Vaishno Devi Travel Essentials


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Ideal duration: 1 day

Best Time: October to June Read More

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Vaishno Devi, Jammu & Kashmir

"The Holy Caves"

Vaishno Devi Tourism

Vaishno Devi is a temple town that's home to the famous Vaishno Devi Mandir. Located in Trikuta hills, 13 kms from Katra (in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir); this renowned shrine allures millions of devotees from all over the world.  Popularly known as Mata Rani, Vaishnavi and Trikuta, Vaishno Devi is a manifestation of the Hindu Goddess Durga. It is believed that during the pooja and aarti, Goddesses arrive at the Holy cave to pay their respect to Mata Rani. Devotees believe the goddess herself calls the devotees to reach here.

Vaishno Devi is said to be Moonh Maangi Muradein Poori Karne Wali Mata (the mother who fulfils the wishes of her children). The darshan of Maa Vaishno Devi in the holy cave is in the form of three naturally formed rocks which are known as pindies. These pindies manifest the three forms of the goddess as Maha Kali, Maha Saraswati and Maha Lakshmi. More than one crore devotees visit the Vaishno Devi temple each year.

Must Know Before You Travel to Vaishno Devi

  • Katra to Bhawan is 13km. It takes 5-8 hours to climb and 3-6 hours to ascend
  • Katra is the base camp for Vaishno Devi Yatra. Bus, taxi and train is available to Katra. Flight is available to Jammu (View full details)
  • 2 routes from Katra to Ardhkuwari (mid-point of the trek). The old route is 5.5km. This has Charan Paduka temple enroute. The new route is 7.5km. This is better to come down as it is steeper
  • Ardhkuwari to Vaishno Devi Bhawan has 2 routes. One is 6.5km steep uphill. The other one is shorter 5.5 km and less steep
  • Katra to Bhawan: Mule: INR 1250 one side/per person, Palki: INR 3150 one side/pp, Pitthoo: INR 540 one side/pp
  • Ropeway: INR 100 two way/pp from Bhawan to Bhairon Nath Temple
  • Helicopter: INR 1730 from Katra to Sanjichhat (1.5km from Bhawan). Ponies are also available from Helipad to Bhavan
  • Massage chairs available on the entire route. Cost around INR 50 for 15 minutes.
  • Toilets available on every 300-400 mts
  • Shrine board Yatri Niwas near Katra bus stop ideal for a short stay of few hours
  • Shrine board shop near Bhawan is best to buy prasad
  • Mobile, wallets, cameras and belts are not allowed inside the Ardhkuwari temple and main bhawan.
  • Free and paid basic accommodation is available at Katra, Ardhkuwari, Sanjichhat and Bhawan. The reservation has to be made at the Enquiry and Reservation Counter at Niharika Complex located near the Katra Bus Stand.

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Trek From Katra to Vaishno Devi

The Vaishno Devi Bhawan is open for devotees 365 days and the governing body of the Bhawan has made it probable to do the trek 24 by 7. The complete trekking pathway is lit up for devotees. The dazzling ignited path is visible from the Katra bus stand. Along the trekking path, there are many stalls offering food, refreshments, tea, drinking water, medical aid, comfortable sitting benches, toilets etc. There are also police check posts at regular intervals. At the beginning of the trek, at Banganga check post, luggage scan and security check are conducted. The trek can be completed by horses, These horses can cover half of the trek.

Vaishno Devi Helicopter Services

The helicopter services to Vaishnodevi are extremely popular, and offer tourists a beautiful ride amongst the clouds to the temple. The services start from the foothills of the Katra and end at Sanjhichatti, and takes approximately 8 minutes. The temple is around 2.5kms from the helipad at Sanjhichatti. Around 5 to 6 passengers can be accommodated in one flight, and each one-way ticket costs INR 1730, while the round fare costs INR 3460 per passenger. Tickets can be availed at the heli-ticket counters, where valid ID proofs and travel documents have to be presented. The tickets can also be booked online (

Legend of Vaishno Devi

Although many legends prevail behind the discovery of the Holy Cave of Vaishno Devi, the most accepted one is that of Pandit Sridhar's journey to the same. A devout priest from a nearby village, Hansali, Pandit Shridhar was blessed by Goddess Vaishnavi for organizing a Bhandara in her honour. Her sudden disappearance depressed Shridhar to the core, and he took a fast unto death, hoping for the Goddess to reappear.

