Mata Vaishno Devi is a revered and one of the highly visited Hindu shrines in North India. Mata Vaishno Devi cave temple is situated at Trikuta Hills, Katra (J&K).

In this blog, I will talk about the place, modes of transport to reach there, facilities, registration process, and other useful information.

Modes to reach: There are several modes to reach the base of the shrine which is Katra town. Recently northern railways started train services till Katra. Previously the only way to reach Katra was by road. If you are coming by train, flight or bus, you need to get down at Jammu Railway station or Airport or Bus terminus. From all the three places, you can either get a cab or bus service till Katra. Please don’t hire cab before consulting the government cab rates. It might be possible that you end up paying a larger amount for one side where you could manage the whole trip. So, it is always advisable to consult the government fares before hiring or purchasing anything. From Jammu, if you are going to Katra in Bus, it will cost you max hundred rupees per head in the private bus, Fifty rupees max per head in government bus, and for a cab, you may have to pay up to three thousand rupees. You will reach Katra in just a maximum of three hours or maybe lesser from Jammu, depending upon the rush on the highway. Direct Buses from Delhi and other states also ply till Katra.

Registration Process: Before embarking on the yatra, you first need to get a permission slip also known as registration card or yatra slip from the counters at (Katra) base camp. A yatra slip is issued to a maximum of 9 people.

Wait !!!…………………


Don’t worry, if you are more than 9. You have to get another yatra slip on someone else name. But, make sure you are obtaining the slip at the actual time of yatra because this slip is being checked at Banganga check post. If you have spent more than 6 hours reaching the post, your yatra slip will be null and void. You again have to arrange a new slip otherwise you won’t be allowed to move forward. So, if you are planning to take rest or roam around the town. DO NOT go for the registration.

Way to the temple: After obtaining the ticket, You have two ways to reach the cave temple. One is by road and the other is by air (Pawan Hans and Deccan Aviation helicopters). You can pre-book the air tickets as you will never get on the spot. For elderly citizens, there are other options to reach the cave temple like Ponny, Mule, Battery operated auto (only day), Palki, etc. Again one suggestion is to consult the government rates before hiring any services. By foot, the trek is almost 14 km which is perfectly maintained and well paved. Unlike most of the trekking tracks, the Vaishno Devi route doesn’t come with uneven grounds or rugged patches. You will find the eateries and shops throughout the journey to the temple. So, don’t carry food if you can outside. But, if you are health conscious, you can carry whatever you like to eat except non-veg. The food which is prepared on the way to the holy shrine does not contain garlic and onions as these two considered as impure in Hindu mythology. Depending upon one’s endurance level, one can complete this trek in a maximum of 4 to 5 hours. If you are looking for a less time-consuming way to reach the temple early, You can opt for stairs. But trust me it’s not advisable to use stairs as you lose all the stamina and will be tired soon. once you reach the Bhavan, you need to register your number and wait for the call.

Attractions on the way: I have been to the Vaishno Devi shrine numerous times. I always prefer to start the trek at night. So that I can reach back to my place in the morning. But, if you start at day time, you will find the whole route is filled with serene valleys, flora and fauna, chirping birds and the fresh air adds to the charm of the trek. If your heart is more inclined towards the mountains, you can enjoy it even more. It feels more like a picnic than a trek as there are very good arrangements for people like clean toilets, clean water to drink, Govt. operated and private food shops, first aid centers, lost and found counters, etc.

Suggestions: I would like to add a few suggestions to make your journey hassle-free.

  1. Please do not plan to visit from the month of May to August as there is a huge crowd.
  2. Do not carry anything inflammable or weapon.
  3. Beware of pickpockets.
  4. Take care of your children on the journey.
  5. Try to reach the first check post in 6 hours.
  6. Carry warm clothes if you are visiting from October to March.
  7. Take care of your luggage from monkeys.
  8. Do not trust anyone for a favor.
  9. Keep your surroundings clean.
  10. Photography and Videography are not allowed at cave temple.
  11. The original cave temple is closed for the public and only opens in the Navratri festival.
  12. You always visit the replica of the main shrine (pindis).
  13. From the replica, look to the right if you are fortunate enough you may have a glimpse of the main shrine.

My Experience: I have a lot of memories with friends, family, and relatives. I always liked visiting. But, I don’t visit in the summer vacation period as it may take you several hours for darshan and sometimes I feel suffocated standing in the line for more than 3 hours. I always started the journey at night. I used to reach the temple by 3 or 4 am. There we used to take bath before darshan and wait for the call. Once your number is called, you have to enter the queue and follow the arrangement. If there is too much rush, you may not even get a second to have a glimpse. That is why I suggest you not to visit in summer vacation. After having darshan, I immediately start to descend to Katra and finally to home.

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