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The Vaishno Devi Mata shrine board has made elaborate arrangement for neat and clean accommodation at Katra near the bus stand. The economical accommodations are available at Shakti Bhawan and Niharika Yatri Niwas which are located near the Katra bus stand. The rooms of both non-air conditioned and air conditioned are available. Apart from this dormitory facilities are also available at a nominal charge of Rs. 50/- per bed at Shakti Bhawan. The Vaishno Devi shrine board is in the process of building another five hundred bedded accommodation facility at Sarai building. This is located at the YRC II (2nd Yatra counter) and its construction is expected to be completed in a short time. The accommodations facility provided by the shrine board is self sufficient and complete in all respect to provide the comprehensive amenities to the yatris. Each accommodation block is maintained in the best of hygienic conditions, facility for free cloak room, economical Bhojanalay, Souvenir Shop and free parking of the private vehicles of devotees are provided.

Enquiry Counters and Information Centers

In order to cater for trouble free pilgrimage for the devotees coming from far flung areas, the shrine board has established several enquiry counters and information centers. These enquiry centers are in operation 24-hour for the assistance of devotees. These information centers provide information on the various aspect related to the yatra of which majority of the devotees are unaware. The shrine board has established these counters at important locations of the yatra with facilities to make announcements. They can be found at Himkoti, Bhawan, Katra, Sanjichat and Adhkuwari. The information center of Katra is located near the Katra main Bus Stand. The center at the main temple Bhawan is located near the gate no. 1. The enquiry centers at other locations are also placed at prime locations. There are also several information centers available at Jammu General Bus stand and Jammu Tawi Railway station for the people reaching Jammu from other areas. The Shrine Board also has a proposal to set up an information center at the Jammu Airport.

Refreshment Centers, Snack Counters and Bhojanalays

The nearness to the temple and religious customs ensure that you get the best of the vegetarian recipes in Katra. The people arriving to the Holy cave temple can savor numerous Punjabi delicacies. Some of the no profit no loss ventured Bhojanalay are operated by at Niharika complex by the Shrine Board. The food served at these Bhojanalay is neat, hygienic, and tasty. Apart from the shrine board there are many private restaurants and Dhabas serving delicious foods. Some of the delicacies which are advised to be tasted when you are in Katra include the popular Rajma Chaval. This is a special combination which is found in this part of the country. The delicious Rajma curry and the beautiful fragrance of the basmati rice would surely be liked by all food lovers. Some of the other food varieties which you can try include Chole Bhature, Shahi Paneer etc. South Indian foods are also available in some of the private restaurants.

Palki, Ponies & Pithoos

The walking stretch off the Yatra is very tiresome for old aged people and children. Facilities are available for carrying these people on Horseback, Dolis and pithoos. The pithoos are professional people who can carry luggage and small children. Pithoos are suitable for young children who are not comfortable on horseback. Also, if you have fewer luggages with you then you can request the pony owner to carry the luggage along with the pony free of cost. Dolis are suitable for old aged devotees.

Cloak Rooms/Luggage Rooms

The Yatra from Katra to the Bhawan can only be undertaken with minimum luggage. Hence, shrine board has made adequate arrangements for the personal safety of the devotees’ belongings by operating numerous cloak/luggage rooms at all the accommodation places. This facility is also provided by many of the private lodges and hotels. Some of the private operatives also claim to provide such facilities. However, devotees are advised to check the credentials of such claimants and see that they do not fall prey to some miscreants. The devotees are requested to remain extra vigilant with valuable like mobile phones, camcorder, and cameras. These gadgets are not permitted inside the temple premises; hence they have to keep them at a safe place. It is advisable to keep your valuables only in the shrine boards Cloak rooms for better safety. The prime responsibility of the safe custody of the personal luggage remains with the devotees.

Free Blankets Distribution by Taking Nominal Security Deposit

The devotees usually coming to visit the holy cave cannot carry heavy blankets with them. The climate at night is cool even during the summer season and the devotees would require the use of blankets to protect from this inclement weather. The Shrine Board has made adequate arrangements for free blankets at several locations. The blankets are issued to the devotees after collecting nominal security deposited which is refunded once the blanket is returned. The blankets are maintained in hygienic conditions and help you to remain cozy at night.  Devotees are advised to obtain correct receipt for the security deposit made at the blanket counter.

Medical Facilities

The shrine board does not demand any medical certificate from the pilgrims who are undertaking the yatra. However, as part of the personal safety people suffering with heart problems, high Blood pressure and breathing disorders can get a medical examination done before undertaking the yatra in own interest. The medical science reveals that sudden change in altitude and tough climbing would aggravate the asthmatic, orthopedic, rheumatic and cardiac disorders. The medical requirements of the pilgrims are looked after by a fully fledged hospital at Katra. The hospital also provides a 24 hours dispensary which is run by charitable trusts under the sponsorship of the Shrine Board. There are adequate medical facilities available at prime locations to attend any medical emergencies. Such emergency medical camps are set up at Sanjichatt, Banganga, Adhkuwari and Bhawan. Adequate stocks of oxygen cylinders are available to help devotees with breathing disorders. However, specialized medical facilities can only be received at Jammu.

Passenger Train Reservation Counter

The shrine Board is constantly striving hard to provide all possible facilities for the peaceful and trouble free conduct of the Vaishno Devi pilgrimage. The shrine board is into the process of establishing a Train reservation facility at Katra. Presently, the nearest Railway reservation counter is located at Jammu Railway station. The facilities and the place required for setting up the counter has already been provided by the shrine board. The computerized railway reservation counter will be operational at Katra in a short period of time.

Security Measures for the Devotees

The frequent militant attacks and past incidences have made the state government to make adequate security arrangement for the peaceful conduct of the yatra. The state government has deployed adequate local police to beef up the security. The paramilitary forces are also deployed at prominent locations. The security forces carry out regular patrolling on the various tracks. The other security measures undertaken include vigilance, mock drills of militant attack, frisking of suspicious characters and other security measures. The security staff employed by the shrine board is placed at prime locations to provide additional vigilance. Some of the other measures for enhancing security include inspection of the baggage using X-Ray, passing the devotees through frames fixed with Metal Detectors. The presence of CCTVs at prime locations where there is excessive gathering of devotees helps the shrine board to protect the devotees and assets of the temple.

The Yatra stretch consists of several police posts and stations. The prime locations of Adhkuwari, Bhawan, Sanjichatt, Katra and Banganga are provided with police stations. Apart from these, senior police officers of the rank of Superintendent of Police (SP) are available at Bhawan and Katra.

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