Back in 2014, I once went to India. And I literally had a culture shock.
India is the only country that is far out of my expectation. It’s raw yet cultured, it’s poor yet rich, it’s ugly yet beautiful at the same time.
Being a girl grown up in a developed and organised city like Singapore, I’ve never really tasted the life of hustle and chaos. So when I was in India back then, for the first time in my life, I experienced living in a place that is completely out of my control. The people, the heat, the culture, the food…
It was truly memorable.
I have to say, to visit India, you need to have guts.
Not everyone will be able to like this place, because there’s just too much wealth disparity and cultural differences. But there are always two sides to a coin, India has its charm. Even till date, I still can clearly remember Taj Mahal’s sheer beauty.
So if you have the courage to venture out and experience a complete different world, visit India.
Many people have talked about Taj Mahal, so in this article, I would like to introduce you a different sacred beauty – Vaishno Devi. Visiting there is definitely the top things to do i n Katra.
Things to do in Katra – Visit Vaishno Devi
Vaishno Devi is one of the most sacred Pilgrim spots in India and a trek to reach the holy shrine is among the best things to do in Katra Jammu. Located 13.5 km (8.4 miles) from Katra, the shrine attracts hundreds and thousands of devotees embark on an enthralling journey to pay respects and receive blessings every year.
Despite the fact that Vaishno Devi is located at an altitude of 5,300 feet (1,615.4 meters) and it is a difficult hike involving seemingly endless steep hills, the trip to the shrine is considered one of the holiest and the most gruelling pilgrimages, for Hindus from all over the world.
Credit to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board
Over there, people worship Vaishno Devi, a manifestation of the Hindu goddess Mata Mahalakshmi (Mother of Great Wealth). Many Hindus believe that when you receive a vision of Mata Vaishno Devi, you should embark on the arduous journey to the holy shrine, as Mata Vaishno Devi grants wishes to those who pursue her blessings.
How to get there?
There are numerous ways to get from Katra to Bhawan, including ponies, electric vehicles and palanquin operated by two or four persons.
For those who are unable to climb the steep slopes, can either make the journey on horseback or book a helicopter ride. Helicopter services are also available, to take you up to Sanjichhat, which is 9.5 km (5.9 miles) from Katra.
When to Go?
The shrine is open throughout the year, with Navratras being the peak season. For a comfortable trek, visit Vaishno Devi between March and October when the weather is cool and pleasant. For those who can brave the cold, snowfall during the winter months makes the experience even more charming.
Tips for Pilgrims
- Comfortable walking shoes are a must!
- If possible, avoid peak season like Navratras. Waiting time during Navratras and holiday season can go upto 12-24 hours. Check the official website for details before planning a trip there.
- The Yatra Access Slip or parchi must be obtained by all visitors, and is available at the Yatra Registration Counter at Katra. It also states the allotted group number, which is announced when it’s time for that group to proceed for darshan in a systematic way.
Where to stay?
Katra is known for the famous Vaishno Devi shrine situated 42 KM away from the city of Jammu. So if you want to visit the beautiful holy shrine, Katra makes the perfect choice.
There are many choices for you in the this happening town.If you have a limited budget, you can easily find a guest house, budget hotels, 2-star, or 3-star hotels. For those with higher budget, beautiful 4-star and 5-star hotels are easily available in Katra. Check out Cleartrip, which provides a large number of available hotels in Katra as per your budget and choice.
So have you made up your mind to visit India? Share with me your experience by commenting below! Happy traveling! 🙂