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Katra Town & Facilities
Located at an altitude of about 2500 feet above sea level, Katra is the base camp for the Yatra to the Holy Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji. This is the last point uptill which any type of modern transport can go (except the recently started Helicopter service, which takes the pilgrims right till Sanjichhat, just a couple of kilometers from the Holy Shrine). Therefore, for all practical purposes, Katra serves as the base camp.

From here a trek of around 12 kms takes a pilgrim to the Holy Shrine. One can undertake this trek on foot or on horses/ponies or on palanquins (palkies or dolies). While most of the pilgrims prefer to go on foot, some who find it difficult to negotiate the climb hire a pony or a palanquin.

Porters, Ponies and Palanquins.... More
 
Registering for the Yatra
 
This is the the first and foremost thing to do after reaching Katra
 
All visitors are required to register themselves before undertaking the trek. This is done at the Yatra Registration Counter (YRC) situated at the Bus Stand where the registered yatris are issued a Yatra Slip, free of cost. This is a mandatory requirement and without a valid Yatra Slip pilgrims are not allowed to proceed beyond Yatra Parchi Check Counter at Banganga. This is necessary to regualte the Yatra at Bhawan and also on the track. This Yatra Slip is to be preserved as the same coveres devotees with an insurance cover against any untoward casualty due to accidents.....More.

Facilities at Katra

Katra serves as the base camp for the Yatra. It is also the point where yatries halt for a while and make preparations for the trek to the Holy Shrine. In order to cater to the requirements of the yatries, a wide variety of facilities are available in and around Katra.

Accommodation

For the benefit of the pilgrims, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board provides clean, well maintained and very economical accommodation at Niharika  and Shakti Bhawan situated at bus stand, Katra. Rooms, both air conditioned and Non air conditioned are available. In addition, dormitory accommodation at Rs. 100/- per bed is available in Shakti Bhawan (Niharika complex). Another 500 bedded accommodation in Trikuta Bhawan is available near the 2nd Yatra counter (YRC II). In all the accommodation facilities provided by Shrine Board, there is an additional facility of a hygienic, no profit no loss Bhojanalayas, Souvenir Shop and a free cloak room. 
 


Accommodation for all Shrine Board Guest houses/dormitories can be booked (subject to availability) at the reception of these guest houses or at the Enquiry and Reservation counter at Niharika complex. Advance reservation is possible by online from our official website www.maavaishnodevi.org.

For More Information on Rented Accommodation. Click Here.

For Online Accommodation Reservation. Click Here.

Free Accommodation

In addition to the above facilities provided by Shrine Board on no profit no loss basis, there is also a provision for basic accommodation for yatries on an absolutely FREE basis. This accommodation is available in Niharika complex and near Yatra Parchi counter II (YRC-II). Besides accommodation, blankets are also provided free of cost. During days of rush additional free accommodation is also made available to the Yatries in the Niharika complex itself.

 

Other Accommodation facilities

There are various Sarais/Dharamshalas in Katra, which provide good accommodation to the pilgrims, either free of cost or at a nominal price. While some of them do provide facilities to the pilgrims, many of these places have passed in the hands of certain people with vested interests who insist on the pilgrims buying offerings from their own shops located in the premises of these Sarais. Pilgrims should be careful of such elements as they tend to sell items at a price many times higher than their original value.

There are various lodges, Guest Houses, ordinary and luxury hotels, Cottages, Resorts and all types of accommodation facilities available too, which provide accommodation to the devotees. Pilgrims have a wide range to choose from depending upon their taste and budget.

Food and Refreshment

Katra has all types of vegetarian restaurants and dining places. Being a religious place, almost all these restaurants and catering outlets provide pure vegetarian food to the pilgrims in which even onion and garlic is not used. Pilgrims are also requested to preserve and uphold the sanctity of the Holy place and desist from demanding non vegetarian meals or alcohol from any outlets.

General items of use

Provision, General and Medical stores are available all over Katra as also at Adkuwari and Bhawan.

Parking of private vehicles

Sufficient parking spaces are available in and around Katra. Other than the general bus stand, chartered and private buses can be parked at the second bus stand near Yatra Registration Counter No.2 located on Udhampur road. The Shrine Board provides parking facility in its various complexes. This facility is however open only to bona fide users of the complexes.

Cloak Room facility

Considering that many yatries would like to leave behind their excess luggage in Katra before undertaking the Yatra, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has provided for free cloak room facility in all its guest houses/ lodging places. Cloak room facility is also offered by many hotels and lodges. Certain private Sarais, shops and establishments also claim to offer such facilities but yatries are advised to reassure themselves of the credentials of the service provider before entrusting their luggage to them. In particular, video cameras and mobile phones, besides other electronic equipment are not allowed on the track for security reasons. Yatries must make adequate arrangement for the safe keeping of such equipments before embarking on the yatra. More about Cloak Room.

Railway Reservation

A computerized Railway Reservation Counter has been opened in the Niharika complex near the main bus stand. Through this Railway Reservation facility, reservations to and from any railway station can be now availed of at this counter. The infrastructural and logistical support to this Centre is being provided by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. More about Railway Reservation.

Communication

STD/ISD/PCO booths function all over Katra, along the track and right uptill Bhawan. A few of them are open for all 24 hours. Post and telegraph facilities are also available at Katra, Adkuwari and Bhawan. Katra also has a Speed Post facility to/from major destinations. A few cyber cafes are also functional.

Souvenirs and Publications

Those who wish to purchase Souvenirs and momentos may do so from the Souvenir Shops of the Shrine Board, located at Katra. Various kinds of Prashad, cassettes, books, chunnies and cholas are available on no profit basis. Similar outlets are also available at Bhawan, Sanjichhat, Adkuwari and Vaishnavi Dham at Jammu. Click Here to see more details about Souvenir Shops.

Police

There is a Police station at Katra as well as Bhawan, besides police posts at Banganga and Adkuwari.

Banking

Many nationalized banks have their branches at Katra. The State Bank of India, Bank of Punjab and J&K Bank also provide ATM facilities at Katra. Many more banks including ICICI Bank, UTI Bank are in the process of installing their ATMs here. The J&K Bank and the Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) have their branches at Bhawan also. More about Banking Services.





Medical Facilities

While no specific medical certificate is needed to undertake the Yatra, those suffering from heart, breathing or similar ailments are advised to proceed with the Yatra only after due medical checkup and advice. Cardiac, asthmatic and orthopedic problems are known to get aggravated due to the strenuous climb. To the medical needs of the yatries there is a block hospital at Katra as well as a 24 hours charitable dispensary run under the aegis of the Shrine Board. Emergency needs can be taken care of by basic medical facilities at Banganga, Adkuwari, Sanjichhat and Bhawan. Oxygen cylinders and emergency drugs are also available. Specialized and advanced medical treatment is however available only at Jammu. More details about Medical Facilities.

 
 
 
 
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