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Jammu - An Introduction

The city of Jammu, besides being the winter capital of the state, is also known as the city of temples. It is believed that Raja Jamboo Lochan originally founded the city in the 14th century. According to the popular legend, while the Raja was hunting one day, he happened to witness a tiger and a goat drinking water side by side from one and the same pond. He was so struck by this extraordinary phenomenon that he decided to build a city at this site so that the strong and weak could live together in peace and mutual tolerance.

   
 

Eventually, he founded the city, which came to be known as "Jamboo" after his own name. The name later distorted to that of Jammu as it is called now.

In 1730, the city came under the rule of the Dogra king, Raja Dhruv Deva and under the patronage of Dogra rulers; Jammu became an important centre of art and culture, especially the Pahari School of paintings. Today, the beautiful city of Jammu boasts of innumerable temples and shrines, refreshing environs, pleasant climate, breathtaking views and harmonious existence of Hindus and Muslims.

Location: In southwestern Jammu and Kashmir, India.
Significance: The Winter Capital of J&K.
STD Code 0191
Best Season September-April

Climate  - Summers in Jammu are pleasant to warm with temperatures ranging from 23.4°C to 43°C while winter are chilly with temperature as low as 4.3°C. There is heavy snowfall in the winters too.

How To Reach - By Air: There are domestic flights connecting Jammu to and from Delhi, Amritsar, Chandigarh, and Srinagar. The nearest airport is the Jammu Airport, 8 km away from the city centre.
By Train: Jammu Tawi, 5 km from the city centre, is an important railway junction of the Northern Railways. There are Express trains connecting it to and from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta and Amritsar. The most popular trains among the visitors are Jammu Mail, Jammu Express, Shalimar Express, Sealdah Express, Jhelum Express, Madras Express and Rajdhani Express.
By Road: Jammu is connected by the smooth, motorable roads of the national highway network to all parts of the country.

What to wear - In summers, light cotton clothes are advisable while you will need heavy woolen clothes in winters.

Shopping Attractions - A delight for the shopping bugs, the arts and crafts of Jammu and Kashmir are very famous. Especially the Shahtoosh, Pashmina and other woolen shawls, some with exquisite and intricate embroidery and dyed in beautiful cheerful and sober hues are a must-buy from the place. One may hop from shop-to-shop and showroom-to-showroom, without feeling a bit tired and enjoying the visual treat of the handicrafts of the place at Vir Marg, Raghunath Bazaar and Hari Market.

Jammu Temples - Situated in the foothills of the Himalayas, is the place that Raja Jambu Lochan discovered one day along the River Tawi, while he was on a hunting trip. To his surprise, he found that a tiger and a goat stood side-by-side, drinking water from the same place in the Tawi River. He was so struck by this unusual sight that he decided to build a city here where no living creature seemed to bear enmity towards each other. Today, as if in testimony to Raja Jambu Lochan's vision, the city of Jammu has come to be known as the 'City Of Temples'. Innumerable temples and shrines with 'shikhars' soaring into the sky create the ambience of a holy and peaceful city.

 

Amongst the temples in Jammu, the Raghunath Mandir takes pride of place being situated right in the heart of the city. This temple is situated at the city centre and was built in 1857. This temple consists of seven shrines, each with a tower of its own. It is the largest temple complex in northern India. Though 130 years old, the complex is remarkable for sacred scriptures, one of the richest collections of ancient texts and manuscripts in its library. Its arches, surface and niches are undoubtedly influenced by Mughal architecture while the interiors of the temple are plated with gold. The main sanctuary is dedicated to Vishnu's eighth incarnation and Dogras' patron deity, the Rama. It also houses a Sanskrit Library containing rare Sanskrit manuscripts.

The famous temple of Bawey Wali Mata inside the Bahu Fort attracts pilgrims every Tuesday and Sunday who come here to worship the presiding deity of Jammu while opposite the Bahu Fort, overlooking the River Tawi is a temple dedicated to Mahamaya, a local heroine of Dogras, who lost her life fourteen centuries ago fighting foreign invaders. The present temple of Bawey Wali Mata was built shortly after the coronation of Maharaja Gulab Singh, in 1822. It is also known as the temple of Mahakali and the goddess is considered second only to Mata Vaishno Devi in terms of mystical power. Alongside the same river are the Peer Kho Cave temple, the Panchbakhtar temple and the Ranbireshwar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva with their own legends and specific days of worship. The Ranbireshwar Temple has twelve Shiva 'lingams' of crystal measuring 12" to 18" and galleries with thousands of 'saligrams' fixed on stone slabs.

