How To Reach Katra
By Air: : Jammu Airport, also known by the name Satwari Airport and located approximately 48 kilometers away is the nearest airfield that can be availed to reach Katra by air. The major airlines operational at the Jammu Airport are Air India, IndiGo, GoAir, Kingfisher Airlines, SpiceJet, JetKonnect, etc. Some of the noteworthy destinations accessible from Jammu Airport via air include Delhi, Leh, Srinagar, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Chennai, Hyderabad, Goa, etc. Buses and cabs are available to reach Katra from Jammu.
By Rail: Katra Railway Station positioned about 1.5 kilometers away from the ‘Main Chowk’ of Katra is a small railway station that is under construction and is expected to start operating in near future. The nearest railway station to reach Katra via rail is located at Jammu. The Jammu Railway Station, also known as the Jammu Tawi Railway Station sited in the Jammu city is located about 46 kilometers from Katra. Being the largest railhead of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu Tawi Railway Station serves the tourists headed towards Vaishno Devi, Kashmir Valley and Amarnath on a grand scale. Indian Railways connect Jammu Tawi (JAT) to almost all the major cities of the country. Some of the most important trains originating or halting at Jammu Tawi include, Himsagar Exp (to Kanyakumari), Jammu Rajdhani Exp (to New Delhi), Duronto Exp (to Delhi Sarai Rohilla), Shalimar Exp (to Delhi), Swaraj Exp (to Mumbai), Vivek Exp (to Mumbai), Andaman Exp (to Chennai), Himgiri Exp (to Kolkata), Malwa Exp (to Indore), Jhelum Exp (to Pune), Sarvodaya Exp (to Ahmedabad), Jammu Tawi - Jabalpur Exp (to Jabalpur), Hemkunt Exp (to Rishikesh), Archana Exp (to Patna), etc. Once the Kashmir Railway commences, all the trains to Kashmir Valley will pass through Jammu Tawi. By 2013, the railway track will be extended to Udhampur and Katra which will render the train journey to Katra easier and more convenient.
Katra is located about 48 kilometers from Jammu and is connected to Jammu via National Highway No 144 (also called 1C). A number of State Transport as well as private buses (standard, deluxe, luxury) are operated to Katra from Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi. Moreover, tourists can also hire a cab from various locations of Jammu and neighboring states for Katra. A cab from Jammu to Katra costs about 800 to 900 INR. A road journey from Jammu to Katra consumes around 2 hours of time as this route is mountainous and undulating. Shared taxis also ply frequently from Jammu and Udhampur to Katra everyday and commuting to Katra via road is quite easy and near at hand as the state receives a huge influx of pilgrims headed to Vaishno Devi Temple daily, all round the year.
If you are driving your own vehicle and want to avoid the Jammu City, you can also opt for the bypass available here. Just before you enter the Jammu city, drive about 35 kilometers straight on NH 1A and reach Domel. From Domel take the NH 1C which will lead to directly to Katra. Domel is positioned 17 kilometers away from Katra and the road will reach you to Katra in about 45 minutes or so. Another alternative is to take a by pass from Kunjwani approximately 10 km off Jammu which will lead us straight to the base camp of Katra. Scores of State Transport buses operated by various states of Northern India and numerous private bus operators connect Jammu with almost all the major cities of the country and from Jammu, Katra is quite close by.
To reach the Vaishno Devi Temple from Katra, pilgrims can either take the Katra – Ardh Kuari – Maa Vaishno Devi Bhawan route or reach directly to the temple from Katra by Helicopter.