How To Visit Vaishnodevi Katra | Maa Vaishno Devi Yatra [2022]

Planning to visit Maa Vaishnodevi Mandir (Temple) and looking for details of Vaishnodevi yatra?

You have reached the correct place.

In this post, I have shared my personal experience and other details that will help you plan your yatra better.

Let's get started, Jai Mata Di...

    Who is Vaishnodevi?

    Vaishnodevi, popularly known as Maa Vaishno Devi is a Hindu Goddess. 

    Maa Vaishnodevi is the incarnation of Goddess Laxmi. It is said that Bhairavnath tried to capture her when she was a little child.

    She fled towards Trikuta mountain, into the caves to protect herself.

    There she prayed for months and reemerged as Goddess Kali to kill Bhairavnath.

    Bhairavnath repented for his sins and asked forgiveness. 

    Maa Vaishnodevi forgave him and since then the Vaishnodevi yatra is not complete without visiting Bhairavnath temple.

    Where is Vaishnodevi?

    Vaishnodevi Temple is located in Katra.

    Katra is around 50km from Jammu, a state in the north most part of India.

    How To Reach Vaishnodevi, Katra?

    Maa Vaishnodevi Temple is located on top of mountain Trikuta.

    Trikuta mountain is in Katra. You can reach Katra using any of the following means:

    1. Katra By Flight:

    The nearest airport to Katra is Jammu airport. You can reach there by flight and from their you need to take a cab to Katra.

    Katra is well connected with other parts of India, most of the flights are via Delhi.

    2. Katra By Train:

    Few of the trains will take you directly to Katra but most of the trains end at  Jammu Tavi railway station.

    Jammu Tavi is well connected with other states via train. In some cases, you may have to change train from Delhi railway station.

    From Jammu Tavi, you can either take a taxi or bus till katra. Its around 1-2hours ride.

    Delhi to Vaishno Devi Train

    You will find daily trains from Delhi to Vaishno Devi (Katra) in case there is no direct train from the place you are traveling.

    3. Katra By Bus:

    You can also take a bus from New Delhi to Katra in case you do not get train reservation. Its around 10hr journey.

    Vaishno Devi from Katra

    To visit Maa Vaishno Devi Temple, also called as Bhavan, its a climb of around 25km from the base called Ban Ganga.

    Ban Ganga is around 1-1.5km from Katra Bus station and Katra railway station.

    At Ban Ganga entry point, you will be thoroughly checked for any prohibited item like fire arms, alcohol, cigarette, tambakhu etc

    There are many more check post on the route where you will be checked for possession of any prohibited stuff.

    Note: When Covid protocol is enforced, you will also be checked for Yatra Parchi (Visit Slip). 

    When I visited in May 2022, covid protocol was not in place hence I was not asked for it though I was carrying it.

    More on Yatra Parchi in the section below.

    Ban Ganga Ghat:

    There are two ghats where you may want to take a bath/sprinkle water on yourself, wash feet and hands before moving ahead with your trek.

    Second Ghat is around 500m ahead of the first one.

    Note: Don't expect too much water in Ghat, its just good enough to wet your face, feet etc.

    Ardh Kuvari:

    On the way, you will cross paduka and few more land marks, the biggest one being Ardh Kuvari.

    Note: Ardh Kuvari is almost half way to Bhavan. 

    You will have to take a token for Ardh Kuvari darshan. People are sent in batch of 40 for Ardh Kuvari darshan.

    You will have to keep all your belongings (except the cloths you are wearing)  in a locker.

    Note: You may have to wait for almost a day or more for Ardh kuvari darshan, most of the people take the token and visit Ardh Kuvari on their way back.

    In case you don't want to visit Ardh Kuvari, you can save around 1km of walk by taking the diversion, watch for the directions.

    Note: You may miss this direction if you take stairs.

    Maa VaishnoDevi Temple or Bhavan

    You will have to keep all your belongings (except the cloths you are wearing)  in a locker. Do keep some cash in your pocket before depositing wallet in the locker.

    The locker facility if free but at times you may end up waiting for few hours to get access to locker.

    Note: There are multiple locker facilities available at Bhavan, so do not get stuck at the first one itself.

    Buy prasad (bhaint) upfront, before standing in the queue in case you want to offer it to the Goddess.

    You will be give an token along with the prasad (coconut) that you can offer. Once you are coming out after darshan, you will have to show the token and get the prasad.

    Stand in the queue for the darshan, you no longer are allowed to pass through the narrow cave (vaishno devi gufa) but you can view it on your way to Maa Vaishnodevi darshan.

