Navratri is around the corner! How about visiting the holy shrines of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi temple for the celebrations? The temple is situated in Katra (Reasi District) within the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The holy Shrine is situated at the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains at an elevation of 875 metres.
You can visit Vaishno Devi throughout the year, but the best time to visit Vaishno Devi is during the festival of Navratri, which is celebrated annually in September or October. Navratri is celebrated twice in Katra. Once as Chaitra Navratri before the start of summer and another as Shardiya Navratra at the beginning of winter.
‘Navratri’ is translated into English as Nine nights. During the first three days, the goddess is invoked as Maa Durga, also known as Maa Kali, the destroyer of all impurities, vices and defects. For the following three days, the Shrine is adorned and worshipped as Lakshmi, who has the power of bestowing inexhaustible wealth on her devotees. And on the remaining three days, the goddess is worshipped as Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and knowledge.
Many tourists pay their respect and homage to the deity during this period. The Vaishno Devi Shrine hosts millions of pilgrims during this festival who celebrate the religious traditions as well as the popular culture of the region.
The beautiful Shrine is illuminated and decorated during the festival. Devotees with heartfelt emotions and dedication visit here, singing bhajans and dancing, which is why it is the best time to visit Vaishno Devi Maa. Fruits and flowers are mainly used as decorations. Grand reception doors and pandals are installed in the main Bhawan, decorated with colourful lights. One main reason for visiting Vaishno Devi is to seek blessings and lead a better and healthier life.
You can reach the Shrine via road, rail or air. Udhampur railway station is the nearest railway station to Katra, and the nearest airport is around 50 km away from the main town of Katra.
There are many places to stay near the temple. The best hotels for family in Vaishno Devi near the temple include OYO 80507 Ram Palace, OYO 5097 Reddison Square, OYO 5097 Hotel Raj Residency, etc. These hotels are among the most affordable hotels in the town. Some restaurants that offer delicious food near the temple are Prem Vaishno Dhaba, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra, Madhuban, and Sagar Ratna. Must-visit tourist destinations near the Shrine are Sanasar Lake, Naag Mandir and Bahu Fort.
Visit this beautiful place to attend one of India’s most pious and grand festivals. The roads to the main Shrine are also decorated with colourful and fresh flowers. The breathtaking decor is a visual treat for visitors who walk for about 12 km to seek Maa Vaishno Devi’s blessings.
The board members of the Shrine also make arrangements for free food to be served to the devotees near Tarakote Marg and Prasad Kendra at Sanjichhat. Other facilities for pilgrims include battery-operated vehicles, passenger ropeways, and helicopter services.
To facilitate smooth functioning of the arrangements, constant reviewing and monitoring of the arrangements in the track and Bhawan is carried out by the CEO of the Shrine Board. The Indian Railways has announced special trains for devotees visiting the holy Shrine this festive season. Two special AC trains, under the Bharat Gaurav initiative, operated by IRCTC will be run. The first one would run from September 25 to September 29, and the second one from September 30 to October 4.
This visit can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as it’s not always that you get to witness something so grand and divinely majestic. So, grab your chance, book your tickets, reserve a room in one of the most affordable and comfortable OYO rooms, and seek the goddess’ blessing with your family on Navratri this year.
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