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Vaishno Devi Yatra – The Trek from Banganga to Bhawan 

Chalo Bulava Aaya Hai- Mata ne Bulaya Hai”, these beautiful words will encourage you to move one step closer to the Divine Vaishno Devi. As the legend says, a Vaishno Devi temple visit is not possible unless Maa Vaishno Devi calls you. So Cheer out loud “Prem Se Bolo Jay Mata Di” and start your wonderful journey to get Mata Vaishno Devi’s Blessings.

In the Indian Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir, a place named Katra is located where the journey of Mata Vaishno Devi starts. At an altitude of 5200 feet above sea level in the Trikuta Mountains Maa Vaishno Devi’s temple is situated. Devi resides in a cave where there are no images or murti. Mata lies in Pindis form i.e. natural rock formations. There are 3 pindis i.e. Mata Kali, Maa Saraswati and Maa Laxmi. The combined form is Maa Vaishno Devi.

Before starting your journey, It is advisable to have an eye on how to trek to Vaishno Devi, where to start, what to carry, procedures, bookings, do’s and don’ts all about the route. Here We will share all the necessary things you need to know. So, have patience and read further.

The Journey starts at Katra. Banganga is the checkpoint where your trek to Bhawan starts. The distance between these two is 1.5km.

How to Reach Katra?

By Road

Regular bus services are available to and from Katra. At affordable rates, the buses are available from New Delhi, Jammu Tawi, Amritsar and it continues. A shared taxi or cab can be booked after you arrive in Jammu.

By Rail

Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra railway station is the nearest railway station to Katra. Another is Jammu Tawi which is 47km by road and 31km by rail to Katra railway station. You can book your trains to and from here at your convenience.

The Katra Railway Station to Bhawan distance is 18.8km by road and by walk it is 15.6km.

By Air

The Jammu airport is the nearest airport to Katra. You can book a cab or taxi outside the airport. The distance between Katra and Jammu airport is 49.7 km.

Accommodations in Katra

There are plentiful residence options. Bhawan’s stay and other stay facilities are available. However, due to the heavy rush in Yatra, it is best to book your stay in Katra in advance to avoid discomfort and late arrival.

We provide you best options to accommodate in Katra including Dharamshala and Hotels. For a hassle-free safe journey book your stay with YatraDham.org.

How to Reach Vaishno Devi from Katra?

Vaishno Devi Yatra The trek from Banganga to Bhawan

Banganga Check Point in Katra, about 45 km from Jammu is the starting point of the Vaishno Devi Yatra. Due to security reasons, Only Postpaid connection will work. So if you don’t have a postpaid connection buy one to communicate. 

Distance between Banganga check post and Katra by walk is around 1.5km-1.7km depending on the route you choose.

Here is the distance table from Katra to the places on the route mentioned.

Distances from Katra, Altitude w.r.t. Mean Sea Level & Average Temperature
LocationDistance from KatraTemperature °C
WinterSummer
Min.Max.Min.Max.
Katra00 Km03152041
Banganga01 Km    
Charan Paduka02.5 Km    
Adhkuwari/ Ardhkuwari06 Km0114.51633
Himkoti08.5 Km    
Sanjichhat09.5 Km    
Bhawan13.0 Km– 02131530
Bhairon Ghati (Via Bhawan)14.5 Km– 03111226

The Vaishno Devi Yatra Route by Walk is Katra – Banganga – Charan Paduka – Adhkuwari – Himkoti – Sanjichhat – Bhawan – Bhairon Ghati (Via Bhawan).

Medium of Yatra

Before starting your trek to Maa Vaishno Devi, Make sure you are physically fit. If you have any health issues please avoid the yatra by walking. Carry the required medicines with you. Here are the mediums you can travel by.

  • Ride on Poni, Pitthoo, or Palakhis
  • Ropeway
  • Battery-operated car
  • Helicopter
  • By walk

Katra to Ardhkuwari (Midpoint of the yatra) (6-8 km)

There are two roadways to Ardhkuwari.

