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Old 29th March 2009, 16:42   #1
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Default Delhi-->Amritsar-->Vaishno Devi-->Delhi

That is the exact plan. A couple of my friends have never visited Golden Temple or Vaishno Devi. I surely have but when i was a kid. They have 3 to 4 days in hand and the trip will be approximately during the last week of April. They want to keep the budget as minimal as possible. Hence, I need your help to find out which is the most cost-effective way to reach amritsar (early morning), visit the golden temple and couple of other places during the day(like jaliyaanwala bagh), spend the night in an economical hotel, leave for vaishno devi the next day, pay our respects, and come back to Delhi.

I don't know how much time it will take to reach from Amristar to Vaishno Devi, and how long will it take to reach to the top and comeback down in time to catch a bus/train to delhi in night?

Any and all help will be appreciated.

Thanks.
Aman.
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Old 30th March 2009, 10:25   #2
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Hence, I need your help to find out which is the most cost-effective way to reach amritsar (early morning), visit the golden temple and couple of other places during the day(like jaliyaanwala bagh), spend the night in an economical hotel, leave for vaishno devi the next day, pay our respects, and come back to Delhi.

I don't know how much time it will take to reach from Amristar to Vaishno Devi, and how long will it take to reach to the top and comeback down in time to catch a bus/train to delhi in night?

Any and all help will be appreciated.

Thanks.
Aman.
This is what i would do:

take a overnight train from delhi to jammu (visit maata rani first)

day 1:reach there next morning jammu ,take a bus to katra (base camp to vaishnodevi)

check into a hotel ,have lunch and walk towards the temple uphill.

it should not take more than 4 hrs (with stopages ) to reach up.

do the darshan and come back to the hotel in katra the same night ,crash

day 2: there are direct buses from katra to amritsar,i had travelled in one which starts at 11am from katra ,reached amritsar around 8pm same day ,check into the hotel.

day 3: have a nice breakfast and check out golden temple ,jalianwala baug is right next to the golden temple so you can cover both in one go.


in the evening go to wagah border for the retreat ceremony and indulge into pak bashing (highly recommended)

day 4 : catch morning train to delhi and you are home by afternoon.
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Old 30th March 2009, 10:33   #3
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I would suggest that you should plan it so that you start your climb from Katara at night. The cooler weather will give you a lot of relief and make the climb much easier. If you start around nine or ten in the night then you should be back down by 6 in the morning easily. Another advantage of doing it at night is that the que at the bhawan will also be shorter.
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Old 30th March 2009, 10:54   #4
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Default A few things to note

First take a note of the crowd status at Vaishno Devi. The climbing time to the Darbar (sanctum sanctorum) is about 4 hours but the waiting time could be around 4 hours also if the crowd is thick. Avoid weekend darshan if you can.

If you are going to by train to Jammu, you can get taxis at Jammu railway station with fixed rates and are govt approved. You can even catch hold of people in the train itself so that you can share taxi there. You can't do sharing at the taxi stand. Otherwise you have buses from Jammu bus stand once every ten minutes.

If you are going by taxi to Katra, do not miss the paneer pakoras at Nandini tunnel.

The first thing you should do after reaching Katra is get the Yatra slip. The counter opens at 6 am and closes at 10 pm. There is a long line here as well again depending on the rush. Get the slip first and then check into the hotel. The counter for the Yatra slip is right next to the bus and taxi stand at Katra. The slip has a validity of 4 hours before which you have to start the climb at Banganga. That is where they check the slip.

Do not lose the slip till you come back down.

You will get Auto rides from Katra bus stand to Banganga.

Try not to take anything with you while climbing like eatables, water or anything. Take a change of clothes in case you plan to bathe at the top. Further, you are not allowed to carry anything made of leather into the Darbar. Belts, shoes etc are out. Purse is allowed.

While climbing down, DO NOT ride ponies. It is most uncomfortable. Do not climb down from the stairs. Use the slope. Easy on legs.

In Amritsar.
Wagah border sun down parade is open for public only on Fridays. So plan accordingly.

Drink Lassi in hall bazaar (near Golden Temple). There is one famous shop there and everyone knows the name (I don't).

Have aloo kulcha in dhabas in from of MK International hotel. It is excellent.

