Earth : Asia : South Asia : India : Himalayan North : Jammu and Kashmir : Katra
The nearest railhead/airport is Jammu. To travel to Katra from here, you can take cabs (Rs. 820 for an Indica, Rs. 890 for an Ikon), or buses from the bus stand just outside the railway station.
If travelling from Delhi, there are options to travel in Buses which go direct to Katra, but the train journey is more comfortable.
Maa Vaishno Devi
Maa Vaishno Devi is a famous Indian Goddess having a temple near Katra, J&K. It is on a mountain and a climb of about 14 km has to be undertaken to reach it. Following are the options to reach Maa Vaishno Devi temple from Katra.
1. Katra to Ardh Kuari - 6 KM.
a). Walk - 3 hours b). Pony - Rs. 200 - 1 hour c). Pitthu - for luggage or small babies - Rs. 140 - 3 hours
2. Ardh Kuari to Maa Vaishno Devi Bhawan - 6 KM
a). Walk - 3 hours b). Pony - Rs. 200 - 1 hour c). Pitthu - for luggage or small babies - Rs. 140 - 3 hours d). Electric Vans - Only for elderly people or handicap
3. Katra to Maa Vaishno Devi Bhawan directly - 14 KM
a). Helicopter - Rs. 699 (as on 23/02/2012) one way - 8 Minutes b). Palki - for elderly - approx Rs. 3000 - 6 hours c). Walk - 6 hours d). Pony - Rs. 385 - 2 hours e). Pitthu - for luggage or small babies - Rs. 260 - 6 hours
4. Maa Vaishno Devi Bhawan to Bhairo Baba temple - 2 KM
a). Walk - 2 hours b). Pony - Rs. 150 - 45 minutes c). Pitthu - for luggage or small babies - 2 hours
5. On the way back - Similar are the options on the way back. However, on the way back, you can go directly from the Bhairo Baba temple to Ardh Kuari. You don't need to come back via Bhawan.
The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board  which manages the temple has its website with extra details.
The best season to visit vaishno devi is during October-March as you can visit the original cave of Mata vaishno devi and accommodation is very cheap also at that time.
The main attraction is the visit to Maa Vaishno Devi temple.
Most 3 star and above hotels have very good vegetarian food. There are hundreds of other restaurants in the main Katra market. On the way to Bhawan - you have many options of eating snacks and having cold and warm beverages. At some places run by the trust you can have good lunch of rice and rajma.
Alcohol drinking is prohibited on the way to Darshan.