Route from Katra to ArdhkuwariDistance by Walk
1. Old Route (By Charan Paduka, Geeta Mandir)5.5 km
2.New Route (Steeper Route- Easy to come down)7.5 km

Ardhkuwari to Vaishno Devi Bhawan

RouteDistance by walkFacilities available
1 (Steep uphill)6.5km
2 (Less steep)5.5 kmBattery-operated car available

Maa Vaishno Devi Yatra on Pony, Pitthoo and Palkhis

Please verify the current rates from the signboards on the route or the assistant counters available at Katra or Banganga for your ride. Don’t give more than decided rates.

Banganga to Bhawan (around 13.5 km)Price One side/per person (May vary)
PonyINR 1250
PitthooINR 540
PalkhisINR 3150 

Vaishno Devi Yatra by Helicopter

The Helicopter rides are available from Katra to Sanjichhat(13.3km). You can book it one way or both sides. It is advisable to book in advance and not take a chance on arrival in Katra. You can book your helicopter ride from the Vaishno Devi shrine’s official website as well as from private companies.

Only 6 kg/per person of luggage is allowed. It will pass through a scanner. A VIP pass will be there for those who use helicopter services. They are allowed to enter the temple from Gate No. 13 which takes less time. There is no ticket for children below 2 years of age but it must travel in an adult’s lap.

The Katra helipad is 2km from the Katra bus stand by Udhampur Road. It will take a 30-minute hike of 2.5 km to reach Vaishno Devi Bhawan from Sanjichatt helipad. Ponies and Palkis are available from Sanjichatt to Bhawan.

The prices are as follows. The rates may differ.

Katra-Sanjichatt(9.5km)Same-day return / Next day returnSanjichatt- KatraPriceSame-day return / Next-day return
Himalayan Heli. serviceINR 2100INR 2100INR 4200
Global Vecta. serviceINR 2100INR 2100INR 4200

Vaishno Devi Yatra by Ropeway

From Vaishno Devi Mandir (Bhawan) to Bhaironji Temple, the Ropeway service is available. The beautiful view can be seen from the airway. From the drop point, the Vaishno Devi temple is 300 meters. The route is route Bhawan- Bhaironji- Bhawan. The ticket can be booked from the temple site.

For a detailed guide on Ropeway, visit Vaishno Devi Ropeway Booking, Timings and Ticket Price.

RopewayBhawan – Bhaironji – Bhawan
PriceINR 100 pp
Time8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Vaishno Devi Yatra Registration

Make sure you have your Yatra Parchis. These can be booked online from the Shrine Board website. They are also available offline at the Yatri Registration Center near the Katra Bus Stand.

  • Registration for Vaishno Devi Yatra is required before starting the yatra.
  • You will not be able to proceed from the Banganga Check Point without registration and the Parchi.
  • Yatris who have registrations are automatically insured for any accidental death on the Vaishno Devi Yatra route. The amount is INR 3,00,000 for majors and INR 1,00,000 for minors.
  • The Yatra Parchi is valid only for 6 hours from the issue time. So, cross the first check post at Banganga (1.5km from the YRC-I) within 6 hours. Or else, the yatra slip is distrained at the check post and a new slip must be issued.
  • The main role of Yatra Parchi is at the Bhawan. The slip is rechecked at the Yatra Slip Counter on the left side after the luggage check post.

Vaishno Devi Yatra Route

It is said that the yatra is incomplete without the darshan of Bhairon Dev. So the route to your trek is as follows.

Katra – Banganga – Charan Paduka – Adhkuwari – Himkoti – Sanjichhat – Bhawan – Bhairon Ghati (Via Bhawan)

Banganga to Vaishno Devi Temple (Bhavan)- 14 KM

The Vaishno Devi Yatra starts from Banganga Checkpoint in Katra. A paved track makes walking very comfortable. You must feel good physically. Ponies and Palkis are available in case you do not want to walk. Rates are quite transparent and displayed at different locations in Katra. For an average person, it takes about 5 hours to complete the yatra trek.

There are a lot of food and drink stalls on the route. It is advisable to keep yourself stay hydrated. Avoid colas and fizzy drinks. Stay hydrated and drink more water or fruit juices. All along the route, Drinking water is freely available. On your way up, there are steps at certain points. These ways are steep but the steps are shortcuts and will reduce the distance a little. 