The Dargah (shrine) of Peer Budhan Ali Shah or Peer Baba is said to protect the people of this city from mishaps and evil spirits. A friend of Guru Gobind Singh, it is said that Peer Baba lived his entire life on milk alone and lived to the age of five hundred and still people from all faiths and religions verate him in equal respect. Peer Mitha was a saint who has a shrine of his own and was a contemporary of Ajaib Dev and Ghareeb Nath, who were famous for their prophecies and miracles. 'Mitha' means 'the sweet one' and the saint was so-called, as the Peer would accept nothing more than a pinch of sugar in offering from his devotees.

 

Worship of Shakti is prevalent in all parts of Jammu province and the best known of the Shakti shrines is the temple of Vaishno Devi, which holds the same status in Jammu as the Amarnath cave has in Kashmir. 61 km north of Jammu, this cave temple is dedicated to Mahakali, Mahalaxmi and Mahasaraswati, the three mother goddesses of Hinduism. The cave is one of the region's most important pilgrim sites. There is a 13 km track to the cave temple and the ponies, porters and dandies are available from Katra to cave temple in a fixed rate.

Peer Khoh - Just 3.5 km from Jammu, Peer Khoh is a cave shrine, mainly renowned for its shivalingam. According to a popular myth, there are underground pathways in the cave leading to many other cave shrines, in and out of the country.

Ranbireshwar Temple - Built by Maharaj Rajbir Singh in 1883, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Housed inside the temple are 12 crystal shivalingams that are placed surrounding one central lingam, which is 7.5 feet high.

Raghunath Temple - Nucleus of a group of temples, this temple in situated in the city center and is dedicated to Lord Rama. Maharaja Gulab Singh who founded the kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir initiated the intricate work on the temple in 1835, which was completed in 1860 by his son, Maharaja Ranbir Singh.

Bahu Fort - More than 3,000 years old, this fort is perhaps the oldest structure in Jammu. It is situated on the left bank of River Tawi, 5 km away from the city centre.

Peer Baba - A woman along with a kid pray at Peer Baba at Chatha near Satwari in Jammu on Thursday. The Peer Baba observed maximum number of visitors on Thursdays

A well-renowned shrine or Dargah of the famous Muslim saint, Peer Budhan Ali Shah, devotees from all the communities including Hindus and Sikhs throng to the place on Thursdays to pay their homage and ask for blessings from the venerated saint.

Mubarak Mandi Palace - A visual treat, this palace is a delightful fusion of Mughal, Rajasthani and European architecture. The highlight of the palace is the Sheesh Mahal, the Palace of Mirrors and the Dogra Art Museum, which boasts of a rich collection of Pahari School of miniature paintings (the paintings of the various hill schools).

 

Jammu Museum - In the north, Jammu's two museums display a valuable collection of miniature paintings collectively known as 'Pahari' school of paintings or hill school of paintings. In Srinagar, there is a Shri Pratap Singh (SPS) Museum, which is the only place in India where one can see stone sculptures of deities executed in the distinctive style that was a hallmark of Kashmir in the 7th to 11th centuries. The two museums of Jammu are:

Amar Mahal Palace Museum - A beautiful red sand stone palace, it stands amidst the most picturesque surroundings of Jammu. In the north are pretty Shivaliks along with the gorgeous gurgling River Tawi that adds grandeur to this already picture-perfect place. It was once the residential palace of Raja Amar Singh that has now been converted to a museum. Hari-Tara Charitable trust looks after the palace now. The highlight of the museum is the splendid golden throne, a 120 kg pure gold sofa, which is ornamented by the golden lions embedded into it. It is placed in a hexagonal room. There is a gallery in the museum that exhibit paintings known as Nal Damyanti along with other Pahari paintings and family portraits of rulers of Jammu and Kashmir. The museum also houses a library of around 25000 books on various subjects and disciplines. The building of the museum itself is a visual treat and is designed like a French Chateau.

Dogra Art Museum - Situated in the Pink Hall of Mubarak Mandi complex, the museum has on its display about 800 rare and exquisite paintings from different schools of paintings such as Basoli, Jammu and Kangra. It houses a gold plated bow and arrow belonging to Mughal emperor Shah Jehan and a number of carpentry tools that are also an important section of the museum. There are hand written manuscripts of Shahnama and Sikendernama, written in Persian, housed here alon with a stone plate on which Takri script has been inscribed.

Bahu Temple - Situated 5 kms away from the Jammu city centre, Bahu Fort stands on a rock face on the left bank of the river Tavi. Perhaps the oldest fort and edifice in the city, it was constructed originally by Raja Bahulochan over 3,000 years ago. Inside, there is a temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. An extensive terraced garden, known as Bagh-e-Bahu, has been developed around the fort.

