Nestled in the foothills of Trikuta mountains, the iconic town of Katra, in Jammu and Kashmir, is a devoted pilgrimage site of Vaishno Devi. About 42 kilometres from Jammu, Katra is situated at 875 metres above sea level, combining a spiritual getaway with a rejuvenating time in the misty mountains. Here are the top places to visit when in Katra.

Lying on the route to Vaishno Devi, Sanji Chhat is the highest point on the uphill climb, affording glorious views of the verdant valleys and snow-capped Himalayan peaks. It’s a must-visit for nature enthusiasts as well as photographers.

Another point that offers picturesque views of the valley – Himkoti is a great place in order to relax amidst nature’s raw splendour. There’s an artificial pond, a garden and a meditation centre here making it a place for complete rejuvenation.

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A tributary of Beas river, Banganga originates at Dhauladhar and flows through Kangra Valley in Himachal Pradesh. The site holds immense religious significance; pilgrims stop here on their way to Vaishno Devi for a purifying bath as its water is considered sacred.

Located 15 kilometres from Katra, Jhajjar Kotli is a great picnic spot on the banks of river Jhajjar that attracts both the locals and travellers. The pristine cold water of the river with the dazzling Himalayan peaks forming the backdrop makes it a great place for a therapeutic time amidst nature.

Last but not the least, there’s Mantalai Lake, about 60km from Katra, tucked away in Parvati Valley, known for its exquisite natural charm. The all-encompassing mountain range, lush deodar forests, snow-covered summits and the serene water-bodies make it one of the most beautiful places to visit in Jammu and Kashmir. As per the Hindu mythology, it is also believed to be the place where Lord Shiva had wed Goddess Parvati.