A Trip to Vaishno Devi

During my vacation last week, I made a trip to Vaishno Devi Mandir - one of the biggest and the heavily visited shrine of the Hindus. This shrine is located in the Udhampur District in the Northern most state of India, Jammu and Kashmir, and is dedicated to the Mother Goddess.

The shrine is managed by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) who are doing a stupendous effort. I was particularly very impressed with the communication, facilities and cleanliness through out.

The shrine is at an altitude of 5200 feet and visited by millions (almost 7 million in 2006) of devotees every year. Read the Hindu legend behind this holy place.

How to get there ?

After taking an overnight train journey from Delhi to Jammu, there is a 3 hour bus journey to The Katra. This is the base camp where all the pilgrims assemble to start the 12 km (7.5 miles) hike up the hill to The Bhavan. This is the main place of worship and has the holy cave which has the manifestation of Mother Goddess - Mata Maha Kali, Mata Maha Lakshmi and Mata Maha Saraswati.

More details are available here.

In Katra

There are numerous hotels in Katra that can be rented overnight and provide facilities ranging from full room service to cloak rooms. And the rates are pretty reasonable too.

The Shrine Board issue receipts (one per group/family) at the Katra in order to control the number of pilgrims in the Bhavan. It is of utmost importance to collect this receipt because this is your ticket to entry to the Bhavan later.

If you are not interested in hiking from Katra to Bhavan, then alternatively you can ride a pony, palki (palanquin) or even a helicopter ride. A mix-and-match where you ride the pony oneway and walk the other way is also available. Or you can also hire a pithoo (porters) who will carry your luggage from Katra to Bhavan and vice versa. The biggest majority of devotees walk all the way up & down and backpack their change of clothes or goodies (that may include prasad - offering to the Godess) to be offered at the Bhavan.

The hike can be done on the paved path (very well maintained) or up the stairs (shorter distance but steep and tiring). The paved path and stairs meet at certain points. However one particular stairs have 529 steps, before an exit, so make sure to watch out for that (marked before the stairs) before you venture. There are numerous food and utility shops through out the hike. And then of course there are Dhabas (street-side restaurants) which serve complete meal.

Mid Way Stop - AdhKawari

After approx 7 km of hike you'll reach AdhKawari. This is where Mother Goddess meditated for 9 months in a cave attaining spiritual wisdom and powers. The pilgrims wait in queue to enter the holy cave.

A token is issued (one per family/group) to control the flow of pilgrims. The typical wait time after the token number is current is 3 hours. In order to save time, some of the devotees skip this optional stop over.

At the Bhavan

The visit at the Bhavan typically start with a freezing cold water shower and a change of clothes. Even though both are optional, but highly recommended after a steep hike.

The ticket issued at the Katra is exchanged for a batch number at a counter in the Bhavan. The running batch number is clearly displayed at several places. The devotees which carry the current batch number, or lesser, can enter the queue.

After entering the queue, you pass through a maze (which is useful to handle the crowd during rush time) and finally find yourself in front of a marble stone cave. The actual manifestation of Shri Vaishno Devi resides at one end of this cave. After worshipping the Deity (typically for 2-5 seconds because of a continuous churn of devotees) and making your wish, you head over to the exit at other end of the tunnel.

The pilgrims keep reciting "Jai Mata Di" (Hail Mother Goddess) all through out the journey from Katra to Bhavan and back.

Bhairon Mandir

After worshipping at the Bhavan, you head over to Bhairon Mandir (Bhairon Temple). A visit to this temple is skipped by a few devotees because of a further higher altitude and steepness of the hike. This is the highest elevation (approx 6600 feet) in the entire trip. Make sure to carry your camera to capture some picturesque view of the Himalayas, especially in the winter season.

After worshipping at this temple, the downhill hike starts. However be cautious of the monkeys on the way coming back. Specifically if are using one of the commonly used bags (bought at the prasad shop) then they might pounce upon you ;-)

Back Home

At the end, we took a bus from Katra to Jammu and then finally a train ride back to Delhi.

This was my third trip and I must say I'm really thankful for Mata's Call.