    The Darshan will be short, you will not be allowed to stand for more than a second and the security will ask you to keep on moving.

    Note: You can break from the queue after darshan and stand in a corner for few minute, security may not bother you as long as you are not hindering queue movement.

    Bhairo Baba Darshan

    Your darshan will not complete till you visit Bhairo baba, the Bhairo Baba temple is further 2km ahead.

    You can either go on feet (2KM trek) or take rope way till there, it will cost you Rs.100 for return trip.

    More on rope way in the section below. 

    Back to Katra from Bhavan

    The return journey will be bit faster but be careful, you may sprain your ankle or put extra stress on your knees.

    Is walking the only way to reach Vaishno Devi Temple?

     In case you do not want/cannot walk/climb the 15km of stretch, there are various other options available.

    Vaishno Devi by Helicopter

    You can use the Helicopter service where it will drop you around 2km from Bhavan.

    From there either you can walk or take a horse ride or a palki.

    Note: You will have to do online booking around 2-3monts in advance. Do not believe local agents, there is a scam for helicopter booking.

    Vaishno Devi On Horse Back

    From Ban Ganga, you can get a horse till Ardh Kuvari or Bhavan.

    Vaishno Devi On Palki

    From Ban Ganga, you can get a palki till Ardh Kuvari or Bhavan

    E-vehicle to Vaishno Devi

    From Ardh Kuvari, you can take the electric car. Better book it online else in offline mode preference will be given to old age or differently enabled people.

    This facility is available from 1030am till 5-6pm only.

    Ardhkuwari to Bhavan Tarakot route

    There is an alternate route from Ardhkuwari to Bhavan, its named as Tarakot.

    It did not have covered shed at the time I visited, so avoid this if you are going in the morning.

    During evening it will be pleasant with no horse or palki traffic but there will be no shops as well.

    Bhavan To Bhairavnath Rope way

    Once you have done Devi darshan, you can visit Bhairavnath via rope way.

    There is a separate queue for it and around 40 people are allowed in the ropeway cabin in one time.

    Don't get overwhelmed by the ropeway queue, it gets over quickly once the ticket counter starts.

    The ticket cost Rs.100/- per person for return trip, even if you want one way you will have to pay Rs.100/-

    Timing is from 730am till 430-5pm.

    Shrine Board rates for Pony, Pithoo, Palki

    Destination Pony Pithoo Palki Helicopter
    Katra To Bhavan Rs.1250 Rs.540 Rs.3150 Rs.1800
    Katra To AdhKuari Rs.650 Rs.340 Rs.1850

    VaishnoDevi Food Options

    You will find many food stalls, juice stalls on your way till AdhKuari, after that there is very less option.

    There is a langar around 1km from entrance, named after T-series owner late Gulshan Kumar. Previously it use to be open 24 by 7 but now it opens around 11am till 3pm.

    Water outlets are present along the way, so no need to carry too much water with you.

    Note: Do carry enough cash, smaller notes the better. You may face issues with wallet payments due to signal issues.

    There are few ATM's on the way but I found "No Cash" or not operational sigh boards, so don't be dependent on it.

    VaishnoDevi Toilet Options

    You will find clean toilets along the way till Bhavan at the gap of every few km.

    VaishnoDevi Medical Emergency

    Its recommended  not to take this yatra if you are not feeling 100% fit.

    In case of any emergencies, there are few medical centers on the way, you can take their service.

    Vaishno Devi Temperature

    Being on the mountain, the weather in Vaishno devi is pretty cold as compared to the base.

    Vaishno Devi Shrine Board

    Managing the huge inflow of devotees is a humangus task.

    To manage the whole yatra, safety and convenience of devotees, vaishno devi shrine board has been formed.

    Vaishno Devi Images

    Vaishnodevi Hotel

    There is no dearth of Hotels at Katra. You can book hotels online of just show up at Katra bus stop/train station and there will be many agents chasing you for hotel room.

    You can also opt for Vaishnodevi shrine board stay options. 

    Shrine board offers AC rooms, non-ac rooms, dormitory but make sure to book it online months in advance else these may not be available for offline booking.

    Vaishno Devi Yatra Parchi

    To streamline the number of visitors to this pias shrine, Vaishnodevi shrine board introduced Yatra Parchi.

    You can get this yatra parchi either online or offline, free of cost. All you need is your Aadhar card.

    You can either take a print or carry the soft copy on your phone.

    Note: Pre paid mobile network do not work in Jammu, so if you want to stay connected, get a post paid or a sim in Jammu.


    Vaishnodevi Yatra is not an easy one, with proper planning and guidance provided in this post, you will be able to make it more comfortable for yourself and your family.