I was fortunate enough to finish with my Vaishno Devi yatra just in time because immediately after the day I returned to Mumbai from Jammu, there was a lockdown imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus, which has wreaked havoc in many parts of the world already.
When I came back in my helicopter ride to Katra, I slept at my hotel for a few hours before waking up to just go out for a stroll to the market near the hotel. I picked up a few stoles, which were a steal at low prices and, therefore, too irresistible! There is nothing like a good bargain to a (self-confessed) shopaholic.
I came back to the hotel and rested for the rest of the day since I was tired from my all-night trip and climb to the Vaishno Devi Bhawan. Katra is a dry and no non-veg zone, to the absolute delight of a hardcore vegetarian such as yours truly. It has a multiplex with a food court and the Idli Chaat at the Sagar Ratna is an absolutely delicious must-have – I don’t think I ever had an idli chaat before this. It’s healthy and tasty. Their paneer tikka is another mouthwatering delicacy that one has to try.
The next day, I visited the waterfall at the Dhansar Baba temple complex which has lush green valleys and hills on all sides and a waterfall (which, according to local legend and the priest there, has no origin) and houses a Swaymbhu Shivji in a small alcove sort of a cave. After this, I went to the Nau Devi Mata temple, which is again a cave one needs to almost lie down to enter.
On my way back to the hotel, I also took darshan at the Jitto Ji Baba temple, who was an ardent devotee of Mata Vaishno Devi and she is said to have given him blessings in the form of a holy water spring.
Once again, for dinner, I had the same idli chaat which I have never had anywhere else in the country and will surely try to make now at home. Thus came to an end my second day at Katra, of visiting temples and seeing the rich, absolutely fabulous, and indescribable scenic beauty of Jammu.