Also try the stuffed bhature and chhole. They are heavenly.

Liqour is very cheap in Punjab. You can buy from a shop, go and sit in a restaurant (called Ahaata) and drink in peace. Try barbecue chicken in case you eat non veg.

Come back to Delhi, write the story and post pics especially of Amritsar (or Ambersar as Punjabis call it)
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Old 30th March 2009, 14:33   #5
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Thanks @rajesh, deeps and travelwriter for all the infos and tips. They will all come in handy.

Another couple of things i would like to ask :

1) In Amritsar, are there any hotels available near the golden temple? What price will we have to pay appx per day?

2) Is it better to visit the golden temple in night or during the day? I heard it looks amazing during the night.

3) Also, where can we find mouth watering veg and non-veg food at the dhabas in Amritsar? We would extend our trip for another day just to eat the amazing food we've all heard about.

4) Finally, a little detail on which are the best ahataas where we can gorge on amazing food along with our angrezi daaru?

Thanks a lot.
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Old 30th March 2009, 14:56   #6
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Thanks @rajesh, deeps and travelwriter for all the infos and tips. They will all come in handy.

Another couple of things i would like to ask :

1) In Amritsar, are there any hotels available near the golden temple? What price will we have to pay appx per day?

2) Is it better to visit the golden temple in night or during the day? I heard it looks amazing during the night.

3) Also, where can we find mouth watering veg and non-veg food at the dhabas in Amritsar? We would extend our trip for another day just to eat the amazing food we've all heard about.

4) Finally, a little detail on which are the best ahataas where we can gorge on amazing food along with our angrezi daaru?

Thanks a lot.
there are lot of hotels bang opposite the amritsar bus stand ,golden temple is i guess a km or 2 away from that place.

i had paid inr 600 for the room (a/c and hot water) which is a good deal.

travelwriter has put in some names for eating ,i would just add 'maakhan fish ' to the list ,this is like a roadside eating joint with amazing non veg food.

also please refrain on talking about alchohol on this forum ,its against the tbhp rules

dont want any infraction to land your way buddy!

yeah do visit the temple in the night ,its amazing.and have their famous langar

also visit the lawrence road area to spot some 'tot' eye candies.lol
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Old 30th March 2009, 14:57   #7
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Another couple of things i would like to ask :

1) In Amritsar, are there any hotels available near the golden temple? What price will we have to pay appx per day?

2) Is it better to visit the golden temple in night or during the day? I heard it looks amazing during the night.

3) Also, where can we find mouth watering veg and non-veg food at the dhabas in Amritsar? We would extend our trip for another day just to eat the amazing food we've all heard about.

4) Finally, a little detail on which are the best ahataas where we can gorge on amazing food along with our angrezi daaru?

Thanks a lot.
1. There are a lot of hotels in Amritsar. Near the Golden Temple, the hotels are not 'hep' looking but decent for guys to stay. If you have a family with you, you can go to places like Lawrence Road and get decent hotels in the 1200 - 2000 range. Otherwise, Amritsar has a hotel for every budget.

2. I would suggest the day time only because the splendour is to be seen in daylight. Night lighting has its own beauty but then its a question of preference. If you are planning Jalianwala Bagh, please note it is open only till evening. Not after dark.

3. Ahataas and food: Amritsar is best known for its food (second only to the Golden temple). Any place is good.
a. Gianis tea stall - Out of the world tea and tasty omlette. Try it here and you will realize what I am talking about. This stall is close to the flyover (once you come out of Hall Bazaar / Golden temple).
b. Opposite Giani is the famous outlet for Chhole Bhature. I don't remember names but this is a 'must try'
c. Makhanwala Chicken (this is the name of the dhaba) near company bagh is famous for chicken. It looks like a ramshackle of a restaurant but trust me the taste is unmatched.
d. Ahatas are good everywhere but look for the place that serves barbecue chicken. This is at the end of Lawrence road and is very famous. This also featured in BBC once.
e. Lassi and stuffed kulcha I have already mentioned.

Amritsar is a small city and you can take a hotel anywhere. The distances are not much.