The complete album is here:

The complete detailed planning can be done after reading the tips here.

Technorati: vaishnodevi shrine hindus temple traveltips


Useful Information. Great posting. Appreciate it.

Posted by Ghanshyam on December 06, 2007 at 01:37 AM PST #


Posted by PANKAJ SHARMA on December 11, 2007 at 01:42 PM PST #

Plan for 2 days from Jammu to Katra to Bhawan to Bhairon Mandir and back to Jammu. Here are details:
- 2 hrs bus ride from Jammu to Katra
- Freshen up in Katra (there are bunch of hotels in Katra that provide overnight stay from Rs 150-400)
- 3 hrs from Katra to Adhkawari
- Approx 4 hrs in Adhkawari
- 2 hrs from Adhkawari to Bhawan
- Freshen up in Bhawan (freezing cold public shower but lot of fun)
- Approx 2 hrs for Darshan @ Bhawan
- 1-2 hr further hike up to Bhairon Mandir
- 1-2 hr Darshan @ Bhairon Mandir
- Hike back to the Katra (approx 2-3 hrs with stairs or 3-4 hrs with pathway)
- And then finally a bus ride back to Jammu

The wait time for Darshan will vary depending upon the season. For example winter times, the wait is much less which is certainly not the case during summer vacations.

Enjoy the trip & Jai Mata Di!

Posted by Arun Gupta on December 11, 2007 at 10:28 PM PST #

Rs. 6666/- For Single Occupancy
Rs. 7777/- For Double Occupancy
Package includes:
• Accommodation as per mentioned.
• Welcome drink on arrival.
• Cookies & Chocolates in room.
• Daily Continental Breakfast at The Maple – 24 hour multi-cuisine Vegetarian
• Courtesy coach between Hotel / Banganga / Hotel available every 30 minutes.
Also, include - Special Assistance at Mata Bhawan.
• Room for Wash-N-Change.
• Darshan on priority from 9 A.M till 7 P.M only.
• PARSHAD packet.
• Heavy snacks or vegetarian Thali (as per the time) for two.
• Children below 08 yrs stay free of charge sharing parent against 50 % of the meal charges.
• All present applicable taxes.

Posted by Sakshi on March 02, 2008 at 03:19 PM PST #

Who should we contact for the package you mentioned above.


Posted by lalita on June 24, 2008 at 05:04 AM PDT #

is photography allowed when u mention taking a camera when proceeding to bhairon temple

Posted by vijesh on November 17, 2008 at 03:57 AM PST #

Yes, allowed on the way but not inside the temple.

Posted by Arun Gupta on November 17, 2008 at 04:06 AM PST #

Mr Gupta
I am a 76 old man living in US. My wife and me are planning to visit Vaishnodevi shrine in late March 2009. We intend to climb up one day and come down the next day. Are we too optimistic. We are in tolerably good shape.
How safe are the temple operated cloak rooms at Katra. Any tips are appreciated.

Posted by Unnikrishnan on December 28, 2008 at 02:56 AM PST #

Unnikrishnan, Anybody can comfortably climb up in 6 hours with a leisurely pace. You may consider adding couple of hours for extra breaks but sometimes spending too long might be tiring as well.

Cloak rooms at Katra are fairly safe and we used them for all our luggage. They give you a key for the locker.

Posted by Arun Gupta on December 28, 2008 at 09:47 AM PST #

Can you pl. send me the information of the package you mentioned. I am planning to go this November. Thank you so much

Posted by Aish on July 20, 2009 at 04:37 AM PDT #

I want to know from where i can get the package and what type of room are available?

Posted by Pratik Patel on December 28, 2009 at 12:39 PM PST #

Your site is very informative. My husband and I are planning to go in July. I heard that there are helicopter tours also. We are close to 70 years, with no health problems. Do you advise trekking? Thanks.

Posted by Padma on March 17, 2010 at 11:03 PM PDT #

Hello Padma,

In my opinion, Trekking is lot more fun. If you have no health problems, I'd recommend hiking all the way up and go slow, don't rush and enjoy the beauty of natural surroundings of mata rani.

Wish you a nice trip!

