Vaishno Devi is one of the second major Hindu pilgrimage sites in India. Hindu devotees visit this temple from every part of the country to take the blessings of the divine deity. Located in Katra, atop Trikuta mountains, this temple beckons ardent worshippers to get Vaishno Devi Mata’s darshan. This area is part of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It is one of the major Shakti Peethas out of 108 peethas spread all over the country. It is here where Devi Sati’s skull fell and is considered to be a very sacred place.
Thousands of pilgrims trek their way and climb 13 km uphill to the temple to offer their prayers to the shrine of the Goddess. The temple is located in small caves. The statue of the Goddess is manifested in the form of five and a half feet tall rock. It is three-headed or has three pindies. Devotees carry red Mata ki chunri, dry fruits, sweets, sarees, flowers, cholas, silver or gold ornaments, etc. If you want spiritual peace on your vacation to Jammu and Kashmir, then this place is just right.
Vaishno Devi, also called Mata Rani, is an appearance of Durga, a Goddess as per Hindu traditional myth. Horses and palanquins are available by different vendors to take you there. Helicopter services are also available that take the pilgrims closer to the temple. The entire way is graciously covered with bunches of shops offering snacks, food, and different religious products. Overall, an extraordinary place if you are captivated by both Hinduism and nature. Plan Vaishno Devi travel and get immersed in spiritual vibes.
Best Time To Visit Vaishnodevi
You can visit Vaishnodevi throughout the year. However, the best time to particularly visit this place would be between March and October because the overall weather during these months is quite pleasant.
History of Vaishno Devi Temple
Vaishno Devi is an age-old temple attracting pilgrims from faraway places. In 1986, Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine was formed. A Hindu Priest, Pandit Shridhar, discovered the holy and sacred cave of Mata Vaishno Devi. The priest saw Devi Vaishnavi in his dreams, instructing him to build her abode on the Trikuta hills. Following her instructions, the priest headed out, searching the “divine” abode of Mata Vaishno Devi. Devi blessed him with four sons. She also asked him to be the custodian of the cave. The descendants of Pandit Shridhar still fulfill their commitment to the temple and the Goddess.
Top Attractions Of Vaishno Devi
1. Vaishno Devi Temple
Situated in the deep ranges of the phenomenal Himalayas, Vaishno Devi is just the kind of retreat you must visit if you are a spiritual person. This temple has been dedicated to the Mother goddess Vaishnodevi. And owing to the spiritual significance of this place, it attracts millions of devotees from all across the world.
2. Ardh Kuwari Cave
According to the legend, Mata Vaishnodevi took a rest in this cave for around nine months before making the said Bhavan her eternal abode. With this, you can pretty much guess the spiritual significance of this place. Furthermore, this cave also acts as a stopover for the pilgrims on their journey to the cave.
3. Bhairavnath Temple
If you visit Vaishnodevi and don’t go to this temple, your trip to Vaishnodevi wouldn’t be complete. This cave is specifically dedicated to the saint of that name, and that is one of the most thought-provoking parts of this place.
Things To Do In Vaishnodevi
Vaishnodevi is a good place to buy puja-related things at Katra Main Bazaar. You will be able to successfully find some really interesting things to shop around and take as souvenirs for your family and friends. You can also buy shawls, dry fruits, artefacts, and traditional clothes at this market.
Experiencing a joyful pony ride from Katra to ArdhKuwari Cave will prove to be an amazing memory for you. The overall distance is about 6 km, and throughout your journey, you will be enjoying a scenic abundance of wide panoramic views.
If we keep the spiritual significance of Vaishnodevi aside, this place still has to offer numerous possibilities to its visitors, such as river rafting in the river Chenab. So, if you love a little adventure, this will prove to be a fruitful experience for you.
Places to Visit Nearby Vaishnodevi
When planning a visit to Vaishnodevi Temple, you can also plan to visit some awe-inspiring and scenic locales close to the temple. Here are a few places that you can add to your itinerary.
