Tucked into the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains of Jammu and Kashmir, Katra serves as an annual pilgrimage for millions of Hindu devotees. It’s the gateway to Mata Vaishno Devi Temple, a holy shrine in the mountains, and boasts divine temples, caves and rivers.
Things to do in Katra
Mata Vaishno Devi shrine attracts pilgrims and curious travellers and it’s believed here the Goddess Mata Adi Shakti will grant your deepest wishes. Experience the cosmic energy of the holy temples, grounds and caves through chanting and meditation.
Temples populate the mountains along the pilgrimage, including Deva Mai Temple, where devotees perform religious rites. Bhairon Temple near Bhawan requires an arduous climb to towering heights in hopes of encountering a darshan, a holy image or deity. You’ll also encounter a havun kund consecrated fire with sacred ashes.
Visit the holy cave of Shiv Khori, which stretches almost 200 metres and is considered the best site for experiencing a darshan vision. The temple of Nau Devi sits within a cave with nine naturally carved idols representing nine goddesses with silver crowns.
In the city of Katra, dining is a multicultural affair. Try North Indian and regional Asian dishes at Madhuban or dig into Chinese food at Prem Vaishno Dhaba near the main bazaar. A favourite dhaba eatery is Pooja Vaishno Dhaba, where you can dine on home-cooked aloo parathas, masala dosa and kadi chawal.
Getting around Katra
Jammu Airport lies about 48 kilometres away. You can rent a car at the airport or use taxis and local buses to get around in town. Transportation options to the Vaishno Devi shrine include helicopters, electric vans, ponies and palki chairs.