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Why Visit Katra? 

10 Best Things to do in Katra

History of Vaishno Devi Temple

10 Best Things to do in Katra: From Spirituality to Adventure

The small town of Katra is nestled in the foothills of Trikuta mountain mountains in the Indian Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Katra has captured the hearts of millions of travellers from around the world and is the most requested place to visit in Kashmir tour packages because of its iconic pilgrimage and breathtaking landscape. Let’s delve into exploring Katra’s cultural heritage, religious significance and the myriad of things to do in Katra that attract visitors around the year. 

Why Visit Katra? 

The very first thought that comes to our mind when we think of Katra is the sacred “Vaishno Devi Temple” one of the most revered Hindu temples in the world. Every year thousands of pilgrims gather here in Katra to seek the blessings of “Mata Rani”. One of the key things to do in Katra is to embark on a trek to Vaishno Devi Temple. Apart from visiting religious places in Kashmir, there are plenty of other things to do in Katra.

Katra has some great places to visit like the Banganga River and Shiv Khori Cave. Apart from religious places, Katra has some great places for shopping in Kashmir. If you are a food enthusiast you can also savour some great delicious and traditional food from Kashmiri Cuisine in Katra. Katra offers numerous opportunities for trekking, hiking and other outdoor activities in Kashmir amidst the scenic surroundings. If you are an adventure enthusiast, you will find plenty of things to do in Katra. 

Festivities are a very core part of Katra’s cultural heritage. Navratri and Diwali are celebrated with great enthusiasm and excitement. The festivals are a great opportunity to immerse in the rich and cultural heritage of Kashmir, especially Katrao and experience their warmth and hospitality. 

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10 Best Things to do in Katra

  • Shop for Souvenirs and Local Handicrafts 

Katra offers a unique shopping experience with its colourful markets. The visitors can explore the local shops to find religious souvenirs, traditional Kashmiri handicrafts, woollen clothing and more. You can shop vibrant clothes and intricately designed jewellery from local artisans. You can also find some great places that sell delicious dry fruits and Patisa that suit the taste and budget of every visitor. 

  • Indulge in Local Cuisine 

A trip to Katra will be incomplete without experiencing the local Kashmiri Food. Katra has some great eateries that serve great varieties of food starting from local flavours to Punjabi and North Indian Cuisine. 

Some of the famous places that serve great food in Katra are: 

Prem Vaishno Dhaba: It’s a popular spot that serves great vegetarian dishes like Kadhi Chawal, Paratha and Choley Bhature. The homely ambience and the affordable pricing make it a great place to visit. 

Cafe Coffee Day: This popular coffee joint is the perfect place to have some great coffee and to relax and unwind. 

Kwality Restaurant: Kwality is a well-established restaurant in Katra that serves great Indian, Chinese and Continental dishes. 

Madhuban Restaurant: It’s a cosy eatery that serves great vegetarian food. The location of the restaurant makes it a popular spot among the visitors. 

  • Nature Walks and Picnics

The natural beauty of the surroundings makes Katra the most ideal location for walks and picnics. The serene and calm ambience makes the perfect backdrop for rejuvenation and relaxation. 

  • Capture Memorable Moments 

The luring landscape and vibrant places in Kashmir, especially Katra offer a great subject for some great photography. Katra is the perfect place to catch the golden hues of the sun. Each and every corner of Katra is beautiful so don’t forget to go through some photography guides to get the ultimate subject for the photograph. 

As you trek your way up to the mountains, don’t forget to capture some great raw emotions and the spiritual essence of the journey.

  • Attend Cultural Festivals and Celebrations 

Katra is great during the festivals. Diwali and Navratri are celebrated with a lot of fun and enthusiasm. The whole city lights up and the atmosphere is filled with excitement. From colourful processions to traditional music, Katra offers a great glimpse of the rich cultural heritage of the region. 

  • Trekking 

Katra is the best place for Trekking, as it is surrounded by mountains from all sides. The scenic view and the high mountain with trees offer a great place to trek in Katra. Of all the treks in Katra, the most famous and travelled is the trek to Mata Vaishno Devi.

