Jammu is one of the three administrative divisions within the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is the state’s largest city. There are many temples found in the city due to which it has come to be known as “City of Temples”. Hinduism is the religion followed by majority. Jammu is also known as Duggar.
Major languages spoken in Jammu are Dogri, Poonchi, Gojri, Kotli, Mirpuri, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu. The presiding deity of the place is Bahu Mata.
TOURIST PLACES IN JAMMU
Aap Shambhu Temple Sathrian: This temple is situated at Sathrian in the Roopnagar area of the city. The idol of Lord Shiva in the form of Lingam is self made. It is a very old temple.
Chichi Mata: It is also known as the “Pehla Darshan Vaishno Devi pilgrims”.
Gadhadharji Temple: This temple is located at Mubarak Mandi near the palace of Maharaja Gulab Singh. He constructed this temple after he became the ruler of the state. Two life size statues of Narayana and Lakshmi are situated inside the temple.
Mahamaya Temple and City Forest: It is a very old temple situated behind the Bahu Fort on the bypass road. It is surrounded by forests from all sides. River Tawi flows close to the temple. There is small garden present amidst the tall trees. Beautiful views of the city can be seen from here.
Raghunath Temple: This temple is situated in the centre of the city. Various other temples surround it. This temple is dedicated to Lord Rama. Maharaja Gulab Singh started the construction of this temple in 1835 AD. It is built in the busiest area of the city called Bazaar. In 1860 AD, the temple was completed by Maharaja Ranbir Singh, the former’s son. There is a group of temples built around the central Raghunath Temple. It is North India’s largest temple complex. Numerous Lingams and huge statues of deities are found inside the temple. The statues of various incarnations of Lord Vishnu are also found within the temple complex. Ancient texts and manuscripts are also found. Gold sheets cover the inside walls of the temple. Various Hindu deities are also present in the surrounding temples.
Ranbireshwar Temple: Maharaja Ranbir Singh got this temple built in the year 1883 AD. It is present on Shalimar Road close to the New Secretariat. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. A seven and half feet tall Lingam is present in the centre of the temple. Also found are 12 other Lingams made out of crystal ranging from 15 to 18 inches. The galleries consist of thousands of others carved on stone slabs.
Peer Khoh: This is a shrine located inside a cave. It is present on the Circular Road. It has a natural Lingam, the cause of existence of whom is still not known. It is believed that many other cave shrines can be reached via this cave.
Peer Baba: This is the shrine of the Muslin saint Peer Budhan Ali Shah. It is situated behind the Civil Airport. Surprisingly, the Muslin devotees are outnumbered by the Hindu and Sikh ones. This durgah is open on Thursdays.