Trip plan for Mata Vaishno Devi

Mata Vaishno darshan is very convenient now after Shrine Board has taken over the command. Devotees of all age groups can come and pay visit to the holy shrine as per their comfort levels.

To begin you need to first reach Jammu which is easily accessible by Flight or Indian Railways. Once you reach Jammu railway station, you will need to catch a bus to reach Katra. Katra is the base from where you start the ascend for Darshan.

Once in Jammu you can take a cab also for better comfort. Otherwise right opposite to the railway station is the bus stop from where buses ply at regular intervals. There should be luxury buses also available but their plying frequency is low. The journey from Jammu to Katra takes about maximum 2 hours. In a private transport it will surely be less than that.

If you land at Jammu airport, you can hire a cab which should take least possible time. The bus tends of stop at their pet eating place for probably free lunch and commission. The hotel in Katra where you will be staying can also arrange for a pickup from airport.

Katra is where the bustling is due to all the hotel presence, restaurants and all kind of devotional services. Depending on the level of comfort you prefer, you can get it. We stayed in Hotel Orchid which was a 5 star rated hotel and is very comfortable. In case you have any elderly person with you, I would recommend it.

Any hotel in Katra will be happy to drop you at the place from where the actual climb starts. To climb the 12 km you have 5 options. Further 2 km up is Bhairon temple which is little steep but can be done slowly and steadily. I have been there on foot only so not much idea on other means of transport to that destination.

The 5 options for first 12 km are:

  1. Walk all the way up
  2. Pony ride
  3. Seat ride. In this mode you sit in a small box kind chair and 4 people will lift you till the top.
  4. Battery operated green vehicles
  5. Helicopter ride. This is till mata vaishno devi cave and not to Bhairon. It will cost you about 1500 per person and is a 10 min joy ride. Best for people running short of time or any other physical challenge.

Whatever you plan to do decide at the base that you need to do the full 14 km or skip the last 2 km journey to Bhairon temple. This will make you mentally prepared for the complete journey.

You can start the climb at any time of the day and come down also any time. The route is busy 24X7 and you will find lot of people of your way up or down. For night times at the Darshan, carry some woolen clothes. Climbing up in day time might make you sweat but the night time can get little chilly. Darshan is open 24 hours and hence night trek is also possible through all 5 means mentioned above.

Once you have reached the top at 12 km, you need to get in a queue which can be long of festival times and summer vacations. You can carry some general medicines otherwise the altitude is not that high to cause any problems. In case any irritation or any other problem comes up, there are health check centers at some distances on the route up.

At Katra, there are hotels/lodges/rooms at all price levels ranging from probably Rs 500 to Rs 10,000. I have stayed at vanilla rooms as well as 5 star rooms. You pay for the services you are expecting. The economical ones are operated by Shrine board but they are the first ones to get filled. Also they are the preferred ones among political folks.

More information about Green Vehicles (Battery operated ones):  They are shared Tempo service colored in green due to their operation by battery. The charge would be around 100-150. It might have gone up and nothing to worry as they are operated by Shrine Board itself.

I have written about the experience with some photos in this pdf document for download as a reference.

Wishing all you travelers a happy darshan. Jai Mata di!

Comments

comments

27 thoughts on “Trip plan for Mata Vaishno Devi”

  1. Excelent post dear. I got all information what I needed for my trip! Thanks again for sharing your experience.
    Warm regards,
    Arvind

  2. Hey very well written blog.I plan to go with my parents soon.Could u plez tell me if there buses directly from Jammu airport to Katra or do I need to go the bus stand. Cabs are out of budget for me.

    1. Hey Rajiv,

      I know of regular bus service from Jammu railway station to Katra. I am not sure of direct buses from Airport.

      On return I took a cab from hotel to airport directly.

