Settled on the foot of Trikuta Mountains, Katra serves as the gateway to Vaishno Devi shrine. The destination witness around 4.5 million pilgrims all over India who are heading towards the holy shrine, which is also the second most significant and important temple of India. Besides this famous spot, there are other attractions as well, and here are some of the places to visit in Katra:
1. Sanjichhat (3 km)
Located two and a half kilometers away from the holy shrine of Shri Vaishno Devi, Sanjichhat is an amusing plateau. Being the highest point enroute to the Vaishno Devi Temple, it provides an enchanting view of valleys and Himalayan peaks. This place provides chopper services to go back and forth between Katra and Sanjichhat. A pause in the route to the holy shrine, it is a sight with a pleasant ambience.
2. Himkoti (13.8 km)
Himkoti, unlike Sanjichhat, is a destination, which doesn’t carry any religious significance. Overlooking an entire valley, this place is famous for offering a beautiful view. Dotted with a number of food stalls, gardens and an artificial pond, this place provides spots where the travellers can rest during the journey. The other reason that this tourist attraction in Katra witnesses a large amount of crowd is the meditation centers available here. The calm and peaceful environment makes it an ideal destination for meditating.
3. Banganga (in Katra)
Originating from Dhauladhar Himalayan range, Banganga River is a tributary of the Beas River. It flows from Himachal Pradesh in Kangra Valley and an important stop on the route to Mata Vaishno Devi Temple, which is located after the Yatra Parchi Check Post. Because of its religious significance, devotees traveling to the holy shrine make sure to stop here for a holy bath. Watching the cold water flow elegantly through the dense vegetation is truly a rejuvenating experience.
4. Jhajjar Kotli (16.7 km)
Built on the banks of Jhajjar River, Jhajjar Kotli is surely one of the places to visit in Katra. Being 16.7 km away from Katra, this place rests upon the National Highway leading towards Srinagar. The surrounding valleys and the peaks of Himalaya add charm to the cold water.
5. Dera Baba Banda (25 km)
This is a popular pilgrimage site for the Sikhs. It was built by Baba Banda Bairaagi who was a follower of Guru Gobind Singh. Situated on the banks of Chenab River, this 300 year old complex has a Gurudwara. The pilgrimage consists of ashes of Banda Bahadur, a huge sword used during wars by him and an arrow given by Guru Gobind Singh.