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Home >> Places to Visit Around Himachal >> Katra
 

Katra

Katra or Katra Vaishno Devi as it is popularly called is a small town in the hilly northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is 2,473 ft above the sea level and is 50 Km away from Jammu. The town serves as the base camp for visiting the famous Maa Vaishno Devi Shrine, which is 13 Km uphill from Katra. Situated in the foothills of Trikuta Mountains, Katra is visited by more than 6.2 million devotees each year.

Katra Market View

The town has a number of souvenir shops and the local market is filled with stalls selling dry fruits, prashad and other items offered to Maa Vaishno Devi. There is a state handicraft emporium close to the bus stand where you can check out shawls and other woolen items. A number of vegetarian restaurants and food outlets have mushroomed in the close vicinity.

Everyday of the year throngs of people surge up the steep pathways that cut across the Trikuta hillsides for mile after mile. This show of faith is finely interwoven with the cultural strands of the Indian subcontinent, and these pathways have been trod on for many centuries now. Popular belief holds that anybody who walks the Himalayan trail to the goddesses's abode to ask for a boon rarely goes back disappointed. Whatever be it, a new enterprise or a forthcoming examination, marriage or birth, the devout look up to the Mata For blessings and guidance. There are many who journey year after year to pay obeisance regardless of their faith or belief, creed or class, caste or religion.

The best time to travel Katra is between July & March
 

Shiv Khori

Shiv Khori
This holy cave is nearly a kilometer long and houses a 4 ft high, naturally formed 'Shivling'. It is considered second only to the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi in religious importance. There are stalactites & stalagmites dripping milky limestone water from the ceiling. Situated at a distance of about 100 kms from Jammu and about 75 kms from Katra, Shiv Khori hosts a major fair on Shivratri day every year.

Dera Baba Banda
At about 30 kms from Katra lies this major Hindu-Sikh pilgrimage centre. Baba Banda Bairaagi was Guru Gobind Singh's favorite 'Saint-soldier', who had th e gurudwara constructed on the banks of river Chenab, where he spent his last days.
 

Dera Baba Banda
 

Baba Dhansar

Baba Dhansar
Located 10 kms from Katra (1 km on foot) is Baba Dhansar, a beautiful and cool picnic spot. Here, a huge spring gushes out of the mountainside in a thick grove of trees and forms a number of small waterfalls before flowing into the holy Banganga. Next to the spring in a small grove in the rock face is a naturally formed ‘Shivling’ on which droplets of water fall naturally all the year round. A major ‘mela’ (fair) is held here during Shivratri.

 

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