My Journey to The Vaishno Devi Temple
Jammu and Kashmir,  Travel

My Journey to The Vaishno Devi Temple

During my last holidays, me and my family made a memorable trip to the temple of Vaishno Mata, which is located on the lap of the marvelous Trikuta Mountain at Katra, Jammu and Kashmir. This place is almost about 1560m above the sea level, which attracts millions of devotees every day.

How do you get there?

There are many ways to reach Katra, like you have the option to avail direct flights, buses, and trains from New Delhi to Katra. Previously, there was only one overnight train from Delhi to Jammu and then 3 hours bus journey to the actual destination i.e. Katra. But, I experienced an overnight train journey from Delhi to direct Katra by Jammu Mail. Staying is pretty reasonable here as you have many options to choose from.  

My Journey to The Vaishno Devi Temple

Way to the temple:

The Shrine Board issue receipts at the Katra in order to control the number of pilgrims in the Bhavan. It is of utmost importance to collect this receipt because this is your ticket to enter the temple. Further, it’s a choice for the people if they are interested in hiking from Katra to Bhavan by foot or not as you also have options like palkis (Indian old royal transportation technique), ride on the pony or even a helicopter ride. You also can hire a pithoo (porters) who will carry your luggage from Katra to Bhavan and vice versa. The biggest majority of devotees walk all the way up & down as we did the same. On the way, you will be able to buy Prasad to offer the mother goddess.

The hike can be done on the paved path or up the stairs( shorter distance but steep and tiring). There are numerous foods and utility shops throughout the hike. And there are of course the Dhabas which serve the complete meal and the tastiest meal out there is Rajma-Chawal.

There is a midway stop at Adhkawar, this is where the Mother Goddess meditated for 9 months in a cave attaining spiritual powers and wisdom. Though I was unable to visit but expecting this at the next time.

My Journey to The Vaishno Devi Temple

At the Bhavan:

A typical start with freezing cold weather and water being showered on us. The actual manifestation of Mata Vaishno Devi resides at one end of this cave. In the morning, around 5:30 a.m. we finally reached and worshipped the Deity for just 2-5 seconds because of the continuous churn of devotees and we exited from the other end of the tunnel. The pilgrims keep reciting JAI MATA DI throughout the journey from Katra to Bhavan.

My Journey to The Vaishno Devi Temple

 Bhairon Mandir:

After worshipping the goddess, we headed towards Bhairon Mandir. Some devotees skipped a visit to this temple because of the high altitude and steepness of the hike. This is the highest elevation of 6600 feet in the entire trip. For this trip,  would love to suggest you to carry your camera to capture the exact and live view of Himalayas.

 After worshipping at this Bhairon Mandir, the downhill hike starts. However, be extra cautious of the monkeys on the way coming back as they might pounce upon you if you are using commonly used bags for the Prasad.

My Journey to The Vaishno Devi Temple

Back home:

We took again the same train and back to Delhi.

This was my first trip and I must say I’m really thankful for the Mata’s call.


  • Paul RYKEN

    Did you find many westerners on your hike? How far was the hike in kilometres?

    I’ve taken note for when we travel to India next year. Thank you for the insight.

    • admin

      Hi Paul, First of all thanks for the questions. Firstly westerns do visit this place, in this context, I would love to suggest you to wear Indian traditional dress while visiting this place. FYI, this hike is almost about 12 kms. Hope these helped you a lot and all the best for your India trip.

  • Epepa Travel Blog

    Wow! It looks like a lost city from above. I would be happy to do some aerial photos with a drone, is it legal in this country? The views are really amazing. Thanks for showing a piece of the world about which I did not know.

  • Aditi Sharma

    We visited Vaishno Devi last summer during our trip to India. It was an amazing spiritual experience and your post brought back a lot of memories. I couldn’t help but recall the first time I had visited this pilgrimage site as a little kid. The entire route from Katra onwards has really developed so much now, making it easier for visitors to hike up to shrine for offering their prayers. Thanks for sharing all the detailed information.

  • Tamz

    Although I am not a very religious person, I still want to visit places like Vaishno Devi, Kedarnath and Mansarovar – not to pray or worship but for the amazing experience of hiking in the hills. Ventures like these are a different experience altogether.

  • Soumya Gayatri

    Never been to Vaishno Devi but I have quite a few friends who would like to go. This is an excellent article with details on how to get to the Vaishno Devi Temple and where to eat. I like the small tips like the fact about steep stairs and the delicious Rajma chawal. Will pass on this article to my friends.

  • Shane Prather

    I always try to make it to the temples of any Asian country. These are so unique and ornate. Sounds like quite the adventure making it out there to it but surely worth the trip!

  • Shreya Saha

    Wow, you have given a detailed insight on how to reach Vaishno Devi. My parents always wanted to go there and I think I can plan it out for them soon. Thanks for sharing such informative post.

  • Medha Verma

    So, in my childhood, I visited Vaishno Devi quite frequently with my family. The last I went, however, was more than a decade ago and I only go because of the hike, the experience overall, I am not a religious person at all! I love some of the aerial shots you’ve put, are those taken from a drone? Very interesting to see the temple from that perspective!

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