Distressed by his vow, Goddess Vaishnavi reappeared in his dream and instructed him the way to discover her abode in the cave on Trikuta Hills. The moment he got up, he set off for the journey to the Holy Cave. After days of toiling and travelling long distances, he found the Cave. It is then that Goddess Vaishnavi appeared in her true form and blessed him with four sons, and gave him the boon of being the official custodian of her Holy Cave. To this day, the successive generations of Pandit Shridhar honour this commitment.

Vaishno Devi Aarti

The aarti of Maa Vaishno Devi is performed twice a day - before sunrise and after sunset - and is a spectacle to experience. After self-purification, the aarti is performed by the designated priests inside the sanctum sanctorum and then outside the main cave. The goddess is bathed in milk, water, honey, ghee and sugar, and then dressed in a saree and jewellery. Post this, the prasad is offered to the goddess, and the aarti is performed. 

After this, the pooja thaali (plate) is brought out of the sanctum to the mouth of the holy cave. The divine Jyoti (lamp) is witnessed by all the yatris (pilgrims) here and are given prasad and holy water by the priests. The aarti takes around 2 hours to perform and is considered the most awaited time for the darshan of Maa Vaishno Devi.

Prasad and Offerings at Vaishno Devi

The traditional offerings to Maa Vaishno Devi include chunari (red colour stole), saree, ornaments, dry fruits and flowers. Of these, the chunari is considered the most sacred and one can spot most of the yatris with a chunari tied on their forehead throughout the pilgrimage. 

Restricted Items
  • Sweets and Food Items are not allowed inside the holy cave, so do not buy these.
  • Coconut is not allowed to be broken inside the holy cave. However, it can be deposited at a counter in the main waiting hall in exchange for a token. After the darshan, the coconut can be reclaimed from a counter at the exit of the cave.
  • The offerings in the form of cash should be put inside the sealed donation boxes kept at multiple places. Do not hand over any donation in the form of cash to the priests.
  • Donation counters have also been set up at various points throughout Katra where donations in the form of cheque and drafts can be made.
Souvenir shops are set up at the Bhawan, Adkuwari, Sanjichhat, Katra bus stand and at Vaishnavi Dham (Jammu) by the Shrine Board. The offerings for the Goddess are available at these shops at a very nominal price. Devotees can also buy things like photos of Maa Vaishno Devi, bangles, sarees, chunari, etc as souvenirs from these shops.

Restaurants and Local Food in Vaishno Devi

There are many restaurants along the yatra route that remain open 24*7. You will get food without onion and garlic. There are shrine board bhojanalayas as well (including one at Ardhkuwari). You will get coffee, tea, Maggi and simple Indian food like Rajma Chawla. There is a Sagar Ratna restaurant at Ardhkuwari.
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Vaishno Devi Photos

Vaishno Devi, Jammu & Kashmir
Bird Eye View of Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan
Idol of Mata Vaishno Devi
Baba Dhansar, situated 17 Kms  from Reasi towards Katra

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FAQs on Vaishno Devi

What are the places near Vaishno devi?

The top places near to Vaishno devi are Jammu which is 34 km from Vaishno devi, Patnitop which is located 36 km from Vaishno devi, Mcleodganj which is located 153 km from Vaishno devi, Dalhousie which is located 110 km from Vaishno devi, Sanasar which is located 30 km from Vaishno devi

What are the things to do in Vaishno devi?

The top things to do in Vaishno devi are Vaishno Devi Temple, Vaishno Devi, Ardh Kuwari Cave, Bhairavnath Temple, Vaishno Devi, Shopping in Vaishno Devi, Dera Baba Banda, Katra. You can see all the places to visit in Vaishno devi here

How much does a package cost for Vaishno devi?

