Getting to Vaishno Devi
Getting to Vaishno Devi
Vaishno Devi isn’t just one of the most famous Hindu shrines; it is the commemoration of divinity and devotion that is on Earth since time immemorial. However, reaching the place isn’t as easy as getting the blessings of Mata Vaishno Devi. The shrine is situated at the height of 5733 ft. Even after you reach Katra, you have to climb 13.5 km or take palkis (carriages) or ponies. You can book a helicopter ride as well to reach the place as easily as possible. If you are wondering about how to reach Vaishno Devi, then here are three routes that might interest you. Have a look!
You can reach Jammu from where the state-run buses ply at regular intervals to Katra. If you want more comfort or luxury in your trip, you can also opt for the private deluxe buses that leave Katra at an interval of every 15 minutes. From Katra, you have to make the trek to the shrine. Katra is the base camp from where you can find different trekking groups, ponies, and palkis that can help you reach the shrine.
For reaching Katra, the nearest railway station is at Jammu, and you don’t have to be afraid about the tickets because Jammu is well connected to almost all the major cities across India.
The nearest airport for reaching Vaishno Devi is at Jammu which is 50km from Katra. You can get flights to Jammu and then get taxi services from Jammu to Katra. International pilgrims can book connecting flights from the Delhi Airport. If you prefer the comfort of air travel you can also opt for helicopter rides up to Sanjichhat which is located 9.5 km from Katra. But private helicopters can be a bit hefty on your pocket.
Routes from Katra to Bhawan
There are different tracks from Katra to Bhawan, among which the old, holy track is the most famous. However, as the old track is narrow and steep at some places, there is a new alternative track that provides a gentler gradient for the pilgrims. Unlike the old track that is used for centuries, the new track was thrown open to the public in the year 1999. No ponies are allowed on this track and a battery vehicle facility is available at Manokamna Bhawan and Inderprastha. There are also refreshments and some food stalls along the path to keep the devotees nourished. Then there is a small bridge above the Banganga which is a sacred Hindu river. It is considered auspicious to bathe in the water of Banganga before visiting the goddess, for which there are a couple of Ghats as well. The river is believed to be created by Mata Vaishno Devi’s arrow from her quiver. So many people take this path as well. At an altitude of 338 feet and almost 1.5 km. from Banganga, there is Charan Paduka where there are footprints of Mata Vaishno Devi on a rock slab. There is a medical unit here as well, so you can proceed from here also.