Posted by Arun Gupta on March 20, 2010 at 02:01 PM PDT #

hello arun,
really informative description by you...thanks for it.
kindly guide me that is a 2 days trip from delhi to vaishno devi ji is a right decision...our group is planning to visit dere and we have 2 days only....
do reply as soon as possible its a urgent needed info

Posted by ashish agnihotri on April 11, 2010 at 11:37 PM PDT #


If everything is lined up then 2 days might be good. The key part is how much wait is there at the Bhavan, most of the other factors can be controlled as buses from Jammu -> Katra and vice versa are running regularly and book the train tickets in advance. The hike up can take time depending upon group size/capability. So be aware of your group and then make a decision.

Posted by Arun Gupta on April 12, 2010 at 11:18 PM PDT #

I'd never seen an infomative man like you. However, I wish to book the helicoper ticket on 17th June 2010/18th June 2010. But, I found that every time allthe tickets have been booked. How can I avail the ticket for upward journey. And how much time take to make a darshan, since we have to board the train on 18th June from Jammu for Jammu-Rajdhani Express.
Kindly help.

Posted by Goutam on April 28, 2010 at 12:44 AM PDT #

Hey Arun,
Thanks for info!!!
Please suggest some more things.
1)Is there any other temple apart from these 3 temples. Becoz i heard that one Kaal Bhairav temple is there any it is mandetory to go over there also to complete the darshan.
2) I am plannig to go in June last. Form the prospect of rush the accomodation will be easily available over there?
3) Can we do the advance booking in hotels?If you have any info.
4) While returning can i cover Shima.Is it nearby and commutation is properly avaliable.

Posted by Arun on May 23, 2010 at 09:04 PM PDT #

I am planning to take my elderly parents on a visit from Hyderabad to Viashnodevi and Amarnath. They cannot treck or go on a pony ride. What is the best way to plan a trip in the shortest possible time via Plane/helicopter. Any one with this info please help. Thank you.

Posted by RB on June 30, 2010 at 05:06 AM PDT #

hey arun dis is the complete discription how we complete our journey. m readin dis after my journey.wen m read dis den m thought dat dis is written by me.

Posted by vishal dhamija on August 13, 2010 at 04:45 AM PDT #

Hello Arun,
Thanks a lot for sharing your experience.
I am planing to take my mother to vaishno-devi.
For both of us its first time.
Our flight reaches to jammu on 7'th November at 2:30 PM.
could you please tell me, is tht possible we can book return flight from jammu on 9'th November at 2:30 PM.
can we start our yatra from katra on 7'th night itself.?

Posted by Ashok Kumar Jha on September 25, 2010 at 09:13 AM PDT #

good information planing to visit there in dec 2010 was wondering if one can book helicopter tickets from katra or does it has to be done beforehand??

Posted by palak on October 02, 2010 at 07:53 AM PDT #

i am planning to go to vaishnodevi alone on 14th nov. should i start trekking in the morn or at night itself. will it be too crowded at this t ime. should i do online boking for hotels or will acc be available when i get there?

Posted by jayashree on November 07, 2010 at 10:49 PM PST #

Best time is to star early morning... Walking the Distance will be approx 6 hrs ( slow walking) and visiting all other shrines would be finished by evening . So this is the way i went about , so u can be at your hotel room by 7 PM.

Posted by vijesh on November 07, 2010 at 11:04 PM PST #

Really very well explained post. I experienced Vaishno Devi Yatra twice. It gives me extreme piece of mind. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by vaishno devi tours on November 19, 2010 at 03:12 PM PST #

Thanks for sharing your tour experience with us. This will definitely ease the problems of all those who wish to visit there like me.The photographs also reflect the beauty of vaishno devi place.
I wish a happy journey to all you visiting maa vaishno devi.

Posted by temples of india on December 02, 2010 at 01:34 AM PST #

Hello Mr. Arun,
Very nice information. My family is planning during the summer.
Can we book hotel in advance in Katra? If so how?
Is there any accommodation at Ma Mandir to stay in the night and then come back in the morning? How would be the weather during summer?
Please let us know.
Thank you so much.

