Popularly known as Trikuta, Mata Rani, and Vaishnavi; Mata Vaishno Devi is the manifestation of Goddess Durga. Shri Mata Vaishno Devi temple is a holy abode of Mata Rani and everyone wishes to visit the shrine once in a lifetime to seek blessings from the Maa Vaishno Devi. The spiritual Yatra of the holiest of holy shrines takes devotees to the sacred shrine of Mata Rani. With our Vaishno Devi travel guide, you will get detailed information about the shrine and holy Yatra.
Due to the unflinching faith of the devotees in Shri Mata Vaishno Devi temple, it is flocked by millions of pilgrims every year. This is among 108 Shakti Peetha. Mata Vaishno Devi resides in a holy cave located on the three-peaked mountain known as Trikuta Hills. Perched at an altitude of 5200 m above the sea level, the holy cave comprises three naturally formed rocks, known as Pindis. It is believed that Pindis is the manifestation of three Goddesses namely Maha Kali, Maha Saraswati, and Maha Lakshmi.
Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra is 12 km and devotees have to undertake a trek. They can reach the holy cave by the pedestrian way, hire a pony/palki, or avail of helicopter services. The tourists can visit the holy shrine throughout the year, however, the best time to visit Vaishno Devi is during Navratri and New Year when a huge celebration takes place. There are several places in Vaishno Devi and nearby the shrine where devotees can visit.
Whether you are a first-timer or you have already been to Vaishno Devi, this travel guide will help you to plan a hassle-trip to Mata Vaishno Devi.
Vaishno Devi Yatra Informations
- Yatra Registration
- Reach Bhawan from Katra
- Vaishno Devi Yatra By Helicopter
- Guidelines for Vaishno Devi Yatra
Yatra Registration Counter
The registration for Vaishno Devi Yatra is compulsory. Pilgrims who do not carry Yatra slip are not allowed to commence their journey. They have to present the slip at the entrance checking point of Yatra. The registration can be done by two modes – online and offline.
The online booking of Vaishno Devi Yatra is free. It can be done on the official website of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. After registration, take the printout of the Yatra Slip, and do not forget to carry it along with you.
Offline registration of the Yatra can be done from the registration counter. There is one available in the main market of Katra and one at the Katra railway station. If devotees are willing to start their Yatra from Tarakote Marg then they can register themselves at the starting point of Yatra. The registration can be done on the spot and embark on their holy sojourn.
How to reach Vaishno Devi Bhawan from Katra?
Devotees can travel to Maa Vaishno Devi Bhawan from Katra by two modes – by road and by air. They can trek, hire a pony/palki, catch an electric vehicle, and board a helicopter. Let’s see each in detail:
By Road (Holy track) –
By Pony/ Palki -
Pilgrims can hire a pony (horse) and palki (palanquin) from Darshani Darwaza, which is the starting point of the holy sojourn till Ardhkuwari or Bhawan. They can also take a night halt at Ardhkuwari, which is half-way of the holy Yatra, located at 6 km from the base.
Note: Pony and palanquins are available only on older route i.e. Ban Ganga – Charan Paduka – Ardhkuwari – Himkoti – Sanjichhat – Bhairon Ghati - Bhawan
By Trekking –
For devotees who wish to walk till Bhawan can choose from three paths –
- Route 1: Ban Ganga – Charan Paduka – Ardhkuwari – Himkoti – Sanjichhat – Bhairon Ghati – Bhawan
This is the oldest track, which starts from Darshani Darwaza and takes pilgrims through Ban Ganga, Charan Paduka, Ardhkuwari, Himkoti, and Sanjichhat.
- Route 2: Ban Ganga – Charan Paduka – Indraprastha Viewpoint - Bhawan
This is the second route, which also starts from Darshani Darwaza. It also covers Ban Ganga and Charan Paduka, however, the route diverts just below Ardhkuwari near Indraprastha viewpoint. This route is 500 m shorter than the old route. On this track, ponies are not allowed although palkis are permissible. This track is much wider and gentler than the older track.
- Route 3: Tarakote Marg
The third track is the newest, which starts from Tarakote. On this route, palki and ponies are not allowed. The comfortable gradient and sideway amenities make the holy sojourn easy. This track is also linked with the Banganga and Ardhkuwari, which took off near Gulshan Langar. There is a 1.5 km link route that provides devotees the choice among Banganga – Ardhkuwari route or the purely pedestrian Tarakote Marg.
Vaishno Devi Yatra By Helicopter –
Pilgrims can visit the holy shrine of Vaishno Devi Yatra by helicopter. They can board the helicopter from Katra and it will drop them at Sanjichhat, which is just 2.5 km from the holy cave. The helicopter booking can be done online on the Shrine Board’s official website. The advance booking can be done 60 days prior to the journey. It is compulsory for passengers to carry valid ID proof, address proof, and debit/credit card with which payment has been made. In the absence of any of the documents, boarding can be denied.
The tickets of the helicopter can be booked by offline mode as well. Katra to Sanjichhat helicopter ticket can be booked from the Current-heli ticket counter, where valid ID proof and travel documents of the passengers should be presented. Offline ticket booking is subject to the availability of seats.
From the website, the pilgrims can book one-way or two-way helicopter tickets from Katra and Sanjichhat. To and fro Vaishno Devi helicopter ticket is also considered as VIP Pass for Darshan. However, a one-way ticket from Katra-Sanjichhat or Sanjichhat-Katra is not considered as a VIP Pass.
Guidelines for Vaishno Devi Yatra
- The registration of Yatra is compulsory, which is free of cost. It can be done by two modes – online and offline. In case of online registration, don’t forget to carry a print out of the Yatra Access Slip.
- The offline registration can be done on the spot at the Yatra Registration Counter, which is available in Katra Main Market, Katra Railway Station, and at the entry point of Tarakote Marg.
- Pilgrims can hire pony/ horses and palki/ palanquins at the Darshani Darwaza.
- The information about the rates are available at the entry point, make sure to hire pony or palki as per the rates. Avoid paying anything above and over the fixed rates.
- The helicopter service is available for pilgrims and they can book the ticket through online and offline modes.
- It is advisable to book the helicopter in advance via online mode as chances of getting on the spot or offline ticket from the Current-heli ticket counter are very less.
- Offline ticket booking is subject to availability. Battery cars or electric vehicles are available from Ardhkuwari to Bhawan.
- One-way or two-way tickets can be booked through online and offline mode.
- Carry the print out of the ticket in case of online booking with the photo ID proof.
- Take a holy bath at the bathing ghat before heading towards the Bhawan for Darshan.
- It is highly recommendable to carry heavy woolen clothes during the winter season and light woolens in summers.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes during the Yatra. Carry required documents, tickets, and sufficient cash during the Yatra.
- For the convenience of the pilgrims, the information centers, refreshment kiosks, water coolers, and public utilities are available throughout the Yatra route. Also, medical stores, banks, bathing ghats, and accommodations available at the Bhawan.