Vaishnodevi Bhawan is located at a distance of approx 13 Kms from Katra. One has to trek the distance on foot to reach the Mata Bahwan. There are many pilgrims who find it difficult to trek the distance on foot. Moreover it is very difficult for aged and feeble person to ascend the Vaishno devi hill. Other options available to pilgrims to reach Vaishno Devi are Ponies, Palkis and Helicopter. Among them, helicopter is the quickest and even cheapest mode.
Whereas Ponies and Palkis are readily available in abundant on spot and one can hire it easily, helicopter has limited seats per day. It can be booked online at Vaishno Devi Shrine Board website https://www.maavaishnodevi.org/OnlineServices/login.aspx . One has to register before proceeding for booking online. There is no other mode of helicopter ticket booking other than online booking. Bookings start 30 days prior to booking date at 10:00 am. The Helicopter tickets are generally finished within 1-2 hours of its opening as it has limited seats. If you are intersted in booking online helicopter ticket, it is advised that you login 10:00 am, 30 days prior of booking date at above mentioned website and book your tickets.
Katra helipad is approx. 2 Kms from Bus Stand Katra. Helicopter goes upto Sanjichat Helipad. It is approx. 2.5 Kms from Mata Bhawan. One can get pony at Sanjichat to Bhawan or can go on foot to Bhawan. It takes approx 8 minutes of flight from Katra to Sanjichat. One has to report one hour before the scheduled flight time. Moreove Shrine board has made mandatory to carry original debit/credit card while boarding the helicopter. It is advisable to book your helicopter tickets yourself otherwise your tickets can be cancelled by Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine board without any refund.
Cost of the one way helicopter ticket is Rs. 800/- and bothways Rs. 1600/-. Yatris have a option that either they can return on same day or next day if they are booking bothway helicopter ticket. There is no charges for children below 2 years, provided such children are accompany with some one and would not occupy any extra seat. Cancellation charges are 50% of the ticket amount if cancellation is done with more than 7 days of boarding date. Vaishno Devi shrine board also provides facility of online booking of rooms at Bhawan on the same website. You can also book online various types of Aartis.