Pilgrimage Tour
Vaishno Devi Trek Routes

Vaishno Devi Trek Routes

The Holy Shrine of Vaishno Devi is perched at an altitude of 5,200 feet on the Trikuta Mountains. The town of Katra is the base camp for the Vaishno Devi Yatra from where the devotees partake in a 13 km trek uphill to the Holy Bhawan where the Holy Cave is situated. Devotees reach the holy shrine either by walking on foot or by hiring ponies, coolies or dandis.

After the takeover of the Holy Shrine by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB), the entire track from Katra has been remodeled. The route to the Holy Bhawan which was earlier kutcha has now been made pucca and tiled. For the convenience of the yatris, steeper paths has been made gentler. Route has been widened so that crowd can move easily.  At regular intervals lantern has been installed making pilgrimage possible at night. To protect the pilgrims from uncertain weather conditions around 5 km of the track has been covered with rain shelters. Facilities like water points/water coolers, sanitary arrangements has been provided along the track route to Vaishno Devi Bhawan.

There are two routes for reaching the Holy Bhawan of Vaishno Devi

  • Main Route
  • Alternative Route (500m shorter)

Vaishno Devi Temple Route – Main Trek Route to Mata Ka Bhawan

Katra – Ban Ganga – Charan Paduka – Adhkuwari – Himkoti – Sanjhichhat – Bhawan

Darshani Darwaza (Katra)

Darshani Darwaza is the entry gate to the route and is around 1 km from the bus stand. Devotees get a complete view of the Trikuta Mountains from this place. The term ‘Darshan’ stands for view; hence symbolically this is the first Darshan of the Vaishno Devi Bhawan. One can either walk up to the Darshani Darwaza on foot or hire an auto rickshaw.

Ban Ganga

Located at a height of 2,700 ft, Banganga is the first major stop for pilgrims taking the on-foot journey to Bhawan from Katra. It is situated on the bank of small rivulet known as Banganga. The legendary history attached to this place makes it an important site.

Legends say that, it was at this place where a spring emerged when Goddess Vaishnavi shot an arrow into the ground. She shot an arrow for her friend Langoor Veer who was thirsty when he was accompanying the Goddess to Trikuta Hills. This pond is considered very sacred. Devotees before proceeding further bathe in the  pure waters of the pond.

Charan Paduka

Charan Pduka is settled at an height of 3,380 ft. It is a very pristine religious site, where the holy feet of Mata are believed to be imprinted on a rock slab. Devotees before moving further stop at Charan Paduka to pay reverence. Yatris touch the feet of the mata and seek her blessings. A well equipped medial unit of the Shrine Board is also present here. Unit has all the basic medical facilities and a team of experienced medical staff.

Adhkuwari

As Adhkuwari is situated 6km from the Holy Bhawan, it marks the midpoint of the Vaishno Devi Yatra and most pilgrims like to rest here for a while before proceeding further. According to the legend, Vaishnavi meditated and observed spiritual discipline (tapasya) for nine long months at a womb shaped cave known as Garbh Joon. It is commonly believed that whoever passes through the cave their past sins gets washed away. Only one person at a time can pass through the cave as it is very narrow.

Himkoti

Located at a distance of 2.75 km from Adkiwari (on new route) is a serene place called Himkoti. On the route to Himkoti one gets to see the panoramic view of the whole valley. Though this place has no religious importance but pilgrims love spending time here. The natural surroundings of Himkoti is charming and gripping. A spot where people can relish the nature and relax.

Many shops that sell packed & cooked food, medicare, oxygen cylinders can be found here. Shri Mata Devi Shrine Board has also opened a view point and restaurant for the public. People can sit and enjoy the tasty food amidst beautiful views.

Sanjhichhat

Situated at a splendid height of 62,00 ft above sea level,  Sanjhichhat is the highest point of the trek to Holy Bhawan. It is located around 2 km away from the Vaishno Devi Mandir. Sanjhichatt offers the soulful view of the entire valley. Many development plans has been successfully implemented by the Vaishno Devi Shrine Board at Sanjhichatt.

For the ease of the pilgrims a shopping complex has been developed. A 24 bedded hospital has been opened to facilitate good medical facilities. One of the important development was of the helipad. A helipad has been opened here that runs helicopter services between Katra and Sanjhichatt.

Mata Ka Bhawan

After a long journey pilgrims reach the final destination-‘The Holy Bhawan. The holy cave houses the Sanctum Sanctorum. It is reckoned that inside the cave Goddess disclosed herself and it is in form of a natural rock. The rock has three heads at the top with single base. These three heads in the rock form is called Holy Pindies and is very piously worshipped. The three head manifest Mata in her three form- Kali Mata, Lakshmi Mata and Ma Saraswati. One of the unique features of the Holy Pindies is that each one has a different color and structure even though they emerge from the same rock.

Bhairon Temple

The next stop for pilgrims after visiting the sacred Mata Vaishno Devi shrine is Bhairon Temple. It is said that the whole yatra gets completed only after darshan at Bhairon temple. As per legends, the Goddess forgave  Bhairon Nath for his obscene and  blessed him with a boon that the holy pilgrimage will only be achieved after visiting the Bhairon temple. Therefore, yatris on the return journey stop at the Bhairon temple in Vaishno Devi to pay homage.

Alternative Route to Vaishno Devi Temple (500m shorter)

Every year lakhs of devotees undertake the Vaishno Devi pilgriamge tour. With the increase inflow of the yatis the routes use to get overcrowded and it became difficult to manage the crowd. In the old route devotees had to walk through the steep path at Hathimatha. To make the journey easy for the pilgrims an alternative route to the Vaishno Devi Mandir has been opened for public in 1999.

In the alternative route no ponies are allowed and is 500 m shorter then the old track. New route is much wider and less steeper & easy in comparison to old track. This alternate route starts from just below Adhkuwari near Indraprastha View Point and ends just short of the Bhawan. Zero-emission battery-operated rickshaws are also available on this track. Sufficient numbers of shelter sheds are also present.

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