Vaishno Devi

"Chalo Bulawa Aaya hai, Mata Ne Bulaya hai," The devotional song from the movie Avtaar (1983), dedicated to Maa Vaishno Devi, reverberates with the undying faith of pilgrims en route to Trikuta Hills in Katra to worship the divinity. Like the Bhakti lyrics, it is believed that only those bestowed with Shakti's blessings can arrive here. Only when Maa summons can one visit her Shaktidham.

Answer your calling and arrive at one of India's most sacred and oldest shrines. One of the best places to visit in Katra is the cave temple cocooned in the Shivalik Hill Range of the mightiest mountains of Jammu & Kashmir. It is the only shrine where Tridevi (three goddesses), viz., Mahasaraswati (Goddess of Knowledge), Mahalakshmi (Goddess of Wealth), Mahakali (Goddess of Performing deeds), manifested themselves in the form of three Holy Pindies.

With more than 10 million visitors every year, Katra tourist places surpass almost all other destinations in J&K on the level of popularity. Goddess Shakti resides here in her supreme state along with the signage of 33 crores of Hindu Gods. With a firm belief that their prayers would be heard and answered here, devotees throng with their sufferings to be cured and wish to be fulfilled by Goddess Supreme. That is why they go to all lengths to worship and pray at her abode, braving the arduous journey in the hope that the Mother Goddess won't let them go empty-handed.

With the impressive clouds at a tantalizing distance from the shrine, it seems the shrine is the ladder to heaven. Tourist places near Katra Mata Vaishno Devi have become famous across India as a place where problems get solved, and mental solace is restored to the needy pilgrims. Besides bathing in the intense spiritual energy of the holy shrine, explore places to visit in Katra Vaishno Devi. You can lose yourself in the seeking crowds of Katra town and find your place in the world.

Amarnath Cave

Amarnath cave is a holy shrine on Mount Amarnath's peak, at an elevation of 12,756 feet above sea level. Amarnath is the holiest shrine of Lord Shiva and one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindus, built over a 5000-year-old cave. These caves are about 68 kilometers from Srinagar, the capital city.

the knowledge of immortality and the creation of the universe. The Hindu scriptures reference the 'Amar Katha' narrative, which describes Shiva and Parvati's trek to these caverns for full Amarnath cave is sacred because it is where Lord Shiva told Goddess Parvati, his companion, isolation.

Inside the mountain cave, water droplets drip down from the top and freeze into ice, forming an ice stalagmite known as Shiv Linga, which Hindus believe is a phallic emblem of Hindu God Lord Shiva. Shiv Linga's natural ice formation grows from May to August and then gradually wanes after that.

This lingam is claimed to expand and decrease with the phases of the moon, reaching its peak during the summer festival of 'Shravan,' the Hindu calendar's fifth month, which runs from July to August. Being one of the top pilgrimage sites in Kashmir, thousands of devotees from all across India make the long journey to the shrine during this period, risking harsh weather and steep terrain in response to what they refer to as God’s calling’.

Dargah Hazratbal

Dargah Hazratbal is a silvery-white mosque on the left bank of Dal Lake that emits unrivaled attractiveness and peace. The shrine, also known as 'Assar-e-Sharief,' 'Dargah Sharief,' and 'Madinat-us-Sani' (second Madina), is located 8 kilometers from Srinagar's city center.

Hazratbal, Kashmir's holiest Muslim shrine, houses the Moi-e-Muqaddas, an ancient relic that contains a strand of Prophet Muhammad's sacred hair. Syed Abdullah, a supposed descendent of Prophet Muhammad who had resided near Hyderabad, brought it to India. The Syed family's lands were confiscated after the Mughal conquest. Syed Abdullah's son, Syed Hamid, who had acquired the relic's custody upon his father's death, was unable to care for it. He sold the artifact to Khwaja Nur-ud-Din Eshai, a prominent Kashmiri trader. When Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb learned of the situation, he confiscated the relic, dispatched it to Ajmer Sharif, and arrested Nur-ud-Din Eshai.