1. Charan Paduka
It is a very sacred place located close to Katra and is going to Mata’s cave. Devotees can visit this place to see the prints of Ma’s footprints on a rock slab. When Bhairavnath was chasing Mata Vaishno Devi, she decided to rest for a while. Here, her footprints got printed on a rock slab which could be seen even today.
2. Ban Ganga
Ban Ganga is another holy stop when visiting the Vaishno Devi temple. This Ganga originates from the Shivalik Range of the Himalayas. It is believed that when going to her cave, Mata Vaishno Devi’s monkey felt thirsty. Devi shot an arrow in the ground, and from here, Ban Ganga sprang up. While visiting Katra, take a holy dip in the sacred Ban Ganga and feel refreshed.
3. Baba Dhansar
It is a must-visit place for all nature lovers visiting the Katra region. Located 13 km away from Katra, it is a lovely place, perfect for spending some ‘me’ time with yourself. You will have to climb 100 stairs to reach Lord Shiva’s temple. Lush greenery and cascading waterfalls add to the scenic beauty of this place.
When planning a trip to Vaishno Devi, check out Himkoti, a lovely picnic place in Katra. Admire the beauty and bask in the scenic elegance of this place, replete with a charming environment and magnetic and dense greenery. It is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic with friends and family.
Bagh-e-bahu is another worth-visiting place when planning a trip to Vaishno Devi Temple. It is approximately 45 km away from Katra. It is a famous fort with a Devi Kali temple within the fort premises. This fort commands excellent views and a perfect ambiance to relax.
If you are interested in adventure-related activities, add Sansar to your travel plan. It is the perfect place to enjoy paragliding. Also, famous as ‘mini Gulmarg,’ it is 17 km away from Patnitop. Verdant hills, mesmerizing lakes, and dense forests make this place captivating and spellbinding.
7. Jhajjar Kotli
Jhajjar Kotli is another place where you can plan a picnic with friends and family. Here, you can enjoy a perfectly natural, rejuvenating spa experience. Its soothing vibes and restful ambiance helps people to relax, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
It is a beautiful and most pristine hill station in Jammu and Kashmir. It is located approximately an hour away from the Holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi. Its pleasant weather in the summer season and snowfall in winters make it a lovely place to visit and explore. The place is famous for being the highest gondola ride in India.
How To Reach Vaishnodevi
Since Vaishno Devi is one of the major pilgrimage sites in the country, it is well-connected with different parts of the country. It is accessible by road, rail, and air transport.
Nearest Airport from Vaishno Devi - Jammu International Airport
By Air. Jammu International Airport is the nearest airport to Vaishno Devi. It is less than an hour away from Katra. Regular flights ply from some of the major cities in the country. After landing in Jammu, you can board state-run or privately-owned buses, taxis, or cabs to reach Katra.
Distance from Airport- 43km
By Train- The nearest railhead to reach Vaishno Devi temple is Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Railway Station. It lies on the Jammu Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Railway Link in Jammu and Kashmir UT. After disembarking from the train, travelers can hire private cabs or taxis to reach Katra from where a hike to Mata Vaishno Devi Temple begins.
Distance from Railway Station- 20km
By Road- Katra from where the trek to Mata Vaishno Devi temple begins is well-connected to various nearby cities and towns. Visitors can take a bus from Jammu, Udhampur, Patnitop, Srinagar, etc., to reach Katra. Many visitors prefer traveling through their cars which gives them an opportunity to enjoy scenic locales along the way.
Ques 1- What is the best time to visit Vaishno Devi Temple?
Ans 1- The Vaishno Devi Temple is located in the Katra region of Jammu and Kashmir. It enjoys sub-tropical weather throughout the area. Thus, visitors can plan a trip to this divine destination any time in the year.
Ques 2- How many days is enough for Vaishno Devi Temple?
Ans 2- If traveling by flight, two days are enough, and if traveling by train, you will need at least three days.
Ques 3-What to take care of when visiting Vaishno Devi Temple, Katra?
Ans 3- Remember not to take any camera or mobile phone to the temple as photography and videography are strictly prohibited in the temple.