My Vaishno Devi Trip | Himalayas | Jammu & Kashmir

There are a lot of Things to do in Jammu & Kashmir. For Hindus, it is a pilgrimage site too. But : How to reach there? What season would be better?  How long will it take? etc. Most of your queries gets answered here. This following blog is based on my experiences and I tried to make it the most informative and vivid as I could. Hope you guys enjoy the blog.

It was the month of August, not too cold, not too warm. Few years back, me & my family went for a Vaishno Devi Trip. As New Delhi provides good connectivity to most of the places(via airplanes/trains), we started on from there. Obviously, there are many more routes from Punjab and Uttrakhand aswell (train/bus/cars/booking via travel agency). So, we took a train from New Delhi to Katra, Jammu.

Vaishno Devi Trip:

Just stepping outside the railway station of Katra, is the bus stand which takes passengers through beautiful lower Himalayan hilly areas. One could even book a taxi or call your travel agency to hook you up with a cab. Now there are even deep tunnels built in between the mountains to cut your time and energy wastage. It took us 1.5 hours for us to reach the hotels that’s right below,3-4 kms away from, the Vaishno Devi pilgrimage/ mountains.

If your option is to hike to the top of Vaishno Devi Temple, the best option is to start early in the morning, there is even an option to take stairs, though the path almost remains the same. And if you opt to take an autoriskhaw, you are good to go as there is a new road built to drive the four-wheelers too. Obviously, helicopters are the fastest way to reach the top.

There are three important phases/checkpoints:

Uphill :

I. 0km to 6th km= This also includes the first market at 0.2 km for you to book a horse/pony , which is optional of course. One can now even book a vehicle/jeep that would take you to the checkpoint at 6th km(ArdhKumari), or directly to the top.

II. 6th km= Is a stop/halt called ArdhKumari, you can even stay the whole night here, if you started at late afternoon or evening. There is even accommodations for pilgrims, so that your Vaishno Devi trip doesn’t gets too tiring. At ArdhKumari there is also a small cave, Godess Durga’s Temple. But one must buy tickets to enter the temple. And the tickets specify the timings when you would be allowed to enter. It can even take from 4 hours to a whole day/night. Usually people buy tickets, take a round to Vaishno Devi Temple at 12th km and visit Ardhkumari on the returning journey. Or they stay the night at the accommodation.

III. 6thkm to 12th km= The route after ArdhKumari divides into two routes: The steeper one(HathiMatthah Route) is the old one on which 4 wheelers aren’t allowed. But you will see ponies and hikers taking this way. And the plainer one is the newer route on which one can book AutoRikshaw/jeeps at ArdhKumari, or even hike on plainer slope.

IV. 12th km= Is the Final Destination : Vaishno Devi Temple. Here again ticket system is implemented but it only takes an hour or two for your turn. Cameras aren’t allowed inside the temple. Once you enter the temple, it would take an hour to see the entire temple and places around it. Afterwards, outside the temple, you can have vegetarian food of your choice as there is huge market outside.

V. 12th to 14th km= Pilgrims hike to the 14th km to reach another temple of “Baba Bhairo“. You can also have vegetarian food of your choice as there is a small canteen outside. Vehicles don’t run on this route.

VI. The returning journey can be covered  through the path with steeper slope(HathiMatthah Route). And you reach the ArdhKumari checkpoint. One  can walk downhill, or take the stairs . Or probably book a pony, etc.

Overall, there are many ways to reach the top of the mountain, be it hiking, horse riding, booking a fourwheeler or a helicopter.

The market in the city is very popular for dryfruits/apples/ and Kashmiri Shawls and sweaters. The city can be cold at nights and mildly cold to warn during the days, depending on the season. So pack your clothes accordingly. The most important thing that I remind people is shoes. No matter which medium of transport or path you choose, Hiking shoes/ Sports shoes are a must, keep flip-flops/crocs handy in case your shoes gets wet.

This was my experience. I hope you find this information helpful and are willing to share it with your friends or family to inform them before hand. Have a great journey.

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