Katra: Pilgrimage Destination in Jammu
The very mention of Jammu evokes the name of one of the highly revered pilgrimages in India - Goddess Vaishno Devi. And with it, Katra significantly into your imagination. From times immemorial, millions of tourists visiting Jammu have expressed how words fail when it comes to describing the beauty of this little holy paradise of North India.
Nestled in the foothills of Trikuta Mountains, the small town of Katra is known for being the base camp for Vaishno Devi Pilgrimage. One of the most important religious tourism destinations in India, it is situated in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Over the years, Katra tourism has witnessed the growth of several luxurious resorts, fast-food joints and comfortable accommodation for pilgrims and tourists alike. In a nutshell, a Travel to Katra is an interesting rendezvous to explore, time after time, with each journey leading to a different experience.
Major Tourist Attractions of Katra
Vaishno Devi Temple
The temple is the Holy Bhawan in form of a cave, which has three pindies (holy rock) that represent Goddess Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswati. They are known as Trikuta Bhagwati. To reach this cave, devotees have to trek about 14 kms, (pony, palki and helicopter are also available).
Second after Vaishno Devi pilgrimage, in terms of religious importance, it is known for the naturally formed Shiv Linga. This symbol of Hindu Lord Shiva holds enormous importance in worshipping and religious rituals. The famous Hindu festival of Maha Shivaratri is held with enormous importance in the region. The cave has the shape of Lord Shiva?s damru (small drum).
It is a strong belief among Hindus that a visit to Vaishno Devi is incomplete without a darshan of Bhairon baba. This is the reason, devotees walk a distance of 1.42 kms to visit the temple that is dedicated to the evil sage Bhairon Nath who was killed by Mata Vaishno Devi. Inside the temple is a rock that is believed to mark the place where Bhairon Nath?s head fell after being chopped off by the Goddess. Nearby is a havan kund for religious ceremonies.
Ardh Kuwari Cave
A holy cave and a stopover for tired pilgrims, this cave falls mid-way to the Vaishno Devi Shrine. As per legend, this is the place where the Goddess meditated for 9 months till Bhaironath traced her out. The place famous as Garbh Joon, people believe that by passing through the cave, one gets free from problems of childbirth. Miraculously this cave is of the shape of a pregnant mother who is carrying a child in here womb.
Dera Baba Banda
Katra Travel is incomplete without a visit to the Gurudwara constructed by Baba Banda Bairaagi. It attracts pilgrims from all walks of life. On the banks of Chenab River, this gurudwara is the venue for the three-day annual fair that attracts pilgrims is a major tourist attraction of Katra.
A cable car connects Bhawan and Bhairav Ghati at Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in Jammu to make the yatra easier and comfortable for the devotees. Devotees can use this facility with a very minimum fee and avoid the heavy footwork needed for the pilgrimage. There are two cars at present and 45 yatris can travel at a time.
Katra Vaishno Devi Tour made easy with Cable Car
Shopping in Katra
While shopping in Katra, look out for dry fruits, woollen and leather goods. Shawls, saris and chunri can also be purchased as memorable souvenir. Best places to go shopping are Ardh Kuwari Market, Lavanya Shopping Complex and Katra Main Bazaar.
Best Time to Visit
With its sub-tropical climate, the best time to indulge in Katra Tourism is from March to November. Do carry heavy woollen clothes during the months of winter.
How to Reach
Air: The Satwari Airport in Jammu is located 48 km away.
Rail: The nearest railhead is Jammu Tawi, located 47 km away.
Road: Regular bus services are available from Jammu, Chandigarh, Srinagar, Dalhousie, Amritsar, Kangra and Anantnag to Katra.
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