  3. H Sarthak.
    Is there any train from Jaipur to Jammu.
    Actually i want to go with my mammi but really i don’t know how to go from here to vaishno devi.
    PLease tell me the way which should not be so expensive.
    and in which month we should go.
    rply soon
    thanks

    1. I have always made Delhi as my base and then taken a train/flight to Jammu. Overnight train is a comfortable journey.

      After reaching Jammu station, take the local transport bus to Katra which will take about 3 hrs. There are plenty of budget hotels from where you can directly start the climb to top.

      Don’t go during the children summer/winter vacation. Other days should be manageable rush. Even at rush times, the darshan organization is done very well and well managed.

      Don’t worry and just plan the trip. I am sure you will enjoy the trip.

      Jai mata di

    1. Hi Rohit,

      It should be ok in August. The day temperature is expected to be hot. The evening can get pleasant and it will be a good idea to carry something warm as well.

      Katra to Bhawan can be done in multiple modes of transport
      1. Walk,
      2. Battery Vehicles
      3. Mules
      4. Palki

      It is about 12 km till Bhawan and expect to take about 5 hours by walk. The other modes will take less time.

      There is no timing issue as the walking path is open 24 hours and every time you find some or the other devotee either going up and coming down.

      Jai mata di

  4. Thanks for your reply.
    How to go from Jammu airport to Katra?
    Are buses available? or one need to hire taxi only?
    Actually, going first time, so many confusions.

    1. Hi Rohit. No problems for any sort of queries.
      I will prefer you take a taxi to the hotel in Katra. You can even ask for the hotel to arrange for the pickup from Jammu airport. They might charge a little extra but a lot of headache will be over.

  5. Hi Sarthak,

    can you tel if i can complete the trek in night..can i start at 11pm and complete it by 8 am..i hope i can get the darshan of i trek at night..please let me the infor if u have abt the night darshan..thanks..

    1. The cost may be around Rs 100-150. This is my guess as I have traveled by it only once. I have always gone by foot.

      Since these vehicles are controlled by the Shrine board authority, feel safe of being cheated even if it is past mid nights.

  6. Nice blog.. could u please elaborate on green vehicles. Are there any restriction or anybody can hire. can u book them in advance. Also could u please tell where to keep the luggage before starting the climb, I,m straight away coming from jammu airport for ascent. Thanks

    1. I have used it once log time back to feel the experience and it was good. People of all ages can use it, just the preference is given to old/disabled.

      You cannot book them in advance. The service might have started now but safe to assume that it is not there.

      I am not sure of locker facility on the place where the ascent begins. There are lockers when you are about to go for Darshan on the top. However you can check at the bus stand for locker facility. Also you need a registration ticket to start your ascent from Shrine Board office, you can check there as well. Am pretty sure, you will get a place easily to safe your luggage.

      1. Hi Pragat,

        There are rooms near bhawan for overnight stay but you need to take a booking slip from Shrine board before you start the ascend.

        Once the slip it given, it is a confirmation of your room. The payment has to be done at the top.

        Generally they are hard to get until you have a recommendation letter from some VIP govt official.

        I have never stayed as you do not feel tired after darshan. The road is also active 24×7 with people so no issues coming down the same day.

        Jai mata di!

  7. Sarthak
    Thanks for the useful content.
    I would be visiting Vaishno Devi in May first week. It would be a group of 15 people (age from 27 to 40).

    I seek your advise as I am in a bit of confusion here. After reaching Katra how much time would it take to Bhawan, Bhairon temple & then return ( including Darshan time), travelling on foot all the way. If I reach 2 May morning around 10AM at Katra, would it be possible to return same day (2 May) evening.
    Based on that I would book my return train tickets.

    Please suggest. I would be thankful to you.

  8. @Anand
    Please note that you are nearing the summer vacation time (and the weekend around May 2,2014) and the number of people is expected to increase.

    Once you start from Katra, please expect 12 hours total return time by foot. It may be less for younger folks in your group, but keep it as an average.

    Looking at the time, it depends on what time of the day you plan to start the uphill climb.

    I would prefer if you can stay in Katra on return for a night to ensure all the group members are back energized and fine on the following day.

    Jai mata di!

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