When visiting Vaishno Devi, you can also visit Nau Devi Temple in Katra City. I have visited Nau Devi many times and it was always a spiritual experience. It is nearly 9 km from Katra City and the cave there is believed to be about 200 years old. There are two caves in the temple one is dedicated to Goddess Durga and the other to Lord Shiva.
The holy cave in Nau Devi temple is situated 10 Km from Maa Vaishno Devi and is on the route to Shiv Khori. There are two caves in the temple. One cave has Pindis of 9 Devi which are incarnations of Durga Maa namely Shailaputri Devi, Bharmachirini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Maha Kali, Maha Gauri, and Siddhidatri. And another cave has ShivLing and 2 Pindis of Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati.
One has to climb about nearly 100 stairs to reach the cave and for those who have trouble, walking can take a Pony or Palki Service. There is a very mystical feeling about the temple which you can feel once you enter the Nau Devi Temple. You will feel a sense of fulfillment in your soul and it is also believed that vows are fulfilled there.
Mighty Chenab River flows next to the cave and looks like a stream of milk flowing as it is pure white in color. You have to crawl through the cave to do darshan of Pindis, so wear comfortable clothes while visiting. For people having legs problems, they can directly enter through the exit door of the temple and avoid crawling. Once you enter the cave, Pujari there tells you about the history and details of the cave.
During sunset, the temple gets illuminated and looks extremely beautiful. There is also a natural pool in which people take a quick bath and escape scorching heat during summers and it is believed that taking bath there helps to relieve diseases. There are many huts nearby for sitting and washroom facilities are also available.
You can also feed the fishes at Nau Devi. There are shops there and you can buy eatables and other things from them such as ornamentals, toys, books, etc. Thousands of people there depend on tourism for their business. The place is not crowded during the weekdays but it may be crowded during Weekends and especially during the Summer season as locals from Jammu, Reasi and Udhampur come here to enjoy a picnic.
There are many monkeys so beware of them and protect your prasad and other eatables from them.
How To Reach Nau Devi Temple
The nearest airport to Nau Devi Temple is Jammu Airport which is nearly 50 KM and the nearest railway station is Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Railway Station which is nearly 10 KM.
- From Jammu: It is nearly 50 KM from Jammu. You can reach Katra City from Jammu by taking a bus, taxi, or your own vehicle and then proceed towards Nau Devi Temple.
- From Vaishno Devi or Katra: It is nearly 10 KM from Katra City. You can take a bus, taxi, auto or any other from Katra City. A bus will usually cost about 200 to 300 Rs whereas auto may take 500-1000 Rs and you can bargain also. Auto drivers usually take you to Baba Dhansar, Nau Devi, and Agar Jitto.
Nau Devi Temple Tour