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Divine VaishnoDevi

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Divine VaishnoDevi
Divine VaishnoDevi

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Vaishno Devi Temple

Katra is one of the finest places to visit in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and it is a real treat for the body, mind, and soul. People mainly come to Katra so that they may visit the Vaishno Devi temple nearby but there are a number of other attractions as well and lots of other places to visit near the main Katra city. Located in the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains, Katra pleases with its scenic beauty and spiritual air.

Vaishno Devi

vaishno devi mandir

Located in Trikuta hills, 13 kms from Katra, Vaishno Devi Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Vaishno Devi – a manifestation of Goddess Durga. This renowned shrine is one of the holiest pilgrimages for Hindus. It is believed that during pooja and aarti, Goddesses herself arrives at the Holy Cave

Ardhkuwari

Ardhkuwari

Before making the Vaishno Devi Bhavan her abode, Mata Vaishnodevi is believed to have meditated in the ArdhKuwari Gufa for 9 months before beheading the demon Bhairavnath. Located halfway to Vaishno Devi Temple, Ardh Kuwari acts as a stopover for the pilgrims on their journey up to the Bhavan.

The 52ft long Ardhkuwari is also known as Garbajoon Cave, as the shape of the cave resembles a mother’s womb. The devotees believe that when Mata Vaishno killed Bhairav his head fly off into the valley while his body remained in the Ardh Kuwari Cave.

One has to crawl on the knees to reach the other side of the Ardhkuwari cave. Once on the other side, you can see a large shrine which is built dedicated to the three Goddesses – Maha Kali, Maha Laxmi and Maha Saraswati. The darshan route is semicircular so that you exit from a different opening at a small distance from the entry route.

Bhairavnath Temple Vaishno Devi

Bhairavnath Temple

No journey to Katra is complete without having visited Bhairavnath Mandir. The cave temple of Bhairavnath is dedicated to Baba Bhairavnath and is constructed at the site where he is believed to have breathed his last. A steep 3km journey from the Bhawan leads you to Bhairavnath temple.

According to the legend, Kaal Bhairav (Baba Bhairavnath) was killed by Maa Vaishnodevi, and during his last breath, he repented his sins. The goddess forgave him and said that no pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi will be complete without visiting the Bhairav Temple.

The temple provides picturesque views of the forest fed mountains. Ponies are available for the up-down journey in case you can not climb the steep stairs. There is also a ropeway from Vaishno Devi Temple to Bhairavnath Temple at a cost of INR 100 per person.

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Katra

Katra

Katra is a small town in the foothills of Trikuta Mountains which is famous as the base camp for visiting the shrine of Vaishno Devi. Located in the Uddhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir, the prime attraction of Katra is Vaishno Devi Temple. This is why it is also referred to as Katra Vaishno Devi.

Growing as a tourist attraction, people now have access to helicopters and eco friendly vehicles. Katra is worth visiting, even if you are not on a pilgrimage, because attractions like the Banganga, the Chenab river, and a large amount of peaks around offer great places for mountain climbing and family outings.

Dera Baba Banda

Dera Baba Banda

Dere Baba Banda is a 300-year old Gurudwara and a major pilgrimage points for Sikhs. It is renowned for housing the ashes of Baba Banda Bahadur who was the commanding soldier of Guru Gobind Singh’s army. The Gurudwara also houses his arrow and a huge sword used by him during wars.

Being one of the important religious centres in Kashmir, the Gurudwara Dere Baba Banda attracts a huge number of pilgrims, especially during the three-day Vaisakhi mela. The architecture of the Gurudwara is stunning with the interior walls glinting in the textures of golden shade. 

Shopping in Vaishno Devi

Shopping in Vaishno Devi
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Although most famous for its revered temple Vaishno Devi, this destination is an unlikely shopping destination as well. Shopping is mainly done by pilgrims, which includes Prasad, saris and shawls which are offered to the goddess. Gold and silver coins embossed with the images of the goddess are also sold here. Other goods that find a place here includes bangles, embroidered fabrics, saris and suits which are quite popular among women of all ages.

Vaishno has quite a few destinations and shopping areas within its bounds. The Katra Main Bazaar is the main shopping area here, and you can find everything that is native to Jammu here. You can find delicious dry fruits such as walnuts, almonds, berries and dried apples.

The Bhawan market of Katra offers traditional goods that are offered to the holy goddess in the temple. The Sanjhi Chhat market of Vaishno has a wide collection of traditional fabrics, shawls and Kashmiri motifs.

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Itinerary for Vaishno devi

Day 1 – If you have reached Katra, preferably in the afternoon, take some rest, and visit the local market in the evening. There are umpteen choices of goods and crafts available here. In terms of accommodation, you can take up either a reservation in the available hotels or in the luxurious guest house built in the vicinity of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra railway station.
Day 2 – This is the day when you should ideally start off on your trip. After taking the Yatra slip from the regional office near Bus Stand, Katra, go for the Darshani Darwaza, from where the long trek officially begins. You shall start with Ban Ganga and moving on, cross Charan Paduka. Thereon, you would cross Adi / Ardh Kumari, the turning point for many travelers. By evening, you will have reached the Holy Bhawan. You can either continue your journey from here or rest for the day.
Day 3 – This is the day when your Darshan of the Holy Trinity is complete. Before heading down to the base, you should visit Bhairon Nath Mandir, which is the place where the demon overlord was beheaded. As per the boon given by Goddess Vaishnavi, pilgrims must pay a visit to Bhairon Mandir before heading down, or else, their trip will remain incomplete. Once done, you can head back to the base, either on foot or by the helicopter from Sanjhhi Chhat.

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