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Katra, nestling in the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains, is quite famed as a base camp for pilgrims who come to visit the holy shrine of Vaishno Devi. Also known as Katra Vaishno Devi, the region of Katra is a small locale in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir. It is situated at a distance of 42 km from the city of Jammu and 14 km from the highly venerated shrine of Vaishno Devi. A trip to Katra is worth experiencing as it is the only place that offers a breathtaking ambience of nature in unison with God.
One of the most sacred pilgrim sites in the country, Vaishno Devi Shrine, the abode of goddess Vaishno Devi outshines all other religious places with its absolute sanctity and serenity. This pious site, perched at a height of 5300 ft, boasts of countless sagas of goddess Vaishno Devi. The utmost beauty of the rocky pathways complemented with picturesque natural surroundings make the journey from Katra to the Vaishno Devi Temple worth the experience. The 14-km route from Katra to Vaishno Devi is mostly covered by devotees by foot. However, pony rides and palanquins are also available to help aged, handicaps and infants reach the temple comfortably.
The gateway to the Vaishno Devi, Katra thrives as a blooming tourist destination. An adequate number of markets have been established over the time, and people coming for a Katra tour can indulge themselves in shopping for dry-fruits, souvenirs, leather jackets, and woollen garments from these markets.
The White Hotels is at a distance of 2 km from Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Railway Station. Considered among the best hotels in Katra, it has a restaurant, coffee shop, banquet hall, swimming pool, gym, spa and beauty salon. Hotel Devi Grand, situated on Reasi Road, accommodates guests in spacious and well-lit rooms. The amenities on offer here are a swimming pool, conference and banquet hall, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, restaurant and coffee shop. Just 600 metres from Katra Bus Stand, AMR Hotel has airy rooms with all modern amenities for the comfort of guests. Some of its defining features are a cinema complex, mall with numerous restaurants, and a massage centre.
Hotel Swing High, situated on Jammu Road, has air-conditioned rooms with earthy colour tones. A spa, sauna, steam room, salon and gym are featured here. KC Residency, a luxury hotel with a lobby lounge, rooftop restaurant and multi-cuisine indoor restaurant, is situated on National Highway 144 (erstwhile NH 1C). It has a lush lawn for guests to relax, a health club for them to get massages, and numerous banquet and meeting rooms.
Numerous 3 star hotels in Katra offer comfortable accommodation to those, who want to spend within limit. Some of these are Hotel Dolphin (Railway Road), Hotel Maa Gayatri India (Railway Road), Hotel Shree Hari Niwas (Jammu Road), Hotel Anurag (Main Bazar), Country Inn & Suites By Carlson (Vaishno Devi), Hotel Atithi International (Jammu Road), Hotel Gordon House (Jammu Road), Hotel Aashirwad (Jammu Road) and AJ International (Kashmir Road). Hotel Sham Palace (Chintamani), Hotel New Ashok (Helipad Road), Hotel Jagdish Residency (Kashmir Road), Van Durga Villas and Suite (Kotli Bajjalan) and Kashmir Residency (Jammu Road) are also a good option.
Pilgrims, who are here only for a day or two, can seek accommodation at many budget hotels in Katra like Hotel Sham (Main Bazar), Hotel Bhawani International (Near Katra Bus Stand), Hotel Parkash (Banganga Road), Hotel Shivalik (Kashmir Road) or Hotel Daya's Paradise (Hospital Road). Some more hotels in the economical category are Hotel Jai Mata Di (Railway Road), Hotel Krishna (Kashmir Road), Hotel Malti By RoomsInc (Kashmir Road), Hotel Gupta Palace (Hospital Road) and Hotel Kapoor Palace (Main Bazar).