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Travel to Katra



Katra Tourism



Katra is an important place in Jammu and Kashmir, located in Reasi district. It serves as one of the base camps for the tourists and pilgrims who visit Vaishno Devi, a holy pilgrimage for Hindus.

The number of pilgrims visiting the holy place increased from 13.96 Lakhs (about 1.4 million) in 1986 to 104.95 Lakhs (about 10.5 million) in 2012. Till July 2013, the total number of tourists and pilgrims who had visited Katra was more than 57 Lakhs. As per estimates, the Vaishno Devi pilgrimage zone provides employment to 27,000 people and helps to earn revenue to the extent of almost 500 crores annually. Vaishno Devi temple is located 10.5 kms away from Katra. Pilgrims have to register themselves at Katra before starting their trek. In any kind of accidental mishap, the registered pilgrims are entitled to Rs. 1 lakh as accidental coverage.

Till date pilgrims have to walk 25 kms to reach the holy shrine. Keeping in mind the increasing number of pilgrims visiting this place, the government had announced a special railway link from Udhampur to Katra, which was expected to be completed by August 2013. However, for some unforeseen circumstances, it has been delayed till October 2013.

Best Time to Visit

You can visit this place almost throughout the year. Whether it is winter, monsoon or summer, pilgrims don't mind visiting Vaishno Devi temple through Katra. It is most important to point out that the climatic condition of this place is essentially sub tropical. If you are looking for the best possible time to visit it, March to October is the best time.

You should keep certain things in mind while visiting the place:
  • During summer, especially between May and July, the temperature varies from 5°C to 40°C.
  • In case, you like the winter chill and don't mind, walking through raining snowflakes, December to March is the time for you to visit. During this time, temperature varies from -14°C to 24°C.
  • If you visit Vaishno Devi temple during the monsoon, you should take rain gear with you to protect yourself from heavy rainfall. The humidity level also remains very high during this time.
Local Transport

There is a wide range of transports available in Katra. You can use local trains as well as roads to move around. There are many travel agencies in this small town. You can rent a cab for a fixed period of time. You can also take the local buses, as per your convenience.

When it comes to travel to Vaishno Devi from Katra, trekking is the most popular way. Helicopter facilities are there too. This will give you a ride to Sanjichhat, 2.5 kms from the shrine. Railways are in the offing. However, they are scheduled to be launched in the month of October 2013. If you don't prefer walking 10.5 kms, Palkis are there for you. These are availed by the elderly. Local transportation from this place to the temple includes Pony ride, Pitthu (especially for carrying luggage or sometimes even babies), and electric vans.

Hotels

You will find all kinds of hotels in Katra. Whether you want to stay at affordable, budget, or luxurious ones (3 star and 4 star), you will find the desired hotel according to your choice. You will find most of these hotels around certain landmarks such as Ban Ganga, Reasi Road, Adhkunwari, Airport, The Shrine Of Baba Jitto, Amar Cinema, Yoga Ashram, Jammu Tawi, Helipad Road, Kashmir Road, Chintamani, Jammu Road, Hospital Road, Tourist Dak Bungalow, and others.

Here are some price details:
  • Room rent of budget and affordable hotels start from Rs. 900 per night.
  • Room rent per night of 3 Star hotels start from Rs. 1300.
  • Room rent per night of 4 Star hotels start from Rs. 2000.
Food

In Katra you will find all kinds of vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian eateries. Near the Vaishno Devi temple, you will not find non-vegetarian eateries. However, delicious snacks along with the delightful and famous Rajma-Rice are available in the road side restaurants (called 'Dhaba' in India). Please keep in mind that near the shrine, vegetarian restaurants will serve 'pure veg. food' that don't even have garlic and onions in them. Don't forget to try the Pakoras and Samosas of the place. In the eateries of Katra, you can try the popular Chole-Bhature and Puri-Bhaaji along with Rajma-Rice. In the famous hotels and restaurants of this small town, you will get all kinds of delicacies and cuisines, right from Indian, Continental, Kashmiri, to Chinese. You can also try the sweets here.

Shopping

Katra has evolved as the shopper's paradise. You will find anything and everything here. Right from offerings to the Goddess, dry food items, special textile products of the place, souvenirs, hand-made wooden articles, to artificial jewelries, you name a product and it is there in the shopping arcade.
The pilgrims not only buy offerings (usually Saari, Shawls, and Churnis) to Vaisno Devi but also special Kasmiri products such as wooden furniture, Kashmiri shawls, silks, Kashmiri carpets, brassware, pherans, and others. Another specialty of this place is the leather-made items. You can buy the best quality leather jackets, caps, and other products.

