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About Katra

Katra or Katra Vaishno Devi is popularly known, is a small town in Udhampur district of the Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is situated in the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains, where the sacred temple of Vaishno Devi is located.Katra is located at an elevation of 754 meters (2,474 feet). Katra is situated in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir. This attractive destination is located about 42 kilometers from the city of Jammu.Katra usually serves as the base camp for all those devotees who visit Vaishno Devi and this has made Katra one of the most famous tourist destinations. Hindi, Punjabi and Kashmiri are local languages of Katra.

The main bazaar of Katra is worth to visit which is famous for woolen garments, hosiery, leather jackets etc which are of excellent value from this place. One should also buy dryfruits which are the speciality of this state. Katra is located at 32.98N 74.95E.It has an average altitude of 754 metres (2,474 feet). As of 2011 India census, Katra along with Ban-Ganga had a population of 37569.

Katra is about seven - eight hour drive from Srinagar, Katra become famous because of the Vaishno Devi cave temple. Pilgrims gather here in millions to this holy temple town of the Goddess Vaishnodevi. This shrine is believed to be built by the Pandavas and it is one among the oldest of the all the temples in India and situated at an elevation of 5200 feet. The temple portrays almost all the deities of the Hindu Pantheon. High amidst the snow clad mountain peaks, the shrine has a commanding view of the wonderful Himalayas.

Climate of Katra

Summer Season in Katra
The beautiful town of Katra witnesses sub tropical climate all over the year but the best time to visit Katra is from March to November. Summer season in the city is quite warm and hot. The temperature of the region rises to a maximum of forty degrees (40C). Summer season in the town of Katra enlarges through the months of May, June and July.

Winter Season in Katra
Usually winter season in the town of Katra is during the month of October, November, December, January and February. People travelling to Katra must carry woollen clothes.

Monsoon Season in Katra
Rainfall in the region is quite rare and occurs during the month of August and ends in the month of September. Generally during the monsoon season, the region witnesses high humidity.

Events / Festivals in Katra

Baisakhi Festival
It is one of the well-known festivals which is celebrated on the 13th of April, every year. This festival is one of the prominent Sikh festivals and is celebrated by both local devotees as well as foreigners with great zeal. It is one of the famous and popular festivals in Katra. This famous festival is dedicated to the start of the cropping season in Northern India.

Lohri festival
It is another famous festivals of Katra which is celebrated on the 13th of January. The Lohri festival symbolizes the fruitfulness of the earth. This festival is dedicated to welcome the beginning of spring season and to the end of the winter season. During the festival, local people also celebrate the taking of the winter crop. Generally, people celebrate this festival during the night and groups of people gather round bonfires. They celebrate this festival by throwing sweets, puffed rice and popcorn into the flames and usually they also worship the fire.

Tourism of Katra

Katra serves as the base camp for pilgrims who visit Vaishno Devi. It has a flourishing tourism industry that offers plenty of hotels, guest houses, restaurants, dhabas, fast-food joints that fit all kinds of budgets. 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, dryfruits, woolen garments, hosiery, leather jackets, etc.

To reach Vaishno Devi temple the pilgrims have to register at the Katra before starting the trek. By registering, the pilgrims get accidental insurance while on the trek for 1 lakh INR. It is a trek of 10.5 km.There is another trek of about 1.5 km from Vaishno Devi temple for Baba Bhaironnath. It is said that the pilgrimage is not complete until one visit this temple at last. The landscape throughout the trek is picturesque.Environment-friendly auto rickshaws and helicopter services also have started now-a-days to make the journey a pleasurable.

Tourist Attractions in Katra are-

Temple of Vaishno Devi
Temple of Vaishno Devi is the main reason to visit Katra and it is one of the main attraction of Katra. It is one of the famous cave shrines of Goddess Vaishno Devi which is also known as Trikuta Bhagwati. This temple is located at a height of 5200 feet. In this beautiful holy shrine the goddess is symbolized in the form of three pindis (rocks).

Shiv Khori
Shiv Khori is another attractive tourist destination and one of the important Katra attractions. It is situated about 75 kilometers from Katra, it has its own religious implication and stands on the second place after Vaishno Devi. This place is famous for its naturally formed Shiv linga which is a symbol of Lord Shiva. The shiv linga is 4 feet in high. Large number of devotees from all over the country comes to this place on the occasion of Shivratri as there is a major fair here.

Baba Dhansar
Baba Dhansar is located about 10 kilometers from Katra. This place is famous for its cool and pleasurable atmosphere which makes it one of the wonderful picnic spots for travelers. This beautiful tourist destination is located in the middle of the thick grove of trees that brings together a large number of travelers every year from all over the country.

Dera Baba Banda
Dera Baba Banda a holy place of Sikhs is another major tourist attraction of Katra which is located just about 30 kms from the town. This place is considered as an important Hindu-Sikh pilgrimage center. This gurudwara was built by Baba Banda Bairaagi near the banks of river Chenab.

How to reach Katra

By Rail
The nearest railway station in Jammu Tawi, which is connected to many cites in India, especially in the northern part. Trains are cheaper than buses for destinations in nearby states.

By Road
Buses to Katra can be taken from the nearby town of Jammu. One can take buses from many main cities to Jammu, from where one can reach Katra.

By Air
The nearest air base is at Srinagar (300 km) which is connected to major cities of the country.



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