Aurangzeb then changed his mind and decided to return Khwaja Nur-ud-Din with the relic and an escort to his homeland. Eshai died on the trip, and the relic was passed down to his daughter, Inayat Begum. In 1699, the holy relic arrived in Kashmir and was installed at the Naqshband Sahib shrine.

However, the shrine was judged unsuitable to keep the priceless relic due to concerns about overcrowding. It was quickly relocated to the Hazratbal shrine. At the time, Hazratbal was a prayer place known as Sadiqabad after Sadiq Khan, who had built it on Shah Jahan's orders. Sadiq Khan had originally built Ishrat Mahal (Pleasure House) on the site, but it was demolished after Shah Jahan came to see it and ordered that it be transformed into a prayer house.

After an 11-year renovation, the Muslim Auqaf Trust presented it with the stunning alabaster-white marble building. The mosque is the only domed mosque in the valley and has a distinct Persian style construction. Dargah Hazratbal is a place of remarkable beauty in addition to being the most revered Muslim religious destination in Kashmir.

It has a beautiful view of the Dal Valley and the surrounding mountains. The vista of the Nishat garden from the entrance is breathtaking. Despite the fact that the hallowed relic for which the temple is famous is only exhibited to the general public on rare occasions, people go to the shrine in large numbers every Friday. Dargah Hazratbal is more than a shrine; it is the essence of Kashmiri Muslims' love and devotion to the Prophet.

Jamia Masjid

The Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta, a district in the center of Srinagar's old city, is the largest mosque in Kashmir. Sultan Sikandar Shah Kashmiri erected it in 1402, more than 600 years ago. The mosque has been damaged by fire twice and has been renovated by many monarchs, including Mughal Emperors Jahangir and Aurangzeb and Dogra king Maharaja Pratab Singh.

Jamia Masjid, being one of the top religious places in Kashmir for devotees, is an architectural masterpiece located among the local marketplaces. The construction is quadrilateral and has four minarets, and it is heavily influenced by Indo-Saracenic architecture. The minarets are connected by expansive halls with pyramidal tops. These roofs are supported by 378 deodar timber columns that finish in an open turret.

The mossy brick walkways and verdant grounds around the mosque are adorned with beautiful yellow poppies. The mosque complex is roughly square and is flanked on all four sides by wide pathways. It has a lovely square garden in the center.

On the north, south, and eastern sides of the mosque, there are three entrance gates. The main entrance is on the southern side, and it consists of a recessed portico leading to an inner courtyard created in the Chahar Bagh style, which serves as a prayer space together with the garden. A fountain in the courtyard's center is surrounded by a big tank from which water is extracted to conduct 'Wudhu' (ablutions).

The mosque is a work of art, and over 3333 people can pray here at the same time. This mosque is remarkable in that, despite its location in the midst of the hustle and bustle of old bazaars, it provides quiet and inner calm to every visitor. Without a doubt, the massive mosque occupies a unique position in Kashmir's history, politics, and culture.

Shankaracharya Temple

Shankaracharya Temple is a 4th-century temple around 11 kilometers southeast of Srinagar's city center. It is also known as 'Jyeshteshwara Temple,' and it is named after Adi Shankaracharya, a great philosopher who is said to have attained spiritual enlightenment at the current location of the temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and houses the Shiv Ling that saint Shankaracharya worshipped. It is located on the Shankaracharya hill in the Zabarwan range, 350 meters above sea level. Shankaracharya Temple is fascinating since it contains elements of many religions. It was a Buddhist temple that was converted to a Hindu worship site by saint Shankaracharya, according to Buddhists. It's 'Pas Pahar' for them. It is known among Muslims as 'Bagh-i-Sulaiman' (Garden of Solomon), and the hill on which it is built is known as 'Takht-i-Sulaiman' (Throne of Solomon). They reverently ascribe King Solomon stories to this location. Persian inscriptions can even be found on the temple's interior walls.

Apart from religion, the temple is architecturally significant, as it sits on a 20-foot octagonal base that supports the temple's square structure. The Shiv Linga is established in a small circular dark chamber inside the temple. The temple's octagonal foundation is reached through a 243-step flight of stairs, followed by ten more steps to the temple itself. Certain inscriptions can be seen on the steps' fencing walls.

