Just a few days ago, I had the opportunity to visit Vaishno Devi.
Through this blog, I am trying to give you full knowledge of Vaishno Devi Yatra on the basis of my personal experience so that you do not have to stop the difficulties that have occurred and you come back by completing this journey.
Vaishno Devi Temple is the holiest Hindu temple dedicated to Shakti, located on the Trikuta Mountain in Jammu and Kashmir, India. Vaishno Devi in Hinduism, also known as Mata Rani and Vaishnavi, is the embodiment of goddess Maa. The temple is located near Katra Nagar in Jammu district of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is one of the most revered sacred sites in northern India. The temple is located at a height of 5,200 feet and about 12 kilometers (7.45 miles) from Katra. Every year, lakhs of pilgrims visit the temple and it is the second most visited religious pilgrimage place after the Tirumala Venkateshwara temple in India. The temple is looked after by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Tirtha Mandal. A rail link from Udhampur to Katra has been constructed to facilitate pilgrimage.
Temple Story: Information Source
Many stories about Mata Vaishno Devi are prevalent. According to a famous ancient belief, the mother was pleased with the devotion of Sridhar, an ultimate devotee of Mata Vaishno, and gave the world proof of its existence. Once, the Brahmin Sridhar kept the mother’s Bhandara in his village and invited all the villagers and saints to visit the Bhandara. For the first time, the villagers did not believe that the poor Sridhar Was doing Bhandara. Sridhar was also invited to Bhairavanath with his disciples. In Bhandara, Bhairavanath talked about the use of meat and liquor instead of Kheer-Poori, and Sridhar disagreed. To treat his devotee Sridhar, mother Vaishno Devi took the form of a Virgo and came to the Bhandara. Due to bhairavanath’s persistence on food, the Kumrupi Mata Vaishno Devi tried to convince Bhairavanath, but Bhairavanath did not accept one of her. When Bhairavanath wanted to catch the girl, she called the Girl from there to the TrikutaMountain and called the Kumrupi Vaishno Devi Hanuman and said that I would do penance for nine months in this cave with Bhairavanath. To protect the mother outside the cave, Hanumanji played for nine months with Bhairavanath. Today, this sacred cave is known as the ‘Ardhkuwari ‘. The Ardhkuwari also has a maa’s stage Paduka. This is the place where the Maa saw Bhairavanath rushing. He says that at that time Hanumanji was with Maa Vaishno Devi to protect her mother. When Hanumanji was thirsty, the mother pulled out the stream by running an arrow on the mountain from the bow on her insistence and washed her hair in that water. Today, this sacred stream is known as ‘ Banganga ‘, whose holy water is betel or bathed in all the illnesses of the devotees. Vaishno Maa on Trikut massacred Bhairavanath and gave him a high place on his pardon and said that the journey of a man who would not visit you on my philosophy would not be completed. So, the devotees still go to bhairavanath’s philosophy.
How to go: Vaishno Devi has the means from all over India to go, I am giving you information about Delhi as a centre.
Air route: There are plenty of flights from Delhi to Jammu, you will get a flight ticket at a much lower rate when booking a little earlier.
Rail route: There are many trains available from all over India for the state of Jammu, just a few days before the route to Katra has been commissioned, you can now go directly from the train to Katra. Delhi to Katra is among the shortest time-consuming trains: Delhi – Katra Rajdhani Express (Premium Category), Delhi – Katra Uttar Pradesh Connectivity Revolution (General Category), etc. These trains give you access to Katra from Delhi in 11 to 12 hours respectively and the best part is that their frequency is daily and they are traveling overnight.
Road: Government bus services from Delhi to Jammu are available from the states of Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Jammu, etc., under which normal and Volvo buses ply on this route. Besides, private sleeper buses also run from Delhi to Jammu at night.
To visit Mata Vaishno Devi, first, you have to reach Katra which is located in Jammu and Kashmir. The distance from Jammu to Katra is 50 km which you can complete in 2 hours by taxi or bus. The path is very beautiful, which has been commissioned just a few days before the new train route shows many places on the road. The train route is also very beautiful on which the train passes through about 15 20 tunnels, which is a very pleasant experience in itself.
There was a view between Jammu and Katra.
Preparations before the trip:
If you also do a job sitting like me and your mind is to walk from Katra to the mata bhawan and from there to Bhairav, you should start walking about 3 4 kilometres a day from 2 months before the yatra, otherwise, it would be very difficult for you to complete the yatra.
If the devotees are engaged in the whole year at Vaishno Devi, try to book the train ticket about 2 months in advance, otherwise, you have to take the Tatkal facility for which you have to pay the extra money and also reduce the chances of getting a confirmed booking.
