Serving as the base camp for all the devotees who wish to visit Vaishno Devi, Katra is a famous pilgrim site in India. Located in the Reasi district of the beautiful Jammu and Kashmir, Katra is located about 754 meters above the sea level. It offers a vast scope for tourism in the area, paving the way for all the pilgrims who wish to visit the holy shrine of Vaishno Devi. Here is a guide to this beautiful place in the paradise of India:
Best Time to Visit Katra:
The weather of Katra is pleasant to visit almost throughout the year. Maintaining an average temperature of 23-24 degrees Celsius, Katra makes for a beautiful place with pleasant weather to soothe your soul. Nevertheless, Vaishno Devi is best visited during the months of March to October. This is the peak season of the pilgrimage, as the weather is pretty cool and pleasant, allowing you to explore the temple at its best. However, most of the pilgrims plan their trip during the time of Navratras.
Also read the best time to visit Katra here.
How to Reach Katra
Located in the borders of the beautiful land of Jammu and Kashmir, Katra is a famous pilgrimage tourist destination. It witnesses a massive overflow of pilgrims from all the parts of the country every year to worship their deity, Mata Vaishno Devi.
By Air: Katra does not have an airport of its own. However, the Jammu airport is closest to this place, serving as the central hub for international tourists. It has direct flights from popular cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Mumbai, and Chennai. From this airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Katra which is situated approximately 40 km away.
By Rail: There are a fair number of direct trains from various famous places like Pathankot, Kolkata, Delhi, Chandigarh, and Amritsar to the Jammu Railway Station. Recently, the Katra Railway Station has come up with a train that connects it directly with Delhi.
By Road: There are a large number of state and national highways that connect Katra with other cities in North India. You can take buses from these parts of the country and reach Katra comfortably. More details about how to reach Katra are here.
Read more about Katra Tourism
Hotels in Katra:
While in Katra, make sure you choose the best place to stay because comfort plays a major role in your stay. There are many hotels in Katra near the bus stand, making it easy for you to find a place closer to the stands so that you don’t have to walk a lot to reach another place. However, you also have many budget hotels in Katra to make your stay as economical as possible. Either way, there are many hotels in Katra that will make your stay peaceful. Take a look at the most suggested and best hotels in Katra:
1. Continent Panchvati Hotel:
Amazing hospitality paired with decent staff, the Continent Panchvati is one of the most famous hotels in Katra. It is also one of those budget hotels in Katra where you can get the best services at a comparatively lower price.
- Location: Near AMR Multiplex, Jammu Road, Katra, Jammu and Kashmir
- Approximate cost for a night: INR 1,500-1,700
- Contact number: 07051002895
2. The Atrium on the Greens:
One of the best hotels in Katra in terms of luxury and service, The Atrium on the Greens stands out from the rest of them. It is also located close to the railway station, making it easily accessible from the station.
- Location: Near Katra Railway Station, Katra, Jammu and Kashmir
- Approximate cost for a night: INR 3,000-3,500
- Contact number: 09055115115
3. Maa Trinayani Palace:
Located within the beautiful Katra, this hotel is yet another budget hotel in Katra that will provide you with the best services at a lower price.
- Location: Opposite Ganga Filling Station, Jammu Road, Katra, Jammu and Kashmir
- Approximate cost for a night: INR 1,500-1,700
- Contact number: 09903977265
4. AMR Lords Eco Inn:
Offering some of the best services in Katra for reasonable rates, this Eco Inn is the perfect place to stay in Katra as it is closer to the popular places in the city.
- Location: Jammu Road, Near Main Bazaar Vaishno Devi, Katra, Jammu and Kashmir
- Approximate cost for a night: INR 2,500-3,000
- Contact number: 01991233403
5. Hotel Mount View:
Located closer to the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi, this hotel offers accommodation for all the pilgrims of Katra. It is a good place to stay with all good amenities to help you stay comfortable until you finish your Vaishno Devi Darshan.
