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1 out of 5 attractions in Katra

Vaishno Devi

After reaching Bhawan we booked a short stay room in Room #4 to freshen up. We got to know from other travelers that the evening Aarti preparation starts at around 5:30 pm and the Bhawan is closed for an hour till the Aarti is over. We were advised to go to Bhawan for Darshan before 5:30 pm (this advice saved us a LOT of time and effort). We had difficulties in finding a clock room for our luggage since every facility was already occupied. We managed to go to the Bhawan before 5:00 pm and the queue was really short as compared to the standard queues at Bhawan. We came out of Bhawan around 5:45 pm. We hastily collected our luggage and layered our bodies up with warm clothes since the sun had set and the wind was getting stronger.We couldn’t have lunch and were very hungry, so we quickly had one servng of Rajmash Rice at a counter right next to Bhawan. After that we went to Sagar Ratna for a proper dinner. ????Post dinner and souvenir shopping, we proceeded to Ardhkunwari, which is about 6 kms from Bhawan and is a downhill path. We skipped Bhairo Temple because mom couldn’t have made the steep climb and we’ve been there some 5 times before. 
Nishant Mathur
It's a fine morning at the Katra Railway station, as the sun rises just above the beautiful backdrop of the Himalaya's. The first ray of sunlight streaming in between the many pillars and hitting our tired eyes, as we rush to board our train huffing and puffing, carrying our bulky backpacks.So with all our luggage we get onto the local train (ticket Rs.30) for a 5 hour train journey all the way to Pathankot. We manage to fight our way to 6 seats which were close to each other, seat's...not in the best of conditions, but considering our exhaustion, even a wooden plank would have sufficed. Nonetheless, tired and exhausted we hear the train's horn blow, signalling the commencement of our journey to our next destination Pathankot.One would think that, this would be a peaceful and non-eventful train ride...Boy were we in for a surprise! Have you ever witnessed a pot smoking, cross dressing hippie? Well we certainly did! And let's just say sleep was no longer a botheration! ?xD
There was a long queue at the top. We had a plan that one member among us would take care of mobiles and cameras allowing others to visit the shrine ,eventually that member would visit later. But the sight of long queue shredded this thought and we got separated from gang to deposit the electronic gadgets in the locker. Later handsfree, we visited the shrine, there is a separate queue for ladies and gents. The sanctum sanctorum of the Goddess is in a long cave with a narrow opening. There is no idol or sculpture of Goddess but three 'Pindies' signifying the collective spiritual strengths of Matha Saraswati, Matha Lakshmi and Maha Kali.The 3 Goddess embody the creative, preservative, and destructive aspects of the Supreme Power. The scenery of Trikoota mountains is breathtaking.I collected the coin presented to every pilgrim as a token.After the darshan, I could not find my husband(Pradeepji) ,nor other members of my family, without any mobile, cash , I felt helpless, hungry thirsty . This separation was un anticipated, we had never ever thought that exit points would be different. When I decided to take help from announcement desk, suddenly I spotted my husband ( due to his orange color shirt). We ended up waiting for each other in different sides of the temple.After collecting the baggage ,we had lunch of dosa and bhaji ( service by Nirmala travels!!) .A thought came to my mind that without visit to Bhairo this yatra is incomplete. Hired a pony to carry us to Bhairo and back to Bhanaganga. Balancing the pony uphill and downhill is a delicate ,risky act, while ascending the rider has to bend down forward and while descending the rider has to bend back. Pradeepji was almost on the verge of fall from pony but I believe it is due to the blessings and kindness of Mata Rani, the pony walah held him tight. No part of his body was hurt, nervousness was evident in his face throughout the ride. Finally reached our hotel at 6.00 pm.By then my aunt and uncle had reached the hotel.My sister and her family had lot of experiences to share.Best practices to be followed when visiting any popular temple siteTemples are thronged by more than 1 lakh devotees during holidays, it is a test to will power and patience, better to defer the visitAlways decide a meeting place outside the temple , before getting into the temple, in case the partners (members )get seperated into different queues , not finding them after darshan of diety ,the experience can be disgustingKeep cash in different pockets , using waist body wallet is another option to diversify risk of losing moneyPreserve the yatra parchi till the end of journey, it comes as an insurance coverNote down the registration no of service people such as pony wallah, pittus and drivers
By morning when I woke up ,I heard that hot water is available for bath but after pouring the 1st mug only I realised that it was like cold water which I get in Chennai during winter. Then I got the darshan of vaishnavo devi. Spent sometime in the temple, amidst the calmness recollecting all that I have been doing and writing them down. Then I decided to get down and reached the banganga by 1'clock around .