From the souvenir outlets, you can find Chura (Bangle), publications of Shrine Board, audio and video CDs/DVDs on Mata Vaisno Devi, bags made up of jute, laminated photos of gods and goddesses of Hinduism, et al. You can get all of them at reasonable prices here. You can also collect feet impressions of the Goddess. Cane baskets for carrying fruits and other kinds of food items are also available here. They will cost you anything from Rs. 50 to 500.

Popular Things

In Katra, there are various popular things to do, such as trekking to Vaishno Devi temple, enjoying a helicopter, and visiting various scenic places.
  1. Trekking to Mata's temple is one of the most popular things to do in Katra. Though it is not easy to trek, thousands of devoted pilgrims trek to their destination. While trekking, don't forget to enjoy the view all around.
  2. Helicopter ride to the shrine is another most popular activity there. You will find this service is available after every five minutes.
  3. Banganga - Many folklores of the Goddess Vaishno Devi are associated with this river. Devoted people say that the goddess created this river when she was on her way to the cave of Vaishno shrine. Pilgrims take holy dips in this river before starting their journey to the shrine.
  4. Jhajjar Kotli - This tourist complex is located around 15 kms from Katra?. Due to the fact that it's situated on the banks of Jhajjar River, it is called Jhajjar Kotli. This is a famous tourist spot near Katra.
  5. Sanjichhat - It is one of the most beautiful places from where you can get a great view of the snow-covered Himalayas and the valley underneath. Accommodation facilities are available here.
  6. Bhairon Temple - This is located at an altitude of 6,619 feet from sea level. They say your visit to Vaishno Devi remains incomplete if you don't visit the Bhairon temple.
Travel Tips

Some of the essential tips are given below:
  • If you want to reach the shrine fast, you can take a helicopter ride. It will cost you Rs.800 per person, excluding other charges. As the ride is very reasonable, you can take this ride to the holy shrine. However, this should be kept in mind that the helipad is almost 2.5 kms away from the shrine. In fact, most people prefer a helicopter to reach the Vaishno Devi temple and come back to Katra walking.
  • When preparing the itinerary, don't forget to visit the Bhairon Temple, Charanpaduka, Himkoti, Adhkunwari, Sanjichhat, Jhajjar Kotli, and Banganga.
  • You can visit Mata's shrine by 'Palki' or palanquin, if you don't prefer either a helicopter ride or trekking.
  • Ponies or horses are also there for you to ride for visiting the Vaishno Devi temple.
  • You should avoid reaching Bhavan between 7pm and 9pm because during this time the shrine remains closed for devotees. So, time your journey accordingly.
Cost to Travel

If you want to reach Vaishno Devi temple by helicopter, the one way ticket will cost you Rs. 1500 per person. The helicopter charge is Rs. 800. The processing and service charges will cost you another Rs. 700.

The return flight, i.e. Katra to Sanjichhat and back, will cost you Rs. 2700. You will get priority in 'darshan' while producing your return boarding pass. Traveling and staying packages are also there. The most affordable package that includes night stay, breakfast and return helicopter flight is Rs. 8,525.00.

How many days are enough to travel?

It will depend upon your itinerary. You can reach Katra from Jammu within certain hours on road. Night halt facility is available near the shrine. You can stay there for one night with your family. In fact, you can buy tour packages to visit various places in and around Katra. On an average, you will need 4 days and 5 nights to travel and enjoy the beauty of the place.

Tourism Department Contacts

Here are the important contact details:

1. J&K Tourism Development Corporation
Tourist Reception Centre, Srinagar Office
Tel: 0194 - 2457927 / 30

2. J&K Tourism Development Corporation
Tourist Reception Centre, Jammu
Tel: 0191 - 2579554 ; 0191-2549065
Mobile: 9419212464 ; 9419212451

3. J&K Tourism Development Corporation
Tourist Shopping Complex, 1st Floor, Main Bazar, Katra
Tel: 01991-234199

Emergency Contact Numbers

1. Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board Administration
Officer Incharge, Niharika Complex, Shakti Bhawan, Bus Stand, Katra.
Tel: +91-1991-232125 / 281

Trikuta Bhawan, Katra
Tel: +91-01991-234057
Officer Incharge (Enquiry & Reservations), Katra
Tel: +91-1991-234053

2. Police
SDPO, Katra
Tel: 01991-32052

Additional SP, Katra
Tel: 01991-232234

Police Station, Katra
Tel: 01991-232010

Places to Visit in Katra


Last Updated on : 19/09/2013