Best Season The Yatra to the Holy Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi Ji is open throughout the year. The summer months of May, June and July and the festival period of Chaitra (spring) and Sharad-Ashwin (Autumn) Navratras and New Year vacations witness peak rush. As a result of this rush, devotees have to often wait for 12-20 hours before having Darshan. It is therefore strongly adviced, that for comfortable, quick and satisfying Darshan, the period of peak rush must be avoided.
Instead the monsoons and winters are good periods to plan a yatra. During the monsoons, Nature is at its scenic best with water falls and lush green surroundings. The winter months of December and January witness snow fall and barring the very young and the physically infirm, it can prove to be a charming season for others to visit the Shrine. The original Holy Cave of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji is also open during the winters and Darshans through this cave is a unique mystical experience. A thumb rule to plan one's journey is to log on to this website and check out the pattern and number of pilgrims visiting the Holy Shrine. If the average number of pilgrims during a period is less than 15,000-18,000 on any given day, one can expect a comfortable trip and a satisfying Darshan of the Holy Pindies.
Clothing and accessories
One needs to carry heavy woollen clothing during the winters. For the rest of the year, light woollens are needed. Even during hot summers, when the base camp, Katra too turns hot and humid, the main Shrine area, known as Bhawan continues to remain on the cooler side especially in the nights. Blankets are available aplenty free of cost and there is no need to carry them. One may also need canvas shoes for the Yatra. Fancy shoes and footwear make it difficult to walk on the track and footwear with flat or platform soles are therefore recommended. For those going on foot, a walking stick is very helpful in negotiating the steep climbs. Umbrellas and rain coats are required during the rainy seasons. Shoes, cameras, walking sticks, torches, head bands, umbrellas and many more such articles for which a person may not be prepared beforehand are readily available on hire at various private shops all over Katra and also on the way to Holy Shrine. Rates as usual are negotiable. However, the quality of the some of them may not be very good and hence the pilgrims may need to check carefully the same before hiring or purchasing anything.