Travel is not just a word, it is a recurring emotion, a hunger to explore more & experience more as we have got only one life. So, this time we planned to go to Jammu (another beautiful state of India). When we talk about jammu, the first thing that clicks in anyone’s mind is the holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi. Thus, we decided our first stoppage to be katra.
Firstly, we checked up the covid guidelines (RAT/RT-PCR report/Vaccination certificate) set by the state government along with the mandatory online yatra ticket through https://www.maavaishnodevi.org/ website. You just require a government ID proof (Aadhar card, Pan Card, Voter ID etc.) and the yatra ticket will be generated directly from shrine board at zero cost. Then we started our journey from New Delhi Railway Station and boarded Vande Bharat train at 6 in the morning and reached Katra by 2 p.m. The train covered major stations like Ambala Cantt, Ludhiana Junction, Jammu Tawi and finally Vaishno devi Katra. The synchronicity in the emotions, vibes and excitement of each and every fellow passenger made the ride more beautiful and memorable. To get rid of our travel exhaustion, luckily we found a decent and affordable place named ‘Hotel New Chintpurni’ to stay in.
At around 6 p.m. we begin to ascend towards ‘BHAWAN’. The weather was good and quite chilly in the night time. The chants of ‘JAI MATA DI’ will give you enough power to overcome your fears and fills you with strength, pleasure, joy and above all blessings of Mata (mother). You would find yourself to be automatically connected to the essence of the holy place. We continued our trek with timely halts to refresh our energy and enthusiasm. It started raining heavily when we were about 4 kms away from the bhawan. We covered that distance barefoot thinking god might be testing us in the final acclivity. After reaching in the vicinity of the sanctum sanctorum, we first put all of our stuff in a locker as things like wallets, belts, mobile phones etc. were not allowed inside the bhawan premises except the prasad and cash. There was a huge crowd of devotees everywhere for the DARSHAN of MAA. We did darshan in the early morning at around 4 o’ clock and the view and feelings at that time were really indescribable. The spirituality, devotion and the faith in MAA will awaken your inner spirit. We were totally mesmerized during the darshan.
Thereafter, having a small break for food, we moved towards Bhairav Nath Temple as there is a saying that your yatra would not be completed if you won’t visit Bhairav Baba Temple. It was another 4 km stretch of steep slope. It was raining the whole time, but we did not stop as we wanted to complete our journey in one go regardless of any obstacles. This whole 14 km expedition was worth experiencing. Finally, our journey was successful and a memorable one too. Afterwards, we descended back to our hotel with lots of happy and joyful memories.
Our next destination was Patnitop, a hilltop tourist location nearest to katra. We booked a cab from one of the travel agency in Katra. Patnitop offers a no. of treks, temples and certain gardens to enjoy the vacation with your loved ones. We encountered the following major attractions of patnitop:
- Kud Town and Market: We got to know from locals that patnitop’s PATISA is a famous sweet that everyone talks about. So we bought the sweet for our friends and family.
- Skyview Point: It offers various outdoor activities like zig-zag zipline, tubing sledge, magic carpet, gondola ropeway etc. We did gondola ride and came across with the enthralling landscape of patnitop.
- Mahakali Temple
- Apple Garden
- Children’s Park
- Patnitop Park
- Nag Temple
- Shani Dev Temple
A few wonderful pictures from our trip:
We spend our last night in one of the patnitop’s hotel and returned back to katra in morning to board a direct bus to New delhi taking all the blessings, experiences and memories of lifetime with us. We wrapped up another beautiful and spectacular trip on a really sweet note.
Approximate budget breakup per person is as follows:
- Vande bharat Train fare from Delhi to Katra: Rs. 1300
- Auto fare from Katra Station to Hotel: Rs. 50
- Hotel Price in Katra: Rs. 700-900/night (exclusive of food charges)
- Travel package (round trip from katra to patnitop): Rs. 4000 (Inclusive of one night stay, sight seeing and cab price)
- Gondola ride cost: Rs. 900
- Bus fare from Katra to New Delhi: Rs. 900
Our total expenditure on this trip was approximate Rs. 8k per person. The above mentioned prices are according to our travel experience. It may vary with respect to hotel and travel choices one may make.
Hope you find this blog interesting and till then stay safe and stay happy!