees. However, it is believed that Goddess herself calls pilgrims to the temple. Without ‘Mata Ka Bulawa’, you can’t pay a visit to the holy site. Nevertheless, the sanctum sanctorum remains thronged with tourists throughout the year as the Goddess is believed to grant all the wishes of the visitors.
Best Time to visit Vaishno Devi
Maa Vaishno Devi Yatra goes on throughout the year. However, a few things should be kept in mind while looking for the best time to plan Mata Vaishno Devi tour. Months of May and June, Navratras, usually falling in months of April and October and last week of December witness peak rush. Though winter months experience heavy snowfall but the season can be considered to plan your trip. Keeping aside the risk of landslides in a few areas, monsoon season can also be suited for the same.
How to reach Vaishno Devi?
Vaishno Devi is located in Katra which is easily accessible from the rest of the country.
Vaishno Devi By Flight
Jammu is the nearest airport to Katra. It lies at a distance of 49 km and from here, one can easily get a cab to Katra.
Vaishno Devi By Train
Devotees can now comfortably reach Katra by train. The town has got Katra Railway Station which lies 1.2 km away.
Vaishno Devi By Bus
Katra is well-connected with Jammu by road. Various busses ply from Jammu to Katra daily, thereby, helping devotees to reach their destination easily.
How to reach Vaishno Devi (Bhawan) from Katra
Vaishno Devi trek starts from Katra. The distance between Katra and the holy Bhawan is 13.0 km. There are various ways by which Yatris can reach the shrine easily.
- Helicopter service
Devotees planning Vaishno Devi Yatra by helicopter can avail the service from Katra. You can then fly to Sanji Chhat which is 3.5 away from the Bhawan. Hire a pony or horse from here, if you’re unable to trek.
Palkis are for the ease of senior-citizens and overweight devotees. Palanquin bearers carefully carry the pilgrims to the Bhawan in order to help them complete their sojourn easily.
Another way of traveling to Vaishno Devi Bhawan from Katra is by hiring a pony. The facility is a boon for the people who don’t feel comfortable while walking for long.
One can avail the facility of Pithoos who help to carry luggage or a baby from starting point to the holy cave.
In order to make the Yatra bereft of any hassle for the sick, infirm and handicap devotees, auto service was started. Also known as electric vehicles, these carry devotees from Adhkuwari to Bhawan.
Horses are also available to take you from Ban Ganga to the sacred Bhawan.
- On foot
Although involving a challenging trek, many of pilgrims still complete their Vaishno Devi Yatra on foot. Various halts en route take all the weariness away and make the devotees cherish a heavenly experience.
Travel from Vaishno Devi Bhawan to Bhairo (By Ropeway)
Recently a new service has been started and has become the center of attraction within no time. Pilgrims can now delight in a ropeway ride from Vaishno Devi Bhawan to Bhairav Baba Mandir. It is believed that the Yatra remains incomplete without visiting the shrine of Bhairav Baba. But, because of involving climbing a steep ascent, many pilgrims used to drop the idea to reach the temple. However, with the introduction of the ropeway facility, pilgrims can now complete their journey easily.
Vaishno Devi Yatra Registration counter
In order to start the Yatra, getting yourself registered at the Yatra registration counter is mandatory. Following a simple process, devotees get a Yatra Parchi which they have to show at Ban Ganga and near Bhawan. Pilgrims can apply for the Yatra parchi online as well. However, they have to carry a printout of the slip with them during the holy sojourn.