  • White Water River Rafting

Experience the kick of adrenaline as you row through the highs and lows of the hushing river. With professional rafting guides, you can navigate through these rapids easily. 

  • Paragliding 

What better view of Katra than from the skies? The town of Katra is located in the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains, making it the most ideal spot for adventure sports like paragliding. 

The best time to experience this is from June to September. The weather is pleasant and ideal for flying. As you descend the hills, you are accompanied by a trained professional who is going to guide you through this once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you are worried about safety, rest assured, proper precautionary measures are taken to safeguard the visitors. 

  • Horse Riding

Imagine riding your horse in the valley surrounded by green pine trees. For adventure seekers, horseback riding is a must-do when in Katra. The local guide takes you through the valleys, up the hill and through the traditional village to give a closer look at life in Katra. Horse riding is an unforgettable experience for every nature lover. 

  • Try out Adventure Sports

The mountains surrounding Katra are the perfect spot to try out adventure sports like Rock Climbing, Rappelling and Bungee Jumping. These fun activities are a must in the list of things to do in Katra. They are a great way to experience the natural beauty of Katra. If you are afraid of heights, this is the perfect spot to get over your fear, the kick of adrenaline as you freefall is a great feeling to experience. 

Location of Katra

Katra is situated in the northern part of the country in the beautiful Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. This picturesque town nestled in the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains is the gateway to the revered Vaishno Devi Temple. 

The location of Katra makes it easily accessible by road and rail from Jammu city. The serene ambience and tranquil surroundings provide a great retreat for both pilgrims and travel enthusiasts. Whether you are seeking adventure, exploring places or learning local cuisine, there are countless things to do in Katra. 

How to Reach Katra

Katra being the home to the Mata Vaishno Devi, is well connected to the different parts of the country through various means of transport. 

  1. By Air: The nearest airport to Katra is Jammu Airport, also known as the Jammu Civil Enclave is 50 kilometres away from Katra. The airport is well-connected to the major cities of India. You can reach Jammu airport and later book a cab to reach Katra.
  2. By Train: The nearest railway is Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Railway Station. Trains from major cities of India arrive at this station. From the station, you can take a taxi to reach your desired destination.
  3. By Road: The roads connecting Jammu and Kashmir are great. The National Highway 44 passes through Katra making it easily accessible from Srinagar and Jammu. 
  4. By Helicopter: Helicopter services are also available from Jammu and Srinagar. This service can be expensive but is the most convenient method of transportation with the best scenic view.

Once you reach Katra, you can easily explore the myriad of things to do in Katra, including visiting Vaishno Devi Temple, indulging in the local Kashmiri cuisine or experiencing the thrill. 

Best Time to Visit Katra

Summers in Kashmir are beautiful but the best time to visit Jammu and Kashmir, especially Katra, completely depends on your personal preference and the activities you want to engage in. 

  • The pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi Temple is open throughout the year. So plan your trip accordingly keeping in mind your preferred weather and activities.
  • Winters are great if you want to witness snowfall. It’s also the best time if you want to avoid the crowd. 
  • If you want to witness the festivals in Kashmir like Navratri and Diwali, the Autumn seasons are great. The temperature is mild and the skies are clear. 
  • The best time to visit is during the Spring season which is from March to May. The weather is pleasant, the plants are in their full bloom and it’s the perfect time for nature walks and enjoying the landscape. 

Places to Visit In Katra

  • Visit Vaishno Devi Temple

No visit to Katra is complete without taking the sacred pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi Temple. This revered Temple is located on the top of the Trikuta mountains and is dedicated to maa Vaishno Devi. 

The trek is approximately 13 kilometres, offering breathtaking views of the mountains and the valleys of Kashmir. You can either take a pony or palki or walk to the temple. You can also opt for a helicopter service from Katra to Sanjhichatt. From Sanjhichatt you can find innumerable battery-operated tempos to complete the trek.

Throughout the trek, you can find a lot of shops that provide the necessities of the pilgrims. You can find refreshment units, eateries, accommodation, medical facilities, and restrooms all along the way. 

Devotees from all over the world visit this sacred temple throughout the year. This is considered as the most important Shaktipeeth as it is believed that the skull of Goddess Sati (Lord Shiva’s Wife) fell here. 