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...also please refrain on talking about alchohol on this forum ,its against the tbhp rules...
OOPS!! SORRY HAI JI didnt realize this

Last edited by Rehaan : 9th April 2009 at 14:23. Reason: Posts merged. Please use the MULTIQUOTE button instead of making multiple consecutive posts in the same thread. Thanks.
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Old 30th March 2009, 15:03   #8
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You can also book rooms in Gurudwara Sarai at very cheap rates. Go to Kesar da Dhaba or Bhrawan da Dhaba for Dal and other desi ghee food(Awsome delicious). Try Fish tikka near Sultanwind gate.
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Old 31st March 2009, 13:13   #9
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In Amritsar.
Wagah border sun down parade is open for public only on Fridays. So plan accordingly.
Are you sure about this one? Cause as per the plan, we will be be able to visit the Wagah Border only during the weekend. It will be a sucker if we won't be able to witness the parade.
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Old 31st March 2009, 14:14   #10
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Are you sure about this one? ....
I checked. It is available everyday now. It used to be only on Fridays earlier but they have changed it to as per tourist demand.
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Old 31st March 2009, 14:37   #11
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Amrsitasr:
1. Wagha is open all days.
2. I would suggest early morning darshan..starting 4AM. This is the best time and you will see palki being taken out and carried to harmandir sahib. And by the time you are finished it is day time. If inclined take a dip in sarovar.
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Old 8th April 2009, 20:41   #12
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Here's an update. Booked the train tickets from Delhi to Jammu. they are in 20 something waitlist which im hoping will clear(atleast RAC) by the time of our journey, ie, 23rd April.

Guys i need a little advise, will it be more fun to go by bus from delhi to Katra directly or train is a better option? Sure train is a less costly option but since it's in waitlist im seeing my options, at 800 something bucks per pop for a Delhi to Katra trip on bus, is it worth it?
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Old 9th April 2009, 09:49   #13
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Guys i need a little advise, ....Delhi to Katra trip on bus, is it worth it?
There is a DTC run Volvo service from ISBT Kashmere Gate. The bus is good. There is another Volvo service that starts from Shivaji stadum near Connaught Place. Bookings are done in the hotel behind the stadium (I forget the name again).

I would suggest you take the train. It is more comfortable, cheaper and will leave you fresh for the yatra. Buses are always late and even in a Volvo, you won't be able to catch a wink.

There are other bus services but they are run by other private operators and they are not good
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Old 9th April 2009, 17:38   #14
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There are other bus services but they are run by other private operators and they are not good
I have done countless Delhi-Jammu roadtrips on buses from 1996 to 2007. Even on a Volvo and a Kinglong. The train is definitely better and less tiring. The road is good but not good enough for a 10 hour overnight journey on a bus.

Try climbing from Katra to Bhawan only at night, it's much cooler. If you have time, try visiting Patnitop (about 80 kms from Katra): the only really good spot in the Jammu region. There is Mansar lake, but it's nothing extraordinary.
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Old 9th April 2009, 19:46   #15
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@racingmachine

The suggestions which are pouring in are pretty good, but if you want an economical way to travel why not drive your way to Mata Rani. The distance till Jammu is 575 kms + 100 kms till katra. There is ample parking space available & hotel rates vary from Rs. 200- Rs. 5000 per night. So, you have enough choice. As you are going on 23rd so the rush is going to be pretty less as the Navratras are over & summers break hasn't begun. Usually, it takes 1 hour in waiting during nights, can't say anything about waiting time during daytime, as I always ascend during nights.

Regarding road conditions, the highway is 6 lane till Jallandhar+25 kms. Then after that it is 2 lane till Katra. Roads are pretty bad 10 kms before Katra. It takes usually 10 hours to reach Jammu having 2 half hour breaks.

After that you can go to Amritsar which is 175 kms from Amritsar. Roads are pretty good though 2 laned. In Amritsar, you can stay in the Niwas/Bhavans inside the Gurudwara cordon which are usually Rs. 100 odd.

You can also visit Bharavan da Dhaba & another Dhaba which everyone knows about( i forgot the name) which is so heavy with ghee!

Apart from that, you can try the amritsari fish, kukkad!!

Hope you have fun!!!

PS: I travel to Vaishno Devi twice an year as my maternal parents live in Jammu. I am visiting Devi in June.

Also, also visit Kaul Kandoli, the first point about 50 kms from Katra
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