Katra is a very small town which is located on the scenic Trikuta Mountains of Jammu and Kashmir in the district of Udhampur. This place is very famous in India and in other parts as one of the most revered Hindu pilgrimages; which is Maa Vaishno Devi. But apart from being just a pilgrimage destination, there is a lot more in Katra and one can explore this place thoroughly when holidaying there. This place is also a shopper’s paradise because one can buy fresh fruits, leather jackets, handmade carpets and other exiting things.
The benefits of booking hotels in Katra are that, apart from the Vaishno Devi Temple, one can also see other popular places here. Before setting up a holiday there, one must know what should be added to their ‘places to visit’ list:
Maa Vaishno Devi
The moment one thinks of Katra, the first place that comes to most people’s mind is the Vaishno Devi Temple. This is located in the Trikuta Mountains and the shrine has a cave where Mata appeared in 3 rock forms which are known as Pindies. When one takes this journey, the entry gate is known as the Darshani Darwaza and is located just a kilometre away from the bus stand. In order to reach the holy shrine, one has to trek up to 12 kilometres uphill from Katra. There are palanquin services and horse rides available till a point called Sanjichhat and walking of 2.5 kilometres to reach the shrine. From Sanjichhat one can get a spectacular view of the Himalayas.
Charan Paduka : Vaishnavi Maa’s Footprints
This is one of the most auspicious places to see in Katra and it lies on the way to the cave or the bhawan of Maa Vaishno Devi. Charan Paduka is where the foot imprints of Maa can be seen on the slab of a rock. It is said that Maa Vaishno Devi was being chased by a saint turned demon named Bhairavnath and as she was going to her cave, she decided to take rest in this place for a while. That is when; her footprints got lodged on the rock. One visits the rock first to seek blessings and then go to see her cave.
There is another holy stop before moving further towards the Vaishno Devi Temple is Ban Ganga. This is one of the best places to visit in Katra. Ganga originates from the Shivalik Range of Himalayas and visiting that place is one of the best things to do in Kashmir. When Mata Vaishnavi was going towards her cave the monkey accompanying here, felt thirsty. As there was no water around, Maa shot an arrow in the earth out of which Ganga came alive. From this story, the name Ban (arrow) Ganga happened. This place is also called Bal (hair) Ganga as some believe, Maa washed her hair here. One can always take a holy dip here before visiting the temple.
Once one pays a visit to the Vaishno Devi Temple, they can gather some energy and then move up a bit to pay a visit to Baba Bhairavnath. For this, one has to take a walk of 2 to 4 kilometres upwards from the Vaishno Devi Temple. The view around from up there is even more majestic. This temple is dedicated to saint Bhairav who later turned to a demon. He was killed by Maa Vaishno Devi and as he resented his sins, he was forgiven.
It is another must visit holy place in Katra. It is located less than 12 kilometres from Katra and there are plenty of great home stays and guest houses where one can book a room. To reach this, one is required to climb at least 100 stairs and this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is surrounded by lush greeneries and marvellous waterfalls around.
One can take some out from pilgrimage to the holy shrines and take some rest at Himkoti while admiring the beauty of the place. One can get to see some splendid views around with some calming environment and lush greeneries. One can also relax here and have a picnic with their family.
This is one of the unusual destinations to be visited in Katra. It is situated about 45 kilometres away from Katra. This is the perfect place where one can get rid of all the tiredness. If one is a lover of history and one can also make a visit to the Bahu Fort which is near the garden. There has been quite a few riveting tales about the fort and the creation of Jammu.
This place is popularly known as the Mini Gulmarg and is located about 17 kilometres away from Patnitop. This is bit away from Katra and one has to travel for at least 3 hours to reach the location. The place is a marvellous one full of hills, mesmerising lakes and lush forests. Here, one can also indulge their adrenaline rush by taking part in hot air balloon rides, paragliding and if they are visiting in summer, they can also go for horse rides. Apart from the adventure sports, one can also visit the Hidden Creek, Nag Temple and witness the waterfalls.
It is said to be one of the famous places to visit in Katra. One can go for picnic with friends here. Here, one can rejuvenate themselves by getting a spa in a place which has only soothing vibes. This place which aids to relaxation is only 15 kilometres away from Katra.
It is located at a distance of 8 kilometres from the city of Jammu. This was built by Maharaja Ranbir Singh and is one of the best places to visit here. This temple is dedicated to Lord Rama and it is one of the largest in North India.
Before booking hotels in Katra one can check on the details through their online sites and then do the final booking.