Katra or Katra Vaishno Devi, as it is popularly known, is a small town in the Reasi district of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, situated in the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains.
1. Vaishno Devi
Vaishno Devi is a manifestation of the Hindu goddess Mata Mahalakshmi (Mother of Great Wealth) and is revered at this temple, located in Katra, at the Trikuta Mountains, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The temple is 13.5 km (8.4 miles) from Katra and numerous manners of transport are obtainable to get from Katra to Bhawan, including ponies, electric vehicles and palanquin operated by two or four persons. Helicopter services are also available, to take you up to Sanjichhat, which is 9.5 km (5.9 miles) from Katra.
The trip to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine is one of the holiest and the most gruelling pilgrimages, for Hindus from all over the world. The shrine is located at an altitude of 5,300 feet (1,615.4 meters) and it is a difficult hike involving steep hills which require a lot of endurance and capability.
A prevalent belief states that when you receive a vision of Mata Vaishno Devi, you should take on the arduous trek to the holy shrine. Armed with the belief that Mata Vaishno Devi grants wishes to those who pursue her blessings, everyone attempts to make a pilgrimage to this site.
Address: Katra Road, Reasi District, Katra - 182301, Jammu and Kashmir
Phone: +91 01991 234 05
Website: Vaishno Devi
2. Nau Devi Cave Temple
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
The temple of Nau Devi (Nine Goddesses) is located inside a cave, 10 km (6.2 miles) from Katra, en route to Shivkhori. This cave temple has nine naturally carved idols of the goddesses, with silver crowns, inside a small cave. Considered to be more than 200 years old, the temple is encircled by a river and its location somehow exudes a magical feeling that you will experience once you reach the temple area. The view here is nothing short of overwhelming and it is an enjoyable place to visit in the evening, before sunset. However, if you are considering visiting the temple, do wear comfortable clothes, as you need to do some crawling inside the cave, to reach the temple.
Nau Devi Cave Temple
Address: Rheasi, Katra 180001, Jammu and Kashmir
3. Baba Dhansar
Baba Dhansar is a religious place, located at Karua Jheel, near Karua village, 17 km (10.6 miles) from Reasi, towards Katra. You will need to trek about 200 meters (656.2 feet), from the road to reach the site.
The temple of Baba Dhansar and a cave dedicated to lord Shiva, near Karua Jheel, have become a place of worship. Karua Jheel is considered sacred and bathing in the pond is not allowed, however, people are permitted to bathe downstream and it is believed that people who take a bath in the stream and pray with complete conviction, will have their wishes fulfilled. Many followers visit this place, every year, on the day of Mahashivratri.
Address: Karua Jheel, Village Karua, Reasi, Udhampur - 182301, Jammu and Kashmir
Website: Baba Dhansar
Shivkhori (Shiva’s Cave) is a natural cave, about 200 metres (656.2 feet) long, one metre (3.3 feet) wide and between two and three metres (6.6 to 9.8 feet) in height and contains a naturally made lingam (holy symbolic phallus symbol). It is located the Reasi district, about 140 km (87 miles) north of Jammu, 120 km (74.6 miles) from Udhampur and 80 km (49.7 miles) from Katra and is one of many shrines in this area, that attracts throngs of devotees, annually. Shivkhori itself is a site of pilgrimage and devotees need to travel about 3 km (1.9 miles) on foot, to reach the shrine.
The first entrance of the cave can accommodate 300 devotees at a time. However, the inner chamber of the cave is much smaller in size. One of the inner caves is thought to lead to Amarnath cave, in Kashmir, but it is currently closed to all people, as some sadhus (holy men) who ventured inside, never returned.
Address: Ransoo, Tehsil Reasi Sangar, Udhampur - 180001, Jammu and Kashmir
Contact: +91 9419640381, +91 01991 262068 / [email protected]
5. Jhajjar Kotli
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Jhajjar Kotli is lauded as one of the famous tourist centres in Jammu and Kashmir, due to its gorgeous, well-appointed and cool environment, sanctified by the unspoilt, refreshing waters of Jujjar. Jhajjar Kotli is a tourist complex, erected on the banks of the river Jujjar and is situated on the national highway, en route to Srinagar, the summer capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
This small vacation destination was constructed on the riverbanks of the Jhajjar stream, which falls through the gorges of the delightful state of Jammu & Kashmir. It often attracts large crowds of foreign travellers and locals to its picturesque picnic spots, during the summer. This is a relaxing location to get rid of all the stress of the city lifestyle and spend a well deserved, laid-back weekend.
The place is quaint and serene, providing you with the good company of nature, with no interruptions.
Address: NH1A, Mand, Katra - 182320, Jammu and Kashmir
Opening Hours: 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Contact: +91 94192 66356
Website: Jammu Kashmir Tourism
Inspiring moments are in abundance at Katra
Situated at the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains, Katra promotes itself as a good base for the important pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Vaishno Devi. From this quaint, yet significant pilgrimage town, tourists can easily get to this divine place, hoping that their god or goddess hears their prayers and fulfils their wishes. Katra does not leave out the other tourists who visit on the grounds of its scenic and topographical marvels and will reform them from the moment they arrive.
The tourism sector in the region takes care of a wide variety of visitors and offers vegetarian culinary delights that will heal your soul and shopping experiences for you to take home and reminisce on divine memories.
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