We again started our journey towards the temple and reached around 10 AM, it dint take long as there was less que and we completed the darshan within 1 hour. From there we went to Bhairavnath temple, which was again an ascend and it took us approx 1 Hour to complete it and then we started our descend.We reached our base around 4 PM and went back to hotel room.PS: If you aren’t habituated sitting on the horse back, be ready for a lot of pain in the bum…haha
Cox & Kings
Today, embark on a 14 km trek to the Vaishno Devi Mata Shrine where ponies can be hired on direct payment basis. Vaishno Devi Temple is one of the most sacred Hindu shrines in India, is located at a height of 5,200 feet on the hills of the Trikuta range. The temple consists of a cave shrine dedicated to the Hindu goddess, Vaishno Devi. After darshan, return to your hotel. Overnight in Katra (B)You can stay at-
This trip provides ample opportunities to view natural scenery of Shiwalik hills, and main temple complex. The view of Bhawan from terrace of Bhairon Baba temple is spectacular, which can be fully appreciated by visiting this place only. View of Katra town during night from Ardhquari hill is also impressive. The shrine board has made excellent arrangements for pilgrims, perhaps one of the best managed spiritual centers in the country. Pictures by Rakesh Giri Goswami & Manju Lata Goswami.
Winter not only affects humans but animals equally, picture of a Langoor protecting himself in a Dharamshala or rest house at Ardhkwari which is midway halt  point for most of pilgrims.
Ruchi Jain
Vaishno Devi is a holy shrine which is located in Katra, almost 60 km from Jammu city. The darshan of the is hardly of 20 seconds and devotees have access to pony and helicopter. It is 12 km from katra. We went on foot which took us almost 5 hours to reach bhawan and another 1 hour for darshan. Devotees chant the line "Jai mata di". Its more like a picnic spot where you just keep on walking and walking with shops on both the sides selling maggies the most. The facilities provided are splendid as you have blankets, washrooms at every 20 minutes, guest houses and shops which make you forget the obstacles and distance, making you enjoy your visit to the shrine.
Mayank Raj
One we reached Jammu, after breakfast, we embarked on a road journey to Katra. Katra, lying at the foothills of Trikuta Mountains, is the base camp for pilgrims trekking to Vaishno Devi and Baba Bhairo Nath. As these are some of the most famous shrines in the country, Katra has a thriving tourism industry. Thus, this town is marked by an array of accommodation units, restaurants, fast food eateries and traditional markets. The markets are popular for dry fruits, wooden articles, woollen garments and leather jackets. Upon arrival, checked-in at the hotel The White Hotels and enjoyed the rest of the day in leisure activities. Thereafter, retreated to the hotel and stayed overnight. .After relishing our breakfast, we undertook an excursion to the Vaishno Devi shrine for darshan. The shrine, around 13 km up, has a well-laid path. You can either walk on foot or hire ponies and palkies. Located at a height of 5200 feet, the cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi or Trikuta Bhagwati is surrounded by mountains and lush greenery. Inside the cave shrine are three revered rocks called the Pindies. As per popular beliefs, if anyone comes to this place with a wish, the Mother Goddess fulfills it. This unflinching faith attracts millions of devotees every year and makes this shrine one of the most revered pilgrimage sites in the country. After seeking blessings of Mata Vaishno Devi, returned to Katra in the evening. Enjoyed a comfortable overnight stay at the hotel. After breakfast the following day, we got ourselves transferred to the Jammu Airport for our return journey.