There are various Sarais/Dharamshalas in Katra, which provide good accommodation to the pilgrims, either free of cost or at a nominal price. While some of them do provide facilities to the pilgrims, many of these places have passed in the hands of certain people with vested interests who insist on the pilgrims buying offerings from their own shops located in the premises of these Sarais. Pilgrims should be careful of such elements as they tend to sell items at a price many times higher than their original value.
Many Hotels in Katra
There are various lodges, Guest Houses, ordinary and luxury hotels, Cottages, Resorts and all types of accommodation facilities available too, which provide accommodation to the devotees. Pilgrims have a wide range to choose from depending upon their taste and budget.
All Kind of Vegetarian Food is available for yatris
Katra has all types of vegetarian restaurants and dining places. Being a religious place, almost all these restaurants and catering outlets provide pure vegetarian food to the pilgrims in which even onion and garlic is not used. Pilgrims are also requested to preserve and uphold the sanctity of the Holy place and desist from demanding non vegetarian meals or alcohol from any outlets. Provision, General and Medical stores are available all over Katra as also at Adkuwari and Bhawan.
>Many nationalized banks have their branches at Katra. The State Bank of India, Bank of Punjab and J&K Bank also provide ATM facilities at Katra. Many more banks including ICICI Bank, UTI Bank are in the process of installing their ATMs here. The J&K Bank and the Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) have their branches at Bhawan also.
Aiport And Railway Connectivity
The nearest airport is located in Jammu. And a nearby Railway station is Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra. Options to get to Katra from there are to take a taxi, ₹820-890, or a bus from the stand just outside the railway station.
If you are traveling from Delhi, options include buses which go direct to Katra, or the train, which is more comfortable.
Katra Tourism Industry
Katra has a thriving tourism industry that offers plenty of hotels, guest houses, restaurants, dhabas, fast-food joints that fit all kinds of budgets as it serves as the base camp for pilgrims who visit Vaishno Devi. Most 3 star and above hotels have very good vegetarian food. There are hundreds of other restaurants in the main Katra market. On the way to Bhawan – you have many options for eating snacks and having cold and warm drinks. At some places run by the trust, you can have good lunch of rice and rajma.
Free accommodation is provided by some registered trusts in the form of Sarais for the poor. Over the years, a lot has changed, but one should not miss the opportunity to walk through the main bazaar (market) for buying (do not forget/hesitate to negotiate a bit) souvenirs, dry fruits, woolen garments, hosiery, leather jackets, etc.
Self Registration Required For Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra
To reach Mata Vaishno Devi Mandir(temple) the pilgrims have to register at the Katra before starting the trek. By registering, the pilgrims get accident insurance while on the trek for 1 lakh INR. It is a trek of 14 km. There is another trek (2.5 km) from Vaishno Devi temple for Baba Bhaironnath. It is said that the pilgrimage is not complete until you visit this temple at last. The scenery throughout the trek is picturesque. Environment-friendly auto rickshaws and helicopter services are available, to make the journey a pleasant one.
Shrine Board Offers Cheap Accommodation For Yatris In Katra
For the benefit of the pilgrims, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board provides clean, well maintained and very economical accommodation at Niharika and Shakti Bhawan situated at bus stand, Katra. Rooms, both air conditioned and Non air conditioned are available.
In addition, dormitory accommodation at Rs. 100/- per bed is available in Shakti Bhawan (Niharika complex). Another 500 bedded accommodation in Trikuta Bhawan is available near the 2nd Yatra counter (YRC II). In all the accommodation facilities provided by Shrine Board, there is an additional facility of a hygienic, no profit no loss Bhojanalayas, Souvenir Shop and a free cloak room.
Accommodation for all Shrine Board Guest houses/dormitories can be booked (subject to availability) at the reception of these guest houses or at the Enquiry and Reservation counter at Niharika complex. Advance reservation is possible by online from our official website www.maavaishnodevi.org.
The number of pilgrims that visit the shrine every year has increased from 1.4 million in 1986 to 8.2 million in 2009.