Located in the foothills of Trikuta Mountain, Katra a small town in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir is the gateway to the holy shrine of Vaishno Devi. It is the base camp for umpteen numbers of pilgrims who visit the shrine. This place has a fast growing tourism industry with array of good hotels, guest houses, restaurants, food joints and dhabas that cater to the needs and requirements of every individual.
With mammoth increase in the number of pilgrims that visit the shrine there has been lot of development that has taken place in Katra to meet these increasing demands. All the pilgrims have to get themselves registered at Katra before starting the trekking to the shrine. This town enjoys a sub tropical climate and has within its lap summers, monsoon, winters as its basic seasons.
Katra has rich culture and age old traditions which are unravelled by the festivals and events the local population celebrates. One can quench his/her spiritual thirst and get an inner satisfaction that directly sooths ones soul. This town is characterized by Hindu population and it celebrates all the festivals with great pomp. The most important festival that requires special mention is Navaratri- The festival to express gratitude and which is dedicated to the nine incarnations of Goddess Durga, holds special importance and is celebrated with much gusto and vigour. Spectrums of cultural events like singing competition, painting competition etc is organized for nine days where people from neighbouring states come and participate and grace the event.
The main market or the “bazaar” as it is locally known is must place to spend some time. This is market is famous for rich dry fruits, the speciality of this town. Other items like woollen garments, hosiery, leather items etc and that too at the most competitive price are also one of the town’s main traits.
The Holy Shrine of Goddess Vaishno Devi is the foremost reason that thousands and thousands of pilgrims of any caste, community and religion turn up to visit Katra. This number is increasing by leaps and bounds year after year. Above all Jammu has amazing options for tourists and is the main gateway to the Kashmir Valley.
Stay option in Katra is not an issue at all as one can get good hotels, lodges, guest houses and resorts as per the budget and the choice. All these places render good standard of hospitality and courteous services at much affordable rates. Apart from Goddess Vaishno Devi shrine, other places that mesmerise the attention of the tourists in Katra are:
- Shivkhori: The Holy cave Abode of Lord Shiva is located at a distance of 70kms from Katra. This cave is in the shape of Lord Shiva’s Damroo, is a natural formation and a miracle to be worth seen.
- Baba Dhansar Temple: Lord Shiva temple is located at a distance of 15kms from Katra.
- Mantalaii: Surrounded by lush deodar forests, this place is believed to the marriage spot of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
- Jhajjar Kotli: A natural scenic view on the banks of Jhajjar rivulet is one the major tourists attraction.
With “Jai Mata Di” echoing in the entire atmosphere, Katra is a place where Goddess Herself resides to shower the blessing on the pilgrims.