Posted by sanjay on March 16, 2011 at 12:44 PM PDT #

Is there any group of people who are planning to go to Vaishno? If so I would like to join. PLs inform.

Posted by seema on April 27, 2011 at 03:28 PM PDT #

Vaishno Devi Temple is situated on very beautiful hill. I like the weather of Vaishno Devi it's really nice...

Posted by guest on May 09, 2011 at 07:09 PM PDT #

great one

Posted by Vaishno devi tour on June 27, 2011 at 05:57 PM PDT #

Hi Arun,
Many thanks for the wonderful information provided above. I have planned to go for MATA's darshan in last week of this month. We are 8 friends altogether. All of them are of age 23-24 yrs. We will be reaching at katra at around 9pm. The issue is in deciding the time to start.I wanted to ask you one thing is that what time should we start the trek. I mean whether in night at 1 am or in mor 7 am. Seeking your advice as in our group we are having equal votes for both plans. so confused on it. pls advice on the basis when we will be able to njoy more while climbing up. Request you to reply at earliest.


Jai Mata Di

Posted by guest on July 06, 2011 at 10:08 PM PDT #

hi arun,i am going with my there with my three friends there,i want to knw what is the cost per person over there,if i stay there for two days......recomend some low price hotel names.....expecting ur reply

Posted by guest on July 07, 2011 at 03:11 PM PDT #

Accommodation is available at both Katra and Bhavan and can be booked online thirty days in advance.. These are provided by Vaishnodevi Administration and is very reasonable. I wnet in march 2010 and did all my booklng on line.

Posted by guest on July 08, 2011 at 12:45 PM PDT #

Mata ka bulaawa kab aayega

Posted by guest on August 23, 2011 at 07:24 AM PDT #

hii... can u pls tell me d airway price n timings 4m jaipur to vaishno devi?

Posted by guest on September 22, 2011 at 04:48 PM PDT #

Thanks arunji for all ur wonder full information, and i want to know that if i take a reservation ticket on a particular date than can i visit main temple tomorrow morning or i have to complete my darshan o that particular reservation issuing date.
Any other gentleman may also help me.....

Posted by Yatendra Sharma on September 26, 2011 at 06:01 AM PDT #

I had visited to Mata Twice for two consecutive years.. Is there any belief that a piligrim must visit Mata's place at least for 3 yrs in a row..

Posted by guest on October 14, 2011 at 08:53 PM PDT #

ma tera bulawa kab aayega.

Posted by maniram yadav on December 06, 2011 at 11:13 PM PST #

m planning to visit Maa Vaishno Devi on 1st week of march 2012 alone, m starting my journey on 4th march from delhi.. if any one want to join me, can contact me in my mail id.

Posted by swarup on January 27, 2012 at 12:54 AM PST #


I was at Vaisho Devi in 2010, An amazing Yatra. From there by the grace of Swami Sathasivom, We left for the Shaktipeeth Kamakhya in Asssam after spending some time at the Kali Temple in Calcutta. Jai Jai Mata Di.

-Vamadeva, American Yoga student and teacher living in Boston USA.

Posted by Vamadeva on March 31, 2012 at 03:15 PM PDT #

I am planning to visit vaishno Devi in may '12, with my family. but having limited time period, so is it possible to reach jammu til 9 nyte in same day , if we start our journey in morning 9 from jammu ????

Thanks for providing us help full information on your blog.

--ajeet sankhwal

Posted by Ajeet on April 20, 2012 at 06:55 AM PDT #

Enjoy your Yatra.

Know that you are checked - frisked - nothing, not even a pencil goes with you in to see the Deities.

Jai Mata Di!


yoga with john dot com

Posted by vamadeva on April 22, 2012 at 04:41 AM PDT #

in coming devali i am planning for vaishno devi trip can you provide current estimates price for trip in advance.

