Vaishno Devi, one of the most famous shrines of Hindus, is situated at a height of 5733 ft. The temple or Bhawan is 13.5 km from Katra, and devotees who go there to seek blessing have to trek, or take ponies or palkhis, but the easiest and the fastest way to reach there is via helicopters. You can opt for helicopter services up to Sanjichhat, which is 9.5 km from Katra.
The 5 min flight from Katra will land you at Sanjichat (6080 ft) and from there you have to walk 2.5 km to Bhawan, which takes around 30 mins. So all those who are looking forward to visit Vaishno Devi and do not have much time, then the helicopter option is a great one to save time in travelling.
Not just that, with the boarding ticket, travellers will also get VIP entry passes to the Bhawan from Gate no. 5.
Here are few tips that will help you to make your helicopter journey easier:
1. Global Vectra and Himalayan Heli services have been operating between Katra and Sanjichat; both are trusted groups and one can book tickets in any of them.
2. Booking window opens 60 days before, so book your tickets as early as possible.
3. Tickets can be booked for return and one-way as well.
4. One-way fare from Katra to Sanjichhat or Sanjichhat to Katra is INR 1005 per passenger and Katra-Sanjichhat-Katra is INR 2010 per passenger.
5. Cancellation of helicopter tickets is now allowed and it can be done 7 days prior to departure and 50% amount is refunded.
6. Passengers can buy tickets through the shrine board website www.maavaishnodevi.org, and confirm an e-ticket after making the required payment.
7. Also, passengers can avail, online ticketing facility through the website of the two helicopter operators, Himalayan Heli service (http://www.himalayanheli.com) and Global Vectra Helicorp Ltd (http://www.onlineglobalhelicorp.com).
8. The helipad is 2 km away from Katra bus stand. Passengers can board autos and taxis available there, and those who are travelling in their own vehicles, can park at the helipad area.
9. Collect your boarding ticket when you reach the helipad and do keep your ID proofs with you.
10. After getting down from the flight at Sanjichat, collect entry pass for the Gate no. 5 and locker number, where you can keep your luggage, phones and shoes.
The occupancy of the flight is 6 passengers and children below 2 years of age can travel for free.