When we think of Katra, the only place that immediately comes to mind is the Vaishno Devi temple. The temple is situated amidst Trikuta mountains. The shrine has a cave where Mata appeared in three rock forms, known as Pindies. The entry gate to the yatra is called Darshani Darwaza and is located 1 km from the bus stand. To reach the holy shrine, you have to trek 13-kilometers uphill from Katra. There are horse and palanquin services for the elderly and weak. There is also the option of taking a helicopter ride till Sanjichhat and walking 2.5 km from there to reach the shrine. Sanjichhat is a beautiful spot from where you can enjoy splendid view of the Himalayas.
This is among the most auspicious places to see in Katra that lies on the way to the cave or bhawan of Maa Vaishno Devi. Charan Paduka is where the foot imprints of Maa can be seen on a rock slab. Mata Vaishno Devi or Vaishnavi was being chased by Bhairavnath, the saint turned demon. She was moving towards her cave when she decided to rest here for a while. That is when her footprints got lodged in the rocks. Visit Charan Paduka to seek the blessings of Mata before continuing your ascend to her cave.
Another holy stop when moving towards Vaishno Devi is Ban Ganga. It is one of the best places to visit in Katra. The Shivalik Range of Himalayas is where this Ganga originates from and visiting it is one of the best things to do in Kahsmir in June. Once Mata Vaishanvi was going towards her abode in the cave when the monkey accompanying her felt thirsty. With no water around, Maa shot an arrow in the earth, out of which the Ganga sprang up. That gave it the name Ban (arrow) Ganga. Interestingly, it is also called Bal (hair) Ganga, as it is believed that Maa washed her hair in it. Ban or Bal Ganga offers relaxation to devotees while on the trek to the Devi’s temple. Take a dip and feel fresh and blissful before continuing the journey to other tourist places in Katra.
After drenching in the spirit and energy of Maa in Vaishno Devi temple, move up a bit to pay Baba Bhairavnath a visit, one of the best Katra sightseeing places. You just have to walk 2 to 3 km upwards from Vaishno Devi to reach Bhairavnath temple. The view up here is more majestic and mesmerizing. This temple is dedicated to saint Bhairav who later turned demonic. He was killed by Maa Vaishno Devi here. Since he resented his sins, he was forgiven. This place is termed as important as Vaishno Devi because it was Maa herself who proclaimed the pilgrimage to my shrine will be incomplete without visiting Bhairavnath temple.
Baba Dhansar is another of the many must-visit holy places in Katra. It is located less than 13 kilometers from Katra and there are plenty to awesome homestays and guest houses in Katra located near this place. It requires climbing stairs, around 100 of them. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva with an interesting legend associated with it. Apart from the beautiful temple, what attracts tourists at this place are a series of marvellous waterfalls and lush greenery all around.
Take some time out from your pilgrimage to holy shrines to rest and admire the natural beauty of Himkoti. Bask in the splendid view of the hill stations near Katra, dense and magnetic greenery, and the calming environment. It is also a great place to relax and have a picnic with family. Home to awe-striking natural gifts, Himkoti can be easily counted as one of the best Katra tourist places.
Baag-e-Bahu is one of the unusual places to visit in Katra. It is situated around 45 km away from Katra. It is an ideal place to remove all your tiredness after visiting the various holy shrines. If you are a history lover and your body isn’t too tired from the pilgrimage, visit the famous Bahu Fort near the garden. There is a riveting tale associated with the fort and the creation of Jammu. There is also a temple dedicated to Maa Kali inside the fort.
Popularly called ‘Mini Gulmarg’, Sanasar is located some 17 km away from Patnitop. It is a little away from Katra; you will have to travel for around 3 hours on road to reach the location. The place is a marvellous abode of mesmerizing lake, hills and forests. It also lets you indulge in adrenaline sports like paragliding, hot air ballooning, and horse riding during summer in Kashmir. There are various attractions in Sanasar to occupy you the whole day. Visit Nag Temple, Hidden Creek, Sanasar Lake, and do witness the waterfalls.
Jhajjar Kotli is listed among the famous places to visit in Katra. Your idea of a perfect picnic will come true here at Jhajjar Kotli. This is the ideal place to visit around the town of Katra when you are traveling with your family. Being here feels like giving a rejuvenating spa to your senses. Due to its surroundings and soothing vibes, this is one of the most-visited places near Katra. This relaxing spot is located 15 kilometers away from Katra.
Raghunath Temple is located at a distance of 8 kms from the city of Jammu. It was built by Maharaja Ranbir Singh and is among the best places to visit in Katra. Dedicated to Lord Rama, this temple is amongst the largest temples in the Northern India. Other idol in the temples include Lord Krishna, Ganesh Ji, and other Hindu deities. The temple reflects the Mughal architectural style and the main tower is built in Sikh architectural style. You can also have a look at the paintings depicting the religious verses of the Holy Gita, Mahabharata and Ramayana.