A couple of years back, I discovered the sweet taste of ‘Me time’ when I explored the streets of Singapore all by myself. It was a rejuvenating stroll with decked up streets and mall as it was Christmas time. This stroll made me want for more such brief ” Me time” where you are just yourself, not a wife or a mom. Last year, during mid – November I had such an opportunity wherein I had to visit Maa Vaishno Devi Temple. SHE had blessed us and pulled us from a nightmarish crisis. I had to offer my tribute by paying a visit to her. As I travelled alone, I opted for the safest and quickest way to the Vaishno Devi temple which was by availing helicopter services.
My kids were little grown up but they still wanted their Mumma around them 24/7. I knew it would be quite challenging for my husband to handle them for three days if I don’t prepare them mentally. The moment I broke the news my daughter was inconsolable, my son was sad but at least he was not crying. I had to assure her that I won’t be there for only three days, they were accustomed to daddy’s short trips but not mumma’s. It took me few days to make them understand that it’s just for three days. We always wanted to go as a family but the ongoing pandemic shattered all our wishes.
Tickets and hotel everything was booked. I started my journey early morning and landed in Jammu around 11 am. Booked a cab from the hotel itself that picked me up from the airport and dropped me at the hotel in Katra. The ride was pleasant as the scenic beauty that hills offer always embraces you with warmth and love.
I preferred staying in Lemon tree hotel, Katra for various reasons. Its’s close to Katra hill from where you start your divine journey to Bhawan. As I was all alone and the crowd was lean during pandemic times, I chose Helicopter services which is the safest and quickest way to visit Vaishno Devi Temple.
The temple board was not allowing to trek up the hill all alone as most of the shops were closed and if one meets an accident there’s no one to help. A group of ten or more visitors were allowed to walk together. One can also go up by palanquins, ponies or on foot. The choice is yours but helicopter services are equally good and time-saving. It’s also a good experience to fly over the hills on these mini carriers.
My Journey uphill to Vaishno Devi Temple
- The uphill trek is around 13 km on foot via Ardhkumari. But the Helicopter ride almost covers this arduous journey in just 5 mins and drops you at Sanjichhat from there you can reach Bhawan on foot or take a pony, it’s only 2.5 km.
- I started my journey early at 5 am from my hotel. It was just a 5 – 10 mins ride to the helipad by an autorickshaw arranged by the hotel itself. It’s preferable if you book the tickets for helipad services before you start your journey. There are two Heli services ie. Global Vector and Himalayan Heli Services Pvt Ltd. Both are equally good.
- You can book the tickets and check out all the details for the helicopter services here. Due to bad weather if helicopter services are cancelled then the entire ticket amount is refundable.
- The helicopter ride was thrilling and rendered a new experience. In 5 mins I reached Sanjichhat and I preferred walking to the Bhawan.
- I took a guide along with me. They are all licensed and if they cheat or overcharge you, their license gets cancelled. The only fear you have when the crowd is not there are the notorious monkeys. They snatch your belongings if you have packets of food items in your hands. A guide can help you a lot to tackle all this mess. They are well aware of the route and surroundings so you don’t have to hunt out for anything.
- Instructions are well marked all over the place and before you enter the Bhawan you have to deposit all your belongings like phone, leather bags, etc in the locker rooms or you can hand it over to the guide also. Only yatra parchi and offerings are allowed inside.
- After having divine darshan of the Holy shrine I came back from where I started and headed to the ropeways for Baba Bhairav Nath temple. You can also reach there on foot, pony or palanquins.
Sharing few pics from my journey to the Holy Shrine.
Things To Do
- Book your Yatra Parchi and Tickets for helicopter service before you start your journey. It gives you a sense of how much time do you have in your hand.
- You can take a guide. Check his license and take his number as well as his name. In case of any harassment, you can complain to the authorities of the Vaishno Devi Trust and their license gets cancelled forever.
- Check out the weather of that particular day as the weather out there on hills is very unpredictable. Bad weather due to rain or heavy wind can disrupt the helicopter services. Tickets are refundable if you can’t avail the service.
- Take light warm clothes as the temperature on hills dips when there is heavy rain. Cover yourself well if you are going in winters, though the pathways are all covered but still, the breeze is bone-chilling.
- In case the helicopter services gets cancelled you can come take palanquin or
If you are planning to visit Holy Shrine and don’t have time in your hand then you can avail helicopter service. I took seven hours to have a darshan of the Holy shrine as well as of Baba Bhairav Nath temple and was back in my hotel, despite bad weather.
Plan well and you can visit the Holy Shrine in a day’s time. My solo trip was pleasant despite of bad weather.
I am taking my blog to next level with Blogchatter‘s#MyFriendAlexa.