This temple is said to be how much you try to do unless you call the mother, you will not be able to go to the mother’s philosophy despite a million attempts (I personally believe, I am trying to go here since 2011, but go to 2018 and still continue going). So if your plan is being canceled again and again for any reason, do not bother to treat it as a mother’s choice, when your call comes, all the other arrangements will be made automatically (this has been felt by many devotees like me and me).
You are required to take a yatra parchi for the visit of Vaishno Devi, the travel slip is just like a pass or a ticket that you cannot travel on the train. You can access this yatra parchi online or Katra, you can get your account by visiting Vaishno Devi’s official website to get an online travel slip, in the entire process you are asked for some necessary information and the total process is done in 10 or 15 minutes, then the travel slip becomes available in your account, which you can take a printout with you during the journey. It is necessary to keep the identity card that is given in your yatra parchi.
The yatra parchi taken from the counter is valid for the next 6 hours, which means you have to do it on the Banganga check post for the next six hours after taking that travel slip, you will have to take a yatra parchi again which will be valid for the next six hours. On the contrary, the online yatra parchi is valid for a whole day.
Katra railway station is one of the newly constructed stations with all modern facilities, including escalators, lifts, etc. The cleanliness of the station is worth watching, the cleanliness staff does their job every 2 hours to maintain cleanliness. There is not a single food store on the platform, but it does not mean that it is not available to drink food, all these services are available to you in irctc restaurants inside the station. There are IRCTC restaurants on 2 floors inside the station where you can eat and pack your mind.
Katra Railway Station.
The heavenly baggage of the Trirakoot Mountain from Katra railway station.
A restaurant operated by IRCTC at Katra railway station, where you can also pack apart from eating food.
A travel slip counter is also available at the railway station, if you have not taken an online travel slip, you can take a travel slip from here which is totally free, everyone above three years is required to take a travel slip. The station premises also have a hotel run by IRCTC and a huge gift centre.
From platform No. 1, there is a vision of the entire Trikut mountain and the semi-virgin building located on the nose. Located on the reverse hand, the taxi stands from where you will get taxis or autos up to banganga checkposts. Banganga checkpost is the place where your luggage and travel slip starts climbing after checking.
The taxi stands at platform No. 1 of Katra railway station are written on the entire rate board.
For security reasons, prepaid SIM cards of other states do not work in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, either you have a postpaid or you can also take a travel SIM here which is 200 or 300 rupees and has almost the same price recharge, it takes the same paper to take this SIM which takes place in another state.
Covid Test Information
Devotees coming from outside Jammu and Kashmir need a valid COVID-19 negative test report to enter the temple. Or They have a COVID-19 testing facility in Katra Railway Station Too. See the Video.
Beginning of the journey:
There are 3 ways to make this journey from Katra: by foot, horse or sedan, or helicopter. From Katra, you can also get closer to the mother’s building by helicopter for which you have to make advance booking three months in advance. The flight of the helicopter depends on the weather there, if the weather is not clear, the flight may also be canceled. Katra helipad is some 3.5 km from the main city where you have to arrive two hours before the flight. You can book helicopters by visiting Vaishno Devi’s official website. The helicopter flies from Katra and leaves you on the ‘sanjhichat’, from where the distance of the building is around 3 km which you can do on foot or horse. The helicopter passenger is also provided with a VIP pass so that he gets admission directly from Gate No. 5 to the building.
A view of the Trikuta mountain moving towards banganga checkpost.
Katra is located at an altitude of about 2000 feet above sea level, and the building of Vaishno Devi is at a height of about 5200 feet, many people at high altitudes seem to have acute mountain sickness (AMS) problems, such people do not go directly from the station and start climbing, otherwise, they will have to complain of headaches, dizziness, vomiting, etc. For those or those who need a little rest before they start climbing, I suggest that they see a hotel in Katra city according to their budget and start climbing when their body is adapted to that environment after 2 3 hours of rest.
You can take the help of all the online hotel booking websites to take the hotel, or you can come here directly and take the hotel accordingly. There are some tea snack shops in the nose from Katra station, there are a lot of hotels behind them, around these shops you will see a lot of people who will stand by the pamphlets of all the hotels, and you can book hotels by bargaining with them. Or, by moving from these shops to the market, you can walk to the market and find the hotel yourself.
The mother-in-the-offering shops will find you in many places in the market, besides the shops of the Shrine Bard’s offerings near the mother’s building. Try to take the Prasad Shrine board’s prasad shops, there is a good difference between the market and the prices of their offerings. The mother only climbs the chunri, the other coconut Vagaira, which you get back, and, at the same time, every devotee on behalf of the Shrine board also gets a mishree pudia as Prasad.
After checking the luggage and travel slip at Bansanga checkpost, your journey starts, barely 200 meters ahead, you start having darshan of Bansanga, there are ferries to bathe, etc. There are a kind of shops all along the way where food, offerings, etc., most of them are open for 24 hours. From here you can take wood for support which is available for 10 to 20 rupees.
