Jammu & Kashmir, strategically located in the Himalayan Mountains, forms the start and end of many popular Hindu pilgrimage treks. The state has many religious sites and Katra, a small town located in foothills of Trikuta Mountains in J&K, is one of them. The town is well known for dry natural products, calfskin coats and woolen clothes. Katra is a shopper’s paradise and tourists drool over textiles with Kashmiri embroidery, Pashmina shawls, Cashmere shawls, Cashmere carpets, silks, etc. It is located at an elevation of 2,474 feet above mean sea level, thrives on the religion tourism industry. The best time to visit Katra is between the months of March to October. December to March is also a good time to visit if you like snow and do not mind the winter chill but its recommended to look for the best places to stay in Katra beforehand as most of the town’s best hotels are all booked in peak seasons. Let’s have a look at the best places to visit near Katra within 100 km of its radius.
1. Vaishno Devi
The main attraction of Katra has always remained Mata Vaishno Devi temple, which is around 42 kilometers from Jammu. Katra serves as the base camp for the pilgrims who undertake a challenging 13.5 km long trek to reach the shrine. The temple is considered as one of the holiest of the Shakti Peethas (holy places representing cosmic energy).
2. Bhairon Temple
One of the best places to visit around Katra, Bhairon Temple is an important pilgrimage site as well and it has interesting legends related to it. According to the legends, Bhairav Nath asked for forgiveness for his wicked acts in his last breath and Vaishnavi granted him the same. It is deemed that the excursion to Vaishno Devi only completes after paying a visit to Bhairav Mandir, situated on the top of the hill and easily accessible from Ardhkuwari.
Patnitop is located at a height of 2024 meters crosswise over which the Jammu- Srinagar Highway passes. Patnitop offers excellent outing spots, tranquil strolls and amazing perspectives of the mountain scape with Chenab River flowing nearby. It is the best created vacationer spot of Jammu and is known for its characteristic appeal, atmosphere, pine woodlands and lavish green spread.
Around 59 km from Jammu, Mansar is a wonderful lake surrounded by woods, secured hills with its length and width. Mansar is a prominent holiday destination in Jammu. It is a sacred site as well sharing the legend and sacredness of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet.
5. Shiv Khori
Shiv Khori, the holy cave of Lord Shiva is at a separation of 70 Km from Katra. The cave is a genuine miracle to be seen and measures almost kilometer long with a 4 feet high normally shaped Shiv-lingam at the heart of the Sanctum Sanctorum.