The temple is a famous viewing site since it offers a panoramic view of the entire metropolis. Hindu pilgrims flock to Shankaracharya during the Amarnath Yatra, a popular tourist destination that offers a spectacular aerial view of Srinagar, including the Dal Lake.


The Khanqah-e-Moula, also known as the Shah-e-Hamdan Masjid, is one of Kashmir's oldest ancient shrines. It is thought to have been built by Shah Sikandar in 1359 in memory of Mir Syed Ali Hamdani, and is located adjacent to the Jhelum River in Srinagar's old city. Mir Syed Ali Hamdani, also known as Shah-e-Hamdan, was a respected preacher and scholar from Persia's Hamadan city who was crucial in promoting sufi Islam in Kashmir during his tenure there.

Abu Barkat Khan restored Khanqah-e-Moula in 1731 and transformed it into a magnificent mosque. A person is left speechless by the shrine's beautiful design and construction. The shrine, which draws inspiration from Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic architecture, is made of wood but, interestingly, does not have nails. Khanqah-e-Moula has a square plan and stands on an uneven walled base. It's a two-story, two-tiered structure with gradually sloping pyramidal carved roofs that separate each tier. The first tier of the mosque has double arcaded verandahs that surround the entire structure, while the second tier has an arcaded balcony that protrudes on all four sides of the main structure.

The second tier's pyramidal roof includes an open pavilion topped by a pyramidal spire. The ceiling is partially covered with flora, producing an amazing display of beautiful woodwork and tiered flower gardens.

The shrine's interiors are just as appealing as the exteriors, if not more so. The interior is painted in beautiful papier mache reliefs and the ceiling is ornamented with colored 'Khatamband' (faceted wood paneling). The shrine is further enhanced by beautiful chandeliers and hanging bells with intricate carvings. The shrine is a sight to behold in general.


Chrar-e-Sharief, a shrine in the namesake town devoted to the Sufi Saint Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani, is 33 kilometers from Srinagar. The temple, which was erected around 600 years ago, is one of Kashmir's oldest shrines, having a rich reservoir of Kashmiri heritage. This tradition is displayed in the shrine's superb wooden architecture.

Sheikh Noor-ud-Din is well-known in the valley for his broad promotion of Rihism. As the benefactor saint of Kashmiri Muslims, he is affectionately known as Alamdar-e-Kashmir. Nonviolence, vegetarianism, tolerance, and communal peace were among his teachings. He disseminated his ideas through a number of intellectual books written in poetry, prose, and verse.

When he died, legend has it that over 9 lakh worshippers gathered to pay their condolences. Both Muslims and Hindus regard the shrine, which shelters his mortal remains and relics, as having enormous religious value. On the anniversary of Shah-e-death, Hamdan's a large number of devotees come to pay their condolences.

Gurudwara Chatti Padshahi

The primary Sikh worship center of Kashmir is Gurudwara Chatti Padshahi, which is located in the Rainawari neighborhood of the ancient city. Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh Guru, is referred to as Chatti Patshahi, which means 'the sixth king.' The shrine is named for him and is located near the famous Kathi Darwaza and Hari Parbat. According to legend, Mai Bhagbhari, a devout follower of Guru Hargobind, yearned for a glimpse of the Guru for a long period. Guru Hargobind ultimately paid her a visit at this location, and the gurdwara was built.

In the Gurudwara's rectangular hall, a sacred sanctum exists, where devotees meet and worship in front of the vast terrace. Nearby is an antique well that was built on Guru Hargobind's directions. The Gurudwara building has been extended over the years to provide tourists with all accommodation facilities provided by the administering community, making their stay on the premises more comfortable. Every day, they host a langar (free community kitchen) in the gurudwara, which anyone is welcome to attend.

Holy Family Catholic Church

Holy Family Catholic Church is a century-old Roman Catholic church in Srinagar's Maulana Azad Chowk. It, along with All Saints Anglican Church, was founded in 1986 by Mill Hill missionaries as the major church for the minority Christian population.