Banganga check post.
People who have problems walking can travel from here to a horse or a sedan that four people carry on their shoulders, the prices of these services are fixed by the Shrine Board and which are written on the board in many places on the way. In addition, if you have a small child, you will get a child’s car in which you can sit comfortably and climb your child, and if you are unable to pull the car, you will also find a man who will take the train with you. In addition, you can also make a pit for a child in which a person will be able to put your child in an apron-like cloth on the back, all these services you have to pay the prescribed fee.
If you have a mind that you want to walk, but you will not be able to walk the whole climb, you start walking and you will not be able to move from where you start, and you get horses every little distance all along the way.
From Katra to 2 avenues, the Mata Bhawan, the first is the old route where horses, sedans, the second route is the Tarkota Route, which has been inaugurated on 19th May 2018 to facilitate the yatra, on this route, the horse, the sedan, cannot walk on this route. These routes are found near semi-virgin in the old route. From there, 2 routes go towards the building, an old route and a new route which has been inaugurated a few days ago, the distance of the building is one kilometer less than the old route. On this route, battery-operated vehicles are also run by the Shrine Board, these services are mainly for older persons and sick persons, but if you are not fit to run, you can go beyond that.
Battery driven vehicle and related information.
If you have to visit the semi-virgin, go there with a number because most of the time there is a sizeable crowd, it takes 7 8 hours to come. The entire yatra provides for refreshments and food at the place. The facility of ‘ clock room ‘ is also available at several places of climbing to Katra, Bhawan, and building, the ‘ cloakroom ‘ near the building is free and in addition, in other ‘ clock rooms ‘, you can easily climb the passenger by placing your luggage at the prescribed fee. Medical facilities are also available in many places along the way, in case of any kind of problem you can avail of these services.
A refreshment house on the way during the climb, where you can eat dosa.
There are also ghats at Bansanga near Mata Bhawan, which are followed by bathing devotees for the darshan of the mother. Before going to the building, you have to bring your clock, hand-worn stiff, pocket pen, etc., to keep you in the room, you can go to the building with you only with money, travel slips, ID cards, and offerings. If the temple is at a high altitude, it cools down at night, so try to take the cold-rescue clothes with you. Vaishno Devi Temple is the only temple in the whole of India which is open for darshan 20 hours out of 24 hours, only 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening, the temple is closed for Aarti.
Information related to Aarti in Mata Bhawan.
The Bhairav temple is some 3 km away from the mother’s building, but most people use horses, etc., to go there, whose fare is around 300. There is a belief that if you do not go to the Bhairav temple, your journey is not complete. Ropway from Mata Bhawan to Bhairav Temple has now become operational with a ticket of Rs 100, using which you can reach the Bhairav temple in 5 minutes, which takes about 2 hours to walk. Ropway service will be available only in a day.
For the passengers arriving at the Mata Bhawan, there are many Dharamshala and hotels of the Maa Vaishno Devi Shrine Board at Jammu, Katra, around the building, etc., in which you can relax and wipe out the fatigue of your journey, which you can avoid troubles by making pre-booking.
In the way of the Mata Bhawan, the monkey is many more, they do not bother anyone, but sometimes they take away the bags of the offerings of the devotees who are coming back. To avoid this situation, take a cloth bag or bag with you and keep the offerings in return.
There are donation boxes and donation deposit counters for donating to the temple complex, you get a receipt of donations made at the counter and also a lot of pouches of offerings that you can share with your relatives, friends.
Walking time: This time depends on your walking speed and your health, but we can still get an average time, which is as follows:
Banganga Checkpost to Ardhkuwari – 2:30 to 3:00 hr (approximately)
Mata Bhawan from Ardhkuwari – 2:30 to 3:00 hours (approximately)
Bhairav from Mata Bhawan – 1:30 to 2:00 hours (approximately)
Also, keep half an hour aside from the darshan, and if you reach the building at Aarti’s time, you may take about 2 hours to visit.
Nearby sightseeing: Wikipedia
There are many scenic spots and hill stations near Katra and Jammu, where you can enjoy the cold weather litigants of Jammu. Amar Mahal, Bahu Fort, Mansar Lake, Raghunath Temple, etc. are worth watching in Jammu. ‘Patni Top’ is a famous hill station at a distance of about 112 km from Jammu. You can also enjoy snowfall in winter. There are many scenic spots near Katra, Shiva, Jjhar Kotli, Sanasar, Baba Dhansar, Mantalai, etc.
Note: While writing this entire blog, care has been taken so that no misinformation is reached to you, yet if there is a mistake, forgive me as a trivial devotee of the mother and tell me through the comments box below, I will try to rectify that mistake as soon as possible.