Katra or Vaishno Devi, as it is popularly known, is a small town situated in the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains, where the holy shrine of Vaishno Devi is located. It is located 42 km from the city of Jammu. A pilgrimage to the Holy Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji is considered to be one of the holiest pilgrimages. Popular the world over as Moonh Maangi Muradein Poori Karne Wali Mata, which means, the Mother who fulfills whatever Her children wish for, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji resides in a Holy Cave located in the folds of the three peaked mountain named Trikuta (pronounced as Trikoot). The Holy Cave attracts millions of devotees every year. In fact, the number of Yatris visiting the Holy Shrine annually now exceeds one crore. This is due to the unflinching faith of the devotees who throng the Shrine from all parts of India and abroad. The Yatris have to undertake a trek of nearly 12 km from the base camp at Katra. At the culmination of their pilgrimage, the yatries are blessed with the Darshans of the Mother. These Darshans are in the shape of three natural rock formations called the Pindies. There are no statues or idols inside the Cave. Now a days Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine board introduced the Helicopter service for the comfort of yatris.
Note:Darshans are open round the clock throughout the year.
Lakhs of pilgrims from different parts of the country visit this Cave Shrine to seek blessings of Lord Shiva.Dedicated to the Lord Shiva, the Shiv Khori Shrine is situated on a hillock in Ransoo village of Tehsil Reasi of the Udhampur Vehicles go up to village Ransoo, surrounded by lush green mountains. Pilgrims have to trek about 3 kms track from Ransoo by foot. Its 88 Kilometers from Katra during the Shivratri a three day fair is held when devotees from all corners throng the cave shrine. The administration keeps a regular check on the langers operating during the festival days for ensuring better eating facilities to the pilgrims and proper security arrangements for the pilgrims coming to take part in Shiv Khori Festival.
Aghar Jitto -
Just 6 km away from Katra is Aghar Jitto, the Shrine of Baba Jitto, a devotee of Mata Vaishno Devi and a revolutionary who led a campaign against the feudal order. According to legends, a dip in the holy spring water, flowing in front of the shrine, does miracles to pre-natal women for safe delivery of children. A path from here leads to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi.
Dera Baba Banda -
At about 30 kms from Katra lies this major Hindu-Sikh pilgrimage centre. Baba Banda Bairaagi was Guru Gobind Singh's favourite 'Saint-soldier', who had the gurudwara constructed on the banks of river Chenab, where he spent his last days.
Baba Dhansar -
Located 11 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.
Bhimgarh Fort, generally known as the Reasi Fort, near Reasi, a town approximately 40 kmfrom katra. The Fort is located on a hillock approx 150 metres high. Initially the Fort was constructed of clay and later on one of the heirs of Maharaj Rishipal Rana, the founder of Reasi, reconstructed it using stone. It was used by the royal family members for taking shelter during emergencies. The main entry gate is made of Baluka stones with Rajasthani carving. The Fort has a temple, a pond, a number of rooms of different sizes, armoury and treasury. The Fort was handed over to the Jammu and Kashmir State Archaeology Department in 1989 on the orders of state government. In 1990.
Nav Pindiyuan ka mandir , is yet another cave shrine situated on the bank of a river , 3 kms from katra road.The nau or none pindies ( Images) represent the nine forms of godess Durga . It becomes common to the pilgrimage to visit the temple