Posted by guest on May 16, 2012 at 11:06 PM PDT #

We went twice to maa ka darbaar when we were in Delhi and were young,again we are planning next week though both of us are 50plus healthy, with us one couple is also coming they are young ,now problem is the lady is recovering from typhoid,we booked every thing so we want to go ahead with our plans, is it advisable to travel with a liquid meal advised patient pl advise:-)

Posted by guest on September 13, 2012 at 10:10 PM PDT #

We visited the shrine twice when we were in Delhi and were young,now next week we are planning to treck with another. Couple. She is recovering from typhoid ,is it advisable to travel w/with a liquid diet recommended lady of about 50year age pl advise

Posted by guest on September 13, 2012 at 10:16 PM PDT #

Dear Sir

Can you tell me the darshan timings of Bhairon mandir in the month of Oct.

I am going for the yatra in the 2nd week of Oct with my parents and don't want to spend the night at the bhawan.

As according to my helicopter booking i will be tkaing dardhan of the ghufa in the evening and then if time permits, i wish to go for bhairan baba darshan and then proceed my return trip to katra in the night itself.

Pls help


Posted by Prashant Khare on September 17, 2012 at 01:16 AM PDT #

Mr. Arun Gupta,
I am from ahmednagar, maharashtra and going to veshno devi temple at 9th of December 2012, thanks for this very useful information.

Posted by guest on October 21, 2012 at 09:50 AM PDT #

If u want to go for vaishno devi please visit here for best packages -


Posted by Vishnu Joshi on December 28, 2012 at 09:16 PM PST #

Hello mr Arun,
We are going to maa vaishno devi darshan, in february end.
Can you pls suggest me, what is the good time to start from Katra to Bhavan, morning or night?

Posted by guest on January 19, 2013 at 04:11 AM PST #

Nice post.thanks for sharing it.i visited recently vaishno devi.i like it.it is one of the famous place in india.

Posted by Hinduism Religious Books on January 25, 2013 at 01:59 AM PST #

Helo Mr Arun iam leving in Gujarat Surat.I want go matavesnowdevi in may 2013.how can I rich mata's
Temple from jammutavi reilway station.I am single
Person want go there.Which places are visit ther .I
Want sort visit ther becouse after mata's darsan &
Visit it's around area I want go treking at sarpass in
Himachal pradesh sponcer by youth hostel India.So
Plese give me information for sort time visit & return
To pathankot.

Posted by guest on February 02, 2013 at 07:57 PM PST #

To travel Mataji's place for Darshan , what are the calender months, we can travel ? Is Mataji's temple open all around the year OR specific months ? Please send me info on my email address. Thank you , Ambalal

Posted by Ambalal on February 03, 2013 at 07:06 PM PST #

Arun thank you. You are a star and have made my planning easy. I am so desperate to see her I cant wait to go there. may god bless you. Valli

Posted by guest on February 28, 2013 at 10:07 AM PST #

hello arun great information. thank you. We are visiting vaishnodevi next month. sone how I could reserve helecopter tickets for the to and fro journeys. but i did not get accommodation reservation at bhavan. the return trip is on the next day morning at 09.20. what should I do in the night at bhavan without accommodation reservation .pl guide me.--MURALIDHAR

Posted by guest on April 06, 2013 at 10:31 PM PDT #

Namaskar Arunji ,
We are a group of 16 people visiting matarani for Darshan in Aug 2013 . All are in the age group of 50 to 70 . While all others feel they will take the helicopter , I am very keen to walk it up.Have a few queries:
is it Ok if I walk it up alone .( know mata will be with me ) .is it a road or is it stairs .I am 50 and in good health. Can I walk it up ?I was intending to start around 9.00pm at night . Is it the right time .

Posted by sugandhi on June 13, 2013 at 11:59 PM PDT #

maa vaishno devi darshan visit us http://www.thereligioustours.com/9-Devi-Darshan.php

Posted by guest on June 17, 2013 at 04:12 AM PDT #

maa vaishno devi darshan yatra visit us http://www.thereligioustours.com/9-Devi-Darshan.php

Posted by jase on June 19, 2013 at 03:52 AM PDT #

Hi Arun ji
please tell me, can we can go in the month of august i heard that time raining heavy.
your information is realy helpful for us.

Posted by Kamlesh on July 07, 2013 at 03:17 AM PDT #

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Arun Gupta is a technology enthusiast, a passionate runner, author, and a community guy who works for Oracle Corp.

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