Idgah - The city has a number of historic idgah's.Of them Ziarat Baba Buddan Shah is located in the outskrits of Jammu city at a distance of about 8 kms. towards the aerodrome at Satwari. This ziarat is very popular among all sections of society and is being visited by large number of people throughout the year. Baba Buddan Shah was borne at Talwandi in Punjab and it is said that another shrine of this Peer is located at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab.The real name of this Peer was Shamas-ud-din, Fard-i-Wahid, Imad-ul-Mulk Hazarat Baba Buddhan Shah. Other idgah's are Ziarat Baba Roshan Shah Wali near Gumat Bazar, Ziarat Peer Mitha near Peer mitha bazar. Another idgah is Panch-Peer.This Dargah is situated at a little distance from the Maharaja's palace on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. The place is known because of the residence of five peers, who lived here and dedicated themselves to the meditation.

Buddha Amarnath Ji - In the north east of Poonch Town is situated an ancient temple of Lord Shiva on the left bank of Pulsata stream. The area is known as Rajpura Mandi, two kms above Mandi village. This is a unique Shiva Temple which is located on the foot hill and not on the hill top and secondly the Shivling of white stone is not self-made. The stream which flows near it, is the Loran stream but it is believed by the locals that Ravan's grandfather Pulasta Rishi performed his tapasya and thus is known as Pulsata stream. This shrine is older than of Amarnathji of Kashmir. Thousands of people visit on Raksha Bandhan. Before partition,many people used to visit this shrine from areas now occupied by Pakistan.

Church - The city has a number of historic churches. Of them Protestant church on Wazarat road is the oldest Church in the city of temples. Other Churches are Roman Catholic Church near Jewel Chowk and Presentation Church of Virgin Mary. Another Church is St.Mary Church on G.L.Dogra road.

Gurudawara - The city has a number of historic Gurudawara's. Of them Gurudawara Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji is situated in Upper Bazaar near Mubarak Mandi complex. The Gurudawara has a three ft. long white colored marble statue of Guru Nanak Dev Ji kept in a separate room. Maharaja Partap Singh is said to have installed the statue. Other Gurudawara's are Gurudawara Ashram Digiana. The splendid Gurudawara complex is located in between Gandhi Nagar and Nanak Nagar localities of Jammu. The Gurudawara has a Guru Nanak Mission Hospital attached to it. Another Gurudwara's are Talli Sahib near Tallab Tillo and Gurudawara Kalgidhar near Rehari localities of Jammu.

 

Mansar Lake - Situated 62 kms from Jammu, Mansar is a beautiful lake fringed by forest-covered hills, over a mile in length by half-a-mile in width. Boating facilities are available in the spot. Every year around Baisakhi, a food and crafts festival is organized here by J&K Tourism department.

Sruinsar Lake - This lake is located approximately 42 km from Jammu and is a must see for its breathtaking view. It is a picturesque spot with a lake surrounded by wooded hills.

Mantalai - Situated a few kilometers further away from Shud Mahadev, Mantalai is surrounded by lush deodar forests, at an altitude of over 2000 metres. It is believed that Lord Shiva had got married to the Goddess Parvati here.

Patnitop - 112 kms from Jammu. This famous hill resort is perched on a beautiful plateau, at an altitude of 2024 metres across which the Jammu-Srinagar Highway passes. Enveloped by thickly wooded forests, Patnitop offers beautiful picnic spots, peaceful walks and breathtaking views of the mountainscape of the Chenab basin.

 

In winter, the resort is generally covered with a thick mantle of snow thus providing opportunities for various snow games including skiing. It is the best developed tourist spot of Jammu and is second to none in its natural charm, climate, pine forests and lush green cover. The occupancy of the huts and Dak Banglow is full in summer months. There is ambitious plan of Patnitop Development Authority to develop Patnitop, Kud, Sud-Mahadev, Mantalai circuit. The costruction work of Mall Road at Kud is also proposed to be taken up. Trekking route from Kud to Patnitop-Sanasar has already been completed. The complete tourist circuit covers Jammu-Katra-VaishnoDeviji, Kud-Sanasar, Patnitop-Gourikund, Sudmahadev, Mantali, extending upto Latti-Dhuna. There are a large number of huts and Tourists Bunglows, all managed by J&K TDC, Having facilities of Drawing room/Dining room and fully equipped kitchen in all huts and LPG facility.

