The story about the Ban Ganga River in Katra

Learn the significance of the Ban Ganga river on your way to Mata Vaishno Devi Temple

Blog Home | Surbhi Mishra | 01-10-2022

A rivulet flows through Katra, which is considered a sacred spot for pilgrims on their way to the Holy Cave of Mata Vaishno Devi. The water body, aka Ban Ganga, is believed to be created by Mata Vaishno Devi. Ban, meaning arrow and Ganga, referring to the holy River Ganga, came into existence when Mata Vaishno Devi shot an arrow to quench the thirst of her companion Veer Langoor. Legend has it that he felt thirsty when Vaishnavi was heading to her abode in Trikuta Hills with Langoor-Veer by her side. In response, Vaishnavi shot an arrow into the ground, and a spring sprung up – which is today known as Ban Ganga.

Another story says that the Ban Ganga in Vaishno Devi is where Mata Vaishno Devi washed her hair. Thus, Ban is an alteration of Bal, meaning hair. Ban Ganga river is an important tributary of the River Chenab, originating from the southern slope of the Shivalik Range of the Himalayas. The river has two ghats where many Hindu devotees take a holy dip and is an important religious site for Hindu devotees, as it is a sacred river where devotees in Katra like to take a dip before continuing the Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra.

Read here: All You Need to Know About Ardhkuwari Mata Cave

Devotees taking a holy dip in the River Ban Ganga. Image: Tour My India

When travelling to Mata Vaishno Devi Temple, the first stop devotees come across is Ban Ganga. It lies approximately one km from the city Katra, which is the base camp for most pilgrims. Though Ban Ganga is sacred, devotees prefer to take a dip before going for religious significance. However, in the recent past, the river has had little to no water. Since the lockdown, the water got cleaner and hinted at the hope of revival. Thus, it is crucial to keep in mind the natural surroundings while traveling to a religious site. As responsible tourists, we must ensure no harm comes to Nature due to unethical activities and interference. 

When to Visit Ban Ganga

The best time to visit the Ban Ganga River is between March and October. This is when the river has the most water. However, there is little rain during the monsoon season, so the river has less water than usual. In the winter, the river’s water decreases or dries up.

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.