Mata Vaishno Devi: -
The Yatra begins at Katra and pilgrims have to cover 13 km. of terrain on foot to reach the Darbar. One kilometer away from Katra, you would find Ban Ganga, place where Mata quenched her thirst and at 6 km., the holy cave at Ardh Kuwari. Yatris are advised to obtain a Yatra Slip from the Yatra Registration Counter at the Tourism Reception Centre, Katra Bus Stand. Without an authentic Yatra Slip, crossing of Ban Ganga check post will not be allowed. The Yatra Slip is absolutely free but is necessary to commence the Yatra. You can obtain caps, canvas shoes, sticks etc. on hire for the Yatra. Pithus (people who carry weight on their backs) can be hired for carrying your luggage.
Mata Vaishno Devi Travel Guide and Information: -
The entire 13 km route is quite wide and tiled. Besides, the whole path is lit up every night by powerful sodium vapor lamps. The whole route is swept and cleaned from time to time throughout the day. Shelter cum sheds and shelter cum cafeterias are setup throughout the route. Pure vegetarian food is available at these outlets. Price charts are exhibited at all these outlets prominently. Drinking water has been made available all along the route, with water coolers and storage facilities. Public utilities with automatic flushing systems along the track and at the Bhawan have been facilitated.
After 6 km. of trekking, you will reach Ardh Kuwari, the holy cave where Mata meditated for nine months. After 9.5 km., you will reach Sanji Chhat where you can rest for sometime. Accommodation is also available at this place. Bhawan is just 3.5 km. away.
On reaching Bhawan, show your Yatra Slip at the Registration Office and obtain the Batch no. provided on the slip. This number is important as it will determine your place in the queue for darshan. On reaching Bhawan, have a bath and change your clothes. Be sure to get your luggage and leather items booked in the cloak rooms and obtain the receipt. Book the valuables separately and obtain the receipt. You can also get blankets on refundable deposit for Rs.100/Blanket. Buy Prasad, Chunri and Coconuts from the shops situated at the entrance of the Bhawan.
How to Reach
Vaishno Devi Temple can be reached after making a steep 13-km trek from the road head at Katra, the town at the foot of the Trikuta hills. Several porters and ponies are available at Katra on hire.
Jammu is the nearest railhead, which lies on the other side of the Tawi River. Jammu is very well connected with all major destinations in India by rail. Direct express trains link it with Mumbai, Delhi and Calcutta.
Jammu is the nearest airport. Jammu’s civil airport at Ranibagh is 9 km from the city center. Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Indian Airlines, runs flights to and from Delhi, Srinagar and Leh.
At Katra, private hotels, dharamshalas and government accommodation are also available. The accommodation offered by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) is of three types – free accommodation, rented rooms, and rented dormitories. Rented rooms/dormitories are available to the pilgrims against advance reservation.