KATRA, JAMMU AND KASHMIR, INDIA.
Faith, mythical legends and the charm of walking on a well paved road winding up a Himalayan foothill with multiple facilities and breathtaking sights of the countryside makes Sri Mata Vaishno Devi both a popular pilgrim destination and a holiday option.
Indians, since ages, have believed the ancient cave that is the heart of the pilgrimage and now resides inside a massive temple complex to be the abode of a celestial virgin goddess venerated as Mata Vaishno Devi – the manifestation of three supreme female deities of the Hindu heavens, yet with a distinct identity and story of her own. The benevolent goddess is said to fulfill the wishes of those who come to visit her and each year folks from across the country participate in a twelve kilometer up hill journey on foot, palanquin, horseback or helicopter to pay their homage to the three ancient rock fragments taken to be the representation of the supreme deities whose virtues are vested in the Vaishno Devi. The year round pilgrimage while being a sanctum of Hindu faith is open for all communities and can be undertaken by any member outside the Hindu fraternity.
INFORMATION AT A GLANCE.
Destination: Sri Mata Vaishnodevi
Location: Katra, Jammu and Kashmir, India
Road: Udampur Jammu Highway.
Rail: Station at Katra and Jammu.
Air: Jammu Airport.
Popular for: Pilgrimage.
Katra in Reasi district, Jammu and Kashmir, India is a midsize hill town roughly 47 kilometers away from the city of Jammu. It is the main base camp for undertaking the uphill pilgrimage to the cave of the Vaishnodevi. Katra became a prominent place on the map as a result of the growing popularity of the Vaishnodevi and developments carried out by a dedicated Vaishnodevi committee that improved facilities and accessibility on the pilgrim road. As per a 2011 survey, the town has a population of 9,005 local inhabitants of mixed religious beliefs with Hindus making up the largest ethnic group.
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