- Location: Katra Vaishno Devi, Katra, Jammu and Kashmir
- Approximate cost for a night: INR 1,500-2,000
- Contact number: 09906905877
Places to Visit in Katra:
Located in the beautiful alleys of Jammu and Kashmir, Katra has a great importance in terms of the Vaishno Devi temple. The famous Vaishno Devi tour attracts a large number of pilgrims from various parts of the country to seek the blessings of the deity. The Vaishno Devi darshan is believed to bring peace to all the pilgrims who visit the temple. Here is a list of the places to visit in Katra along with the Vaishno Devi Temple:
Temple of Vaishno Devi:
One of the most famous pilgrim tours of India, the Vaishno Devi Tour attracts people from all over the country. One of the most important places to visit in Katra, this temple is located in one of the caves at a height of around 5200 feet above the sea level.
- Location: Vaishno Devi, Katra, Jammu and Kashmir
- Timings: Open all days of the week from 6 am to 10 pm
- Entry Fee: Free
Must Read: 10 Reasons to Plan a Vaishno Devi Yatra with Your Family
Located nearby to the Karau village of Resai district, this holy-Hindu shrine is a dedication to Lord Shiva. The entire shrine lights up during the festival of Mahasivaratri, followed by a huge fair.
- Location: Karau Village, Reasi District, Jammu and Kashmir
- Timings: Open all days of the week from 5 am to 12 pm and 4 pm to 9 pm.
- Entry Fee: Free
Dera Baba Banda:
One of the main pilgrimage sites for Sikhs, this beautifully constructed Gurudwara Is a famous attraction of Katra. It is situated on the banks of the river Chenab and attracts a large group of people from various parts of the country.
- Location: Reasi District, Katra, Jammu and Kashmir
- Timings: Open all days of the week from 5 am to 12 pm and 4 pm to 9 pm
- Entry Fee: Free
How to reach Vaishno Devi:
Serving as the base camp for the pilgrims of Vaishno Devi, Katra is the only place until which the modern vehicles can reach. There is a distance of about 16-17 km from Katra to Vaishno Devi that can be covered either by foot or by the help of ponies and palkis. Recently, the government has introduced a method of reaching from Katra to Vaishno Devi by helicopter, to make it easy for the elderly people and the disabled ones to reach early.
Katra to Vaishno Devi on Palkis, Ponies, and on foot:
The entire distance of 12-13 km is definitely hard and tiring to cover on foot. However, most of the pilgrims prefer this way entirely out of devotion, claiming that it would clear their minds. Despite having a method of reaching from Katra to Vaishno Devi by helicopter, most of the pilgrims prefer on food to keep their minds and heart clear as they walk the majestic path of reaching the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi.
Nevertheless, there are always pilgrims who have some health problems and others who are overweight to be unable to walk the entire distance. Such pilgrims usually take the help of palanquins i.e. palkis and ponies to reach the shrine at the earliest. However, one has to keep in mind that they would require a lot of effort to get down the hill on a pony than get up. Hence, they need to make wise decisions as to which side they would like to walk. That being said, you would also need some porters who are called ass Pithus to carry your luggage all the way to Vaishno Devi. They also carry some small children who are not in a position to get on the pony and light weighted old people who cannot manage a pony. These services are all provided to make it easy for the pilgrim to reach Vaishno Devi shrine.
All these services are maintained by a municipal committee who issue cards to the service providers. These cards tend to get renewed often to make sure the pilgrims are getting the best services that are offered in the area. So they are advised to make sure they check the card twice before availing the services of the Pithus. All the rates to the rides are fixed and available on various signboards and hence anything over the fixed rates is not advised to be paid. However, you can always provide refreshments or food for the pithus if you wish to. Besides, make sure to hire a pony, palanquin or a pithu at the starting of the tour rather than at last to make it easy for you.
Katra to Vaishno Devi by Helicopter:
Easiest and the quickest way to reach Vaishno Devi, these helicopter services have been proven to be a great help to the pilgrims. Brought into action by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, these helicopter rides come at INR 1,077 per passenger, and take you to the shrine in time as less as five minutes. Each helicopter has a maximum place for five passengers, the tickets of which should be purchased separately.
This helicopter ride starts at the foothills of Katra and will drop you at Sanjhichatt from where you can head towards the holy shrine. You can book the tickets for the same either online or on the spot.