The packages for Vaishno devi start at INR 4216 which can be further customized based on number of people, days, hotel category, vehicle type and customizations. You can have a look at all packages here

What is the best way to reach Vaishno devi?

Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra railway station is the nearest railway station to the pilgrimage, some 20 km. Away from the Holy Bhawan. Although there is no direct flight connectivity, the nearest airport is in Jammu Tawi, which is some 46.7 km. away from Katra, if you travel via NH 144. Regular bus services ply between the base at Katra and other cities in India, primarily from Jammu Tawi, New Delhi, Amritsar etc. to begin with.  
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What is the local food in Vaishno devi?

Just as Vaishno has a distinct tint in terms of spirituality, religion, culture and traditions, it does so in cuisine too. The influence of these translates into a cuisine that stands out from a larger part of Jammu and Kashmir and borrows a lot from a typical Hindu cuisine. A number of restaurants here will also serve food without onion and garlic.
The local specialties here include chocolate barfi, Sund Panjeeri, Patisa, Rajma with rice, Kalaadi (a type of processed cheese), Kulthein di Dal, Aria (a dish made of potatoes) and Maa da Madra. Other than this traditional North Indian snacks are available and popular. However alcohol may be prohibited in most areas here.
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What is the best time to visit Vaishno devi?

Even though the place is open throughout the year for pilgrims and tourists, March to October is the best time to visit Vaishno Devi. The weather is comfortable during these months, and a lot of devotees plan their trip during the Navaratras. Until you're physically fit and a snow enthusiast, winters are not the season for your visit. The festivals of Sharad (Autumn), the period of Chaitra (Spring) and the festival of Navratras and New Year also witness peak rush. 
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Who should visit Vaishno devi?

Vaishno Devi is typically frequented by Hindus and Sikhs from North India. Vaishno Devi also sees a lot of religious devotees from other parts of the country.

What is not so good about Vaishno devi?

Congested in peak seasons. Not ideal in winters, unless you are a snow enthusiast. Trek is not very simple for people of all ages.

What is famous about Vaishno devi?

Home to a spiritual culture. Revered site for Hindus. Well connected to the rest of India. A nice ambiance on the hills. Lovely in summers.

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Popular Questions And Answers on Vaishno Devi

Q. What is the best time to visit vaishno Devi in Jammu & Kashmir?


5 years ago
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Q. Wha se aas paas ghumne layak jagah?

narayana srikar bonda

5 years ago
Pantitop 12 devi mandir
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Q. What are the different mode of reaching to Mata rani mandir from Katra Railway station?

anupama kumari

5 years ago
If u have less luggage and want to trek without rest then start your yatra after taking yatra Parchi from counter near Katra bus stand. If you want to take rest then rest in some hotel or Dharmshala, (Read More) then start tracking. Preferably yatra is good at night from Banganga check post u have to go on by 1.foot/pony/doli upto bhawan. 2.on foot, pony or human carrier(doli) up to Ardhkuwanri and from there by small buses to bhawan. 120-150 people get tickets for a time for 100Rs. Wait for 2 hrs for next booking. 2. Helicopter facility is also there from Katra to Sanjhichhat. One side fare is 1045.
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Vaishno Devi Reviews

Your rating

Sunil Saini

2 years ago
NYC place .

Sharad Shuryavanshi

3 years ago
If somebody need peace then I suggest him to go Shri Mata Vaishno Devi temple. When you come here you forget every problem & I must saying that you need to stay one week and then you will know the Va (Read More)ishno Devi temple magic.

Kovid Kapoor

6 years ago
- Do not forget to get Yatra ParchiåÊon whose absence, you will have to return from Ban Ganga. Visitors keep shouting the slogans in praise of Maa Vaishno Devi to keep everyone motivated. You might (Read More) join the wagon and you might find it really interesting and motivating.
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