9 Things to Know Before Visiting Mata Vaishno Devi

If your plan laid out to visit Maa Vaishno Devi, consider your arrival being approved by Mata.

Blog Home | Surbhi Mishra | 15-06-2022

Named after Vishnu (the preserver of the world), Mata Vaishno Devi is a manifestation of the power of Mahadevis. The divinity was brought into this world to restore peace and order and mitigate the devotees’ hardships. After fulfilling her purpose by getting rid of demons, Vaishnavi retired to Trikuta Hills in the Shivalik Hill Range, where she became ardently known as Mata Vaishno Devi. Widely believed and famous for granting wishful boons to her devotees, Mata Vaishno Devi is fervently worshipped by devotees who arrive here to free themselves from the shackles of life. 

People throng in thousands to visit the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi in Katra. The arduous journey, meandering route, doesn’t matter as long as the flame of undying faith ignites in the heart of the devotees. And when they do arrive, it is said that Mata Vaishno Devi grants access to her divine Darshan, for one can never reach here against her wishes. 

So, if your journey ticket is booked and a plan laid out to visit Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, consider your arrival being approved by Mata. And though the destination is known, here are a few things you need to know before embarking on this religious journey. 

1- Know the route to reach Mata Vaishno Devi: 

Things to Know before visiting Vaoshno Devi
Arrive at the route leading to Maa Vaishno Devi shrine. Image: Shutterstock

To reach Mata Vaishno Devi’s abode, you must first arrive in Katra. However, Katra doesn’t have an airport. So, the nearest Airport for you would be Satwari Airport(Jammu Airport) in Jammu. Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Railway Station is where you will board if you are travelling by train. Know how to reach in detail here.

Upon reaching the Cave, seek the blessings of Mata Vaishno Devi and three Holy Pindies, a symbol of the divine power of Supreme Goddess Kali, Lakshmi and Saraswati.

2- Registrations are required for the Yatra.

After arriving at the destination, you must obtain a Yatra Slip from the Yatra Registration Counter at Katra. This is merely a procedure to register yourself and other members before moving ahead to seek the Darshan of Mata Vaishno Devi. Know that the registration is free of charge, and the Yatra slip is only valid for the next 6 hours until you cross the first checkpoint after the slip issuance.

3- Avail the Pony and Palki Services on Yatra

Vaishno Devi Tourism
Hire Pony ride on your way to Katra Mata Vaishno Devi. Image: Shutterstock

The authority facilitates the services of Pony rides and Palkies for the devotees facing health problems and senior citizens having difficulty walking. All the instructions and information are mentioned clearly on signboards. You can also get the rates of the Pony/Palkies at the Assistance Centres located at different places.

4- You can pre-book the Helicopter Service.

Vaishno Devi Temple
Hire a helipad service from Katra to Sanjhichatt. Image: Shutterstock

Helipad services are available from Katra to Sanjhichatt, which will fly you above the clouds and to the sacred abode of Mata’s shrine. You will be required to submit proof of travel documents and ID proof of family members who will be availing of this service and register them to get the Yatra slip. Charges per person are Rs. 1800 one way.

5- Bhairon Nath Temple is a must-visit

Bhairo Mandir Vaishno Devi
Bhairon Nath Temple ahead of Maa Vaishno Devi temple. Image:

Lying at a higher elevation is Bhairon Nath Temple, 5-km from Mata’s shrine. It is believed that visiting Bhairon Temple is mandatory to complete the pilgrimage successfully. In his dying moments, Bhairon Nath begged Mata for forgiveness. Mata forgave him and granted the boon that no visit to her shrine would be complete without offering obeisance to his temple. His temple is said to guard the Mata’s shrine.

6- Pay a visit to Ardhkuwari Devi

Visit Mata Vaishno Devi
Ardhkuwari Cave where Mata did penance for nine months. Image: Amar Ujala

Before Mata chose her abode at Trikuta hills, she did her penance for nine months here at Ardhkuwari Cave. The Cave, situated 6 km from the main shrine, holds an important religious significance. And so it is a top tourist sightseeing destination in Katra, Mata Vaishno Devi. Ardhkuwari Cave is 3.25 km away from Sanjichhat, the landing spot of the Helicopter service.

7- A Homely Stay

Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine
Bhawan, the main complex is furnished with all the facilities. Image: Shutterstock

Facilities of all kinds are available, from lodging, eateries, and religious shopping at the main complex, also known as Bhawan. Accommodation facilities are available free of cost as well as one can rent based on their preference. 

8- Best Time to Visit: 

March to June

Usually, people prefer to travel in Summer as the weather is pleasant and the place is less crowded. With the onset of Dussehra and Navratri, the autumn season sees a heavy rush to Mata’s shrine. Monsoon makes it slippery to trek the trail, and heavy winter snow obstructs the route, which is why Summer and Autumn are the best seasons to visit Maa’s temple.

9- Places to Explore & Things to Do

mata vaishno devi
Ban Ganga, an important tributary of River Chenab, holds a religious significance among devotees. Image: TripAdvisor

After the divinity Darshan and blessed with Maa’s prasad, one can explore other religious points associated with Mata Vaishno Devi, such as Ban Ganga. Know the history behind its origin/significance and why it is famous. There are other religious places to visit, such as Gurudwara Dera Baba Banda, Baba Dhansar, Raghunath Temple, etc. You can also shop for souvenirs. If you are seeking adventure, raft the icy water of River Chenab.

About the author

Surbhi Mishra
A travel lover and moody chef, Surbhi loves to read & write and doodle in her free time. For her, being able to write is a blessing, and to keep at it—a work-in-progress. When not working, you can find her swimming her worries away, dancing to the beats, or filling up her bucket list to tick them off.