If you are planning a trip to Maa Vaishno Devi Darshan then here are some do’s and dont’s you must take care of:
First of all , categorize the people who are going for The Darshan.
Infants : Young : Adults : Elders.
As on a trip like this you will clearly see the difference that these age groups bring along with them.
As I am resident of Delhi/NCR. I will guide you from Delhi onwards:
You can catch a Train or a Bus or even a Plane for Jammu.
Make sure you have made reservations www.irctc.co.in well in advance as this is one of the busies-est route of Indian Railways.You can use www.redbus.in reserve a Bus seat to Jammu.There are many Airline Booking sites that you can use. I prefer www.cleartrip.com.
Once you are done with the reservations don’t forget to tell your friends and family that you are going to Vaishno Dham as they might or have offerings for “Jai Mata Di”. A common faith among people is that goddess Vaishno Devi sends a ‘call’ to her devotees; and once heralded, the pilgrim finds himself compelled to march towards the holy shrine of the great goddess. It is believed that a supernatural power seems to draw pilgrims across the mountains, so they climb those great heights, step by step, chanting “Prem se bolo, Jai Mata di“. Even those who are unused to walking the slightest distances, accomplish the difficult ascent of innumerable stairs. Popular belief holds that anybody who walks the Himalayan trail to Mata Vaishno Devi’s abode to ask for a boon does not return disappointed.
Now that you know what day you are going to Jammu, exactly one month in advance log onto the official website of maavaishnodevi shrine board www.maavaishnodevi.org
This is so that you can book a room or a Dormitory at Jammu/Katra/Bhawan.
The shrine is approachable on foot along a 12 km path from Katra.Also if you have infants and elders accompanying, you have a provision to go by Helicopters.
Currently Pawan Hans is serving the tender period for Helicopter services though all the booking are done through / via shrine board’s website.
One way fare is Rs. 700 and a return journey will cost you Rs.1400 per person.
I will giude you on how to go via Helicopter route in this blog.
Once you are done with the online booking, you will get an e-Ticket. Take a print out of the same and carry it along with all the persons valid Photo ID cards that you have used to book online ticket.Make sure you carry a copy of the same ID card that you have used.
You can hire a Taxi or take a Bus from Jammu Railway Station to Katra.
Expected travel time from Jammu to Katra : 2 hrs. once at Katra don’t forget to eat something at one the famous Delhi restaurants now open in Katra. I prefer Jewels. Once done with some eating you can depart for the Helipad which is approx 15 minutes drive from Katra. Make sure you reach Katra prior 1:00 hour before your scheduled departure. There is one Sagar Ratna Express Outlet now opened at the Helipad crossing Katra ( A small outlet with some south Indian and some fast food in there menu) don’t expect The Sagar Ratna Delhi’s taste or ambience.
Also note that there is a very small room at Katra or Sanjichat helipad, So don’t expect that you can have some rest there. Usually its overcrowded , also check with the authorities before movig towards the Helipad if the flights are running or not. Mostly flights get cancelled due to N number of reasons. Mine was cancelled once due to Sand (rait) deposit at the Helipad which happened due to lack of coordination between the Shrine Board Authorities and Pawan Hans Authorities.
Don’t get upset that my flight was cancelled and i had to travel all the way. People we are living in India anything and everything can happen here, all it takes is some Phone calls *( Make sure you carry a Post Paid # as Prepaid # won’t work there). Deposit your ticket on the Check-In counter and take your respective boarding passes. ( Girls and obsess people be careful they do a weight check before issuing boarding passes) ooO.
Now wait for you turn. No automated system. A man will shout your name and well you have to be attentive to hear the call.
Tired of typing today will continue in another post… Jai Mata Di !