It all started with a sudden discussion with my cousin brother . I was insisting him to visit vaishno devi from a very long time . In this trip of ours we were 3 boys,me ,my cousin brother and his best friend. We booked tickets of bus from Redbus in the morning of 1st oct .The planned journey was that we will began the trip on 1st Oct,2015 night and reach katra early in the morning of the next day and begin our yatra to mata vaishno devi.
The planning failed miserably. First the bus booked form redbus turned out to be not so good. We booked 3 tickets of volvo bus ,but the bus turned out to be as much pathetic as it can be. The bus departed 3 hrs late from the scheduled departing time of 8pm. As there were holidays lined up from 2nd oct to 4th oct whole Delhi was out on roads for their road trips, So the bus started off at 11 pm on 1st Oct and crossed Delhi border at 3.30am ,the bus was not working fine,the speed was not much then 40km/hr. We reached karnal at 6am in the morning and then bus stopped at ambala border for 1.5hrs for tax clearances. Then the whole day the driver was driving the bus with slow speed constantly switching off and on the aircondition. To put more misery to the trip the driver turned out to be new for the route to katra. Then we switched on GPS and made him drive to katra .We reached katra at 9pm on 2nd Oct,2015. The bus took 22 hrs to reach katra instead of normal reaching time of just 12 hrs. Our whole day of 2nd oct was wasted due to the badly maintained bus . After deboarding the bus we went to the yatra receipt counter where every person visiting the shrine need to show the ID proof and get a photograph clicked and get a receipt with name and photograph printed on a small paper as a mark of counting the number of person visiting the shrine.
Then enroute to the starting point of the yatra we ate some chole kulche from the road side hawker which were very tasty costing 25 bucks each.
Due to the long weekend we were expecting rush but we didnt know that the rush turned out to be like way too much. It took us 30-35 mins to pass the entrance gate due to so many devotees visiting the shrine which normaly takes 2-3 mins max. Finally we started the uphill trek of 14kms to mata vaishno devi at 10.30-10.35 pm on 2nd oct,2015 . While trekking we drank sugarcane juice and ate some chips and also few times hot coffee ,all these things are easily available on the route of trek. We reached Bhawan at 1.30 PM exact in 3 hrs.
Though i have been to Vaishno devi many times but this time it was very different,there were long queues and there was not a place to stand also,it seemed like whole of india had come there. But thanks to Mata Vaishno Devi we did darshan in 3 hrs.
We started our downhill trek the very same morning of 3rd Oct,2015 at 5am and while coming back we were very tired,wherever we could find an empty bench we relaxed and took small naps,we ate alot while continuing the downhill journey.
At the end of the trek or you can say the beginning point of the yatra there is banganga water flowing deep clean so the 3 of us decided to take a dip in it and enjoy and get rid of tiredness. We stayed in the banganga for 2 hrs ,it was the best part of the journey.
Also we had already booked tickets for our next part of the journey to The Golden Temple in amritsar so without taking much time we completed our vaishno devi yatra by 11am and did brunch at manoranjan restaurant in the market of the katra auto stand. After brunch we went to the katra bus stand there were many buses which leaves every in mins to jammu railyway station.
We booked 3 tickets costing 40 each to jammu railway station.The journey to jammu from katra now is very comforting as compared to the earlier bad roads.
After arriving to jammu we boarded our train to amritsar and reached amritsar at 3am on 4th Oct,2015 instead of 2 am the scheduled time of the train .From the amritsar station we take shared auto costing 20/- bucks per person to drop us at The Golden Temple.
After reaching there we deposited our shoes and luggage and it was magical to see the temple after a decade of my previous visit there as a kid.As it was sunday the local crowd was very much expected to be there and we were correct. The time was 4am and there was not a place to enter the inside the main temple ,we tried to enter but could not get through,it was sheer coincidence that the Guru Granth Sahib Ji’s Prakash happened at the same time and we bowed down and took blessings ,also did parikrama, had morning langar of tea in the langar hall .
After taking blessings from there we went back to amritsar station and boarded train back to delhi .
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