One step closer to Mata Vaishno Devi
By Shivangi On 19 Feb, 2013 At 06:20 PM | Categorized As Getting Around, India | With 0 Comments
According to industry estimates, about 20,000-25,000 people visit Katra every day. By mid-2013, this popular destination near the Vaishno Devi temple, is set to become accessible by rail. At present, the nearest railhead is Jammu, two hours away by road along the hills. The train journey will be comparatively more comfortable, cheaper and picturesque; though the time saved may not be significant, as the train will chug to Katra through Udhampur.

Along with a train connection to Katra, pilgrims will also get accommodation, shopping and food outlets. The entire first floor of the station has been allotted to Railways’ tourism arm, Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), which will pay 40 per cent of its revenues to the Indian Railways. Tickets for the shrine will also be available at the state-of-the-art railway station.

The Railways expects that the track to Katra will be ready by May. “By May, a 25-km rail track between Katra and Udhampur should be ready for trial run. Udhampur is already connected to Jammu,” said B.D Garg, Chief Administrative Officer, Udhampur Srinagar Baramullah Railway Link (USBRL), Northern Railway. The Katra-Udhampur rail link is important as it will connect Katra to the country’s rail network. The link, expected to cost about Rs 990-1,000 crore, is part of the Jammu-Udhampur-Katra-Quazigund-Baramulla rail line, designed to provide an alternative route to Jammu and Kashmir.

The train journey between Udhampur and Katra will, in several parts, be a ‘tunnel trip’ as about 11 km, or 44 per cent of the Udhampur-Katra section, is through tunnels.

Anticipating an increase in tourist inflow through trains, commercial real estate prices near the station have zoomed. In the last three years, when work on the station started, over 20 hotels have come up on the road to the railway station. IRCTC has further entered into a build-operate-transfer contract with another firm, which already runs a hotel — The Vaishnodevi — in Katra.

Now all you need is her beckoning!!


About - As the newest member of the content team, Shivangi Rajendran comes from the world of professional dancing. With a passion for travel and a flair for writing, the Masters in Mass Communication is just an added advantage. A gypsy at heart, she doesn’t believe in planning and is always ready to pack her bags and leave.

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