Charan Paduka (1.5 km)

From Banganga, the next stop is Charan Paduka which is about 1.5 km. There is a place where Mata‘s footprints are in a rock available. Take the blessings from here and start your journey ahead. A medical facility is also available here. If you need anything please use this Shrine’s facility.

Ardhkuwari (4.5 km)

From Charan Paduka, Ardhkuwari is around 4.5km and from Banganga it is about 6 km. There is a cave where Ma Vaishno Devi meditated for nine months. On her way out, Bhairon Dev was at the entrance of the cave. Mata Rani diversified the cave up to Vaishno Devi and emerged from there. Devotees feel an attachment to the darshan of the cave.

There is a Battery car service from Ardhkuwari for senior citizens and physically challenged people.

Himkoti (2.5km)

From Ardhkuwari about 2.5 km comes the third stage of the trek – Himkoti. There is an area developed by the Shrine Board where you can relax and enjoy the view. The Beautiful views of the mountains above and below will energize you. Refreshments are also available in the restaurants.

Sanjichatt (1km)

Sanjichat is the highest point of the trek at an altitude of 6200 feet above sea level. There is a 24-bed hospital as well as a shopping complex here. For the helicopter services to Vaishno Devi, the helipad is located here. Mata Rani’s Bhawan is just about 2 km from here.

Ma Vaishno Devi Temple (Bhawan)

When you see the holy site of Bhawan, All your tiredness and fatigue will vanish and you will cheer out loud “ Prem se bolo- Jay Mata di” and “Chlalo bulava aaya hai, Maata ne bulaya hai”. These awesome sounds will immediately energize you.

Inside the cave temple, there is Sacred Pindis which represents Mata Vaishno Devi. They are natural rock formations. All facilities like communication centres, accommodation, banks, toilets, cloakrooms and others are available here.

You can buy Prasad to offer. Take note that handbags, phones, etc are not allowed in the temple. There are free locker facilities available here where these can be put. Also, footwear can be kept in the lockers.

The morning and evening Aartis are done at 6:20 AM and 6:20 PM every day. Before Aarti, the Bhawan doors are closed for 20 minutes(6:00 AM and 6:00 PM). The Aarti continues till 08:00 AM in the morning and 08:00 PM in the evening. After the Aartis, the Bhawan doors remain closed for 30 minutes for cleaning purposes.

During Monsoons and Winters, crowds are less as compared to peak seasons. The waiting time during these seasons is lesser and tourist facilities are not fully loaded.

Bhairon Ghati (1.5km)

From Vaishno Devi Temple and the culmination of the Vaishno Devi Yatra, the distance is about 1.5 km to Bhairon ghati. It is a steep climb but there is a ropeway facility available from Bhawan to Bhairon Ghati. Legend says that the Darshan of Mata Rani is incomplete without the darshan of Bhairon Baba. After killing Bhairon Nath, Ma Vaishno Devi forgave him because he sincerely repented for his mistake. She blessed him to be a part of the Vaishno Devi Yatra. Here the trek or the Yatra of Vaishno Devi ends.

Facilities

  • There are Massage chairs available on the whole route. It costs around INR 50 for 15 minutes.
  • Toilets are available every 300-400 meters.
  • There are 24*7 open Government Bhojanalaya at Ardhkuwari and other eating places along the Yatra route.
  • The recycling machines are on the entire Yatra route to discard your waste.
  • Shelter sheds are situated every 500 meters along the Yatra route.
  • Free resting places are available at the Bhawan.
  • There are 24-hour information counters at various locations. These even work as announcement booths for missing cases.
Yatra Tips
  • Put your valuables like a purse, camera, or phone in the locker room or at your stays.
  • There are Shrine Board shops near Bhawan. Where you can buy Prasad.
  • Layer your clothes. As the climate will change. Do your yatra in comfortable clothes.
  • Only hire a Pitthoo who has a valid registration card.

The Vaishno Devi Yatra is now over and all that remains is to get back to Katra.

The Return path is naturally much easier and without strain. With inner peace and blessings, One can feel the Divine energy and cheer the rest. When Mata Rani calls you again, Cheer out loud to “Chalo Bulawa Aaya Hai- Mata ne Bulaya hai”.

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