 

Sanasar - 119 kms. from Jammu and only 17 kms. from Patnitop, Sanasar is cup shaped meadow surrounded by gigantic conifers. A place for a quite holiday, the meadow has now been developed as a golf course. It also provides opportunities for para-gliding. Self contained huts in various cost ranges having facilities of Drawing/Dining room and fully equipped kitchen with LPG facilities

Krimchi - the way to Shudh Mahadev Mantalai, a short detour takes one to Krimchi, site of three of the oldest temples of Jammu. The architecture of the temple shows distinct Greek (Hellenic) influences. Pancheri, a hill resort is a short distance away from here. This is a splendid stone temple complex. A small stream flows below it. Three old temples stand in a row facing east. One of the temples is in ruins.

The temples resempbe the shape of Baij Nath and Linga Raja temple at Bhuvneshawar Orrisa. The main temple is 50 ft high, is decorated with abstract designs and the porch strongly resembles the ancient stone temples of Kashmir. Some beam like stone structures are used in the constructionand the rest on massive pillars.

Pieces of the sclupture found in the rubble have images of Ganesh, Parvati, Shiva Trimurti and Vishnu. It is said that the temples might have been got constructed by the Kushan ruler on way to Kashmir.

Krimchi lies in the District of Udhampur and one has to reach Udhampur from Jammu to go there. For Udhampur regular Bus Service is available from Jammu General Bus Stand. Alternatively one can hire private taxi also plying on fixed rates. From Udhampur one has to either take a bus to Krimchi of hire taxi to go there.

Trekking - Trekking is an important part of the tourism industry of the Jammu region. The government and the tourism industry promote various delightful treks and the best time for trekking is in summers because the snow often blocks the routes during winter.

Skiing - People throng to Patnitop for the skiing classes, as the gently graded ski slopes of Patnitop are ideal for beginners. However, there are great slopes in the surrounding area that attracts skiers of all levels. Some other places loved by the skiing enthusiasts are Kud and Sanasar.

Kishtwar High Altitude National Park - This Park is interesting for the marked variations in topography and vegetation that occur here. Spread over an area of 400 sq.km the park contains 15 mammal species including the musk deer and Himalayan black and brown bear.There are 50 species of birds.

An introduction about wildlife of J&K - The highest, youngest & largest chain of mountains in the world, the Himalayan range is one of the most fascinating and spectacular natural wonders on earth. It is more than that : it is one of the richest store of animal life. For instance, it is remarkable that almost one third of the world's mammalian species that may be called true mountain animals are native to these mountains.

Jammu and Kashmir with its variety of geographical regions, climates and vegetation has many delights to offer the wildlife enthusiast. Perhaps no animal better epitomizes the character and concerns of the mountain environment than the snow leopard, a beautiful and elusive survivor from the frigid Pleistocene era. Though its range is immense, extending over the entire

Himalayan range, it is most advantageously sought in Jammu and Kashmir especially in the high ranges. Another rare animal is the Hangeul or Kashmir stag, one of the most endangered species of red deer in the world. An enigmatic mammal is the bharal; the controversy over whether it is a sheep or a goat is not yet settled. Many unique species of antelope, goat and sheep are found in the state.

In winter high-altitude bird species move to the lower valleys and into the tourist's purview. Cinnamon sparrows, the black and yellow grosbeak, black bulbuls and monal pheasants the male splendidly colored) may be seen now. At this time, too large troops of the impressive Himalayan gray languor visit for the duration.

But nothing strikes the eye and imagination so much as in spring and summer, when the long foothills and deep valleys awake to life. Now also awakes the imposing Himalayan black bear and as the winter avifauna return to higher quarters the birds of the summer return. Among these is the lovely golden oriole. The lingers and hangful, too make their way to higher valleys that are not however inaccessible.

 

Though wildlife conservation in Ladakh began fairly recently, there is much here that is not found in the lower ranges. Ladakh's ecosystem, lying at the confluence of three zoogeographic zones, is fascinating and uniquely varied. A dozen important mammals and over 100 species of birds make their home in this rugged terrain most of them, though endangered or rare.

The wild yak is native only to this area. Other animals include the ibex, blue sheep, bharal, docile marmot and mouse hare. The snow leopard roams here too; so does the wild horse and the rare musk deer inhabits lower altitudes. Unfortunately some species are still outside the tourist's domain.

Jammu and the Kashmir valley, however have led wildlife conservation efforts. Several National Parks and Sanctuaries have been established in the state.

Ramnagar Wildlife Sanctuary - situated only 6 km.away from Jammu city, this sanctuary occupies an area of 31 sq.km. The area sustains 8 mammal species including nilgai and barking deer and 15 species of birds. The best season for mammal viewing is September to March and for bird viewing March to May. Within the sanctuary is a two bed roomed hut. For passes contact the Regional Wildlife Warden, Jammu.

 

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