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Jammu - The City of Temples

Set against the backdrop of the snow-capped Pir Panjal range, Jammu marks the transition between the Himalayas in the north and the dusty plains of the Punjab in the south, bridging these two extremities by a series of scrub covered hills, forested mountain ranges and deep river valleys. The southernmost unit of the state of Jammu & Kashmir, Jammu region is traversed by the Shivalik hills and quenched by the rivers Ravi, Tawi and Chenab.

The city of Jammu is named after Jambu Lochan, the brother of Bahu, a powerful local chieftain who ruled during the ninth century. During 1730 AD, the Dogra rulers built the city of Jammu as their capital and adorned it with numerous temples and shrines now known as the "city of Temples". It is dotted with some historical temples like the Raghunath Temple, Ranbireshwar Temple, Peer Kho Temple, Panjbakhtar Temple which are over a hundred years old. It is the winter capital of Jammu & Kashmir.

Kargil Town
View of Jammu
Kargil Town
Jammu Temples

Mata Vaishno Devi

The Katra town is located 52 Kms from Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu & Kashmir State. It is one of the most popular pilgrim destinations for Hindus the world over as it is the base camp for the pilgrimage to the Holy shrine of Shri Mata Vaishnodevi ji in the famed Trikuta Mountains in the Shivalik Range. Indian Spiritual tradition has propounded four Purusharth (objectives) of a human life, These being Dharm (Righteousness), Arth (Material Pursuits), Kaam (Contentment) and Moksh (Entitlement), Shri Mata Vaihno Devi is believed to grant all the four boons to those who visit her Holy Shrine. She is considered to fulfill anything and everything that a person wishes for in life, in a righteous way. It is an experience of all, that no one goes empty from Her Great Pilgrimage. The journey to the Holy Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi is thus an enchanting journey of the places where Mata Vaishnavi had spent some time while observing various spiritual disciplines and penances. The culmination of this journey is at the Holy Cave where She merged Her Human form with the astral form of Her creators, the three Supreme Energies.

Katra can be approached by the pilgrims from Jammu Railway Station as well as the Jammu airport by taxies, private buses and buses run by the State Road Transport Corporation. Helicopter Services also operate between Jammu to Katra and Katra to Sanjhi Chhat daily. It takes upto 1 ˝ hours of driving through the lower Shivalik hills to reach Katra from Jammu. The ancient temple of Kol Kandoli located at Nagrota, 12 kms from Jammu is considered to be the first darshan of the Holy Goddess of Mata Vaishnodevi Ji. In the days when the pilgrimage to Vaishnodevi Ji was performed entirely on foot, the first of the 6 nights halts after Jammu used to be at this temple.

At Katra there is an abundance of accommodation available both in private hotels and sarais besides economical accommodation provided by the Shrine Board in very good condition. For more details log on to website of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board - “www.maavaishnodevi.org”

Katra/Mata Vaishno
View of Katra/Mata Vaishno Devi in Night
Katra/Mata Vaishno
Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra in Progress