History of Vaishno Devi Temple

The temple came into existence in the year 1986 when the holy cave was discovered by Pandit Sridhar after Mata appeared in the dream of the priest. Even today, the descendants of Pandit Sridhar are the custodians of this temple. 

The best time to visit

The temple is open throughout the year, however, the best time to visit is between March and October as the temperature is warm and the skies are clear. If you wish to see the festivities, plan your trip during the month of Navaratri.

Things to Remember 

  • The trek is 13 kilometres in length, you can either walk or take ponies or palki to reach your destination.
  • Recently a ropeway has been constructed to connect Mata Vaishno Devi Temple and Bhairon Ghati.
  • Only vegetarian food is available throughout the trek.
  • Registration is mandatory to visit the holy temple.
  • Bargain to get the best rates of porters, ponies and palanquins.
  • Explore the spiritual spring of Banganga

The Banganga is an important spiritual site for every Hindu devotee. Most pilgrims prefer to take a dip in the sacred water of Banganga before continuing the Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra. 

The river originates from the Shivalik Range of the Himalayas and is an important tributary of the Chenab River. The Banganga has two tributaries hence the name “Twin of Ganges”. 


According to legends, when Mata Vaishno Devi was heading to the Trikuta Hills, he was accompanied by Langoorveer. When he fell thirsty, Maa shot an arrow in the ground and the spring of water came out. Hence the name Banganga, “Ban” means “Arrow” and Ganga means the sacred waters of Ganga. The spring has another name Bal Ganga because it is believed that Maa washed her “Bal” meaning “Hair” in this water.

Best Time to Visit 

The best time to visit is from March to June because, during the winter and monsoon seasons, the river does not have enough water. 

  • Visit Ardhkuwari Temple

Located exactly in the midpoint of Katra and Vaishno Devi Temple is this holy place Ardhkumari. It is believed that Mata Vaishno Devi took shelter in this cave for 9 months before heading to the Trikuta Mountains. Pilgrims often stop here to seek blessings. This place offers a great serene and spiritual aura, thus making it a must-have thing to do in Katra. 

  • Baba Bhairavnath Temple

The Bhairavnath Temple is located 3 kilometres away from Vaishno Devi Main Temple. Pilgrims usually take this trek after visiting Mata Vaishno Devi. It is said that the whole pilgrimage is incomplete without paying homage to Bhairavnath. 

The temple is located at a height of 2017 metres. There is a Havan Kund in the temple which is an important attraction of the temple and is considered holy. 


Legends have it that the severed head of Bhairavnath fell in this exact spot. While dying Bhairavnath asked Maa for forgiveness. Maa not only forgave him but also gave him the boon that the pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi Temple would be incomplete without paying homage to him.

How to Reach

A steep climb leads to the temple of Bhairavanth, you can either trek your way up or can choose to go by ropeway. The cable car ride takes about 5 minutes to reach the temple from Vaishno Devi but it is only one way. 

  • Charan Paduka

This auspicious place lies on the way to Maa Vaishno Devi temple. It is believed that when Maa was on her way to Trikuta Mountain, she was chased by the saint-turned-demon Bhairavnath, it is in this cave Maa decided to take a rest. In this cave, you can see the footprints of Mata Vaishno Devi on the rocks and seek blessings. 

  • Shiv Khori Cave

Shiv Khori Temple is located in the Resai district and is mostly visited during the Shivratri. This shrine is famous for its natural formation of Shivlinga. You can also find the images of God and Goddess thus the name Shivkhori meaning “Home of Gods”.

  • Mansar Lake

Mansar Lake is a beautiful picnic spot and has great religious significance. The ancient temple of Sheshnag happens to be located near this lake. This natural beauty is a great place to visit in the Jammu region. 

  • Baba Dhansar

Another hidden gem of Katra is Baba Dhansar, a sacred Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This Hindu temple is surrounded by lush greenery and picturesque serene surroundings and is a great place to soak in nature and offer prayers. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Q:What are the best places to visit in Katra?

Q: What is the best time to visit Katra?

Q:Are there any accommodation facilities available in Katra?

Q:What are some of the most famous restaurants and eateries to explore in Katra?

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