Long Weekend Trip to Vaishnodevi

25th Jan 2018
Photo of Long Weekend Trip to Vaishnodevi by nivedita1220


For pictures, go to the original blog: https://nivedita1220.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/long-weekend-trip-to-vaishnodevi/


When you’re an adult and your father tells you that he has planned and paid for a trip to Vaishnodevi during an upcoming long weekend, it’s a more than welcome surprise!

Our trip to Vaishnodevi was planned between 25th – 29th January 2018. We traveled by ‘Uttar Sampark Kranti’ which runs between New Delhi & Katra. Note that this train has only 2 third AC coaches, so availability is an issue. We were at RAC 19 in November 2017 & we were at the same number on the day of travel. Luckily there was one seat available and the TT arranged that seat for us (no money charged). The other surprise in store for us was that considering mom’s health, Dad had booked seats in the helicopter service from Katra. Ours was a Global red coloured chopper, nick-named Birdie. The helicopter starts from Katra and goes up to Sanjhi Chhat in about 8 minutes. From there on Bhawan is about 2.5 kms. It’s an almost downhill path with some uphill patches.

Day 1

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. 

We reached Ardhkunwari around 9:00 pm. The stars were twinkling bright in the sky and beneath us we could see Katra lit up like a constellation of its own kind! Ardhkunwari was crowded as always, people had started to sleep on the pavement in front of the temple. We had booked a dormitory in Shailputri Guest House. We rented blankets and went to our Dormitory. Unfortunately, we shared the dormitory with a group of highly noisy and inconsiderate guys, hence couldn’t sleep well. The next morning was bright and sunny. We had breakfast at Sagar Ratna and started our descent at 10:30 am. Even though it was sunny, the wind was cool and strong. The number of people going to Bhawan was huge. 

Day 2

We reached Katra, covering 7 kms at a relaxed pace, around 1:30 pm. From there we took an auto to the railway station. We were at the railway station by 2:15 pm. Now I must praise Katra railway station, which is a recent development that I’m really proud of. The station is not a fancy multi-storied concrete ornament for the state of Katra. Instead, it’s a government building which makes one feel instantly at home. Its design and location complements the feeling of the state and doesn’t compromise on the basic hygiene and other facilities. Our train back to Delhi was scheduled to start at 7:00 pm & we had not decided what we would do in the 5 hours that we had in our hands. However, as soon as we saw the open lawn at the station, with the sun shining bright in the backdrop of the Himalayas, we instantly ran to it, dropped our luggage near some plants, and knew in our hearts that we’re going to spend all our time there, under the sun, on the grass, appreciating the scenery! We had a late lunch in the IRCTC restaurant on the first floor of the station. The restaurant setup is beautiful and the food is good too! We bought some souvenirs from the gift shop next to the restaurant and boarded the train around 6:30 pm. Our journey would have been flawless, if a bunch of guys could use earphones for listening to music at 5:00 am in the next morning! ????

If you need any help in planning your trip to Vaishnodevi, feel free to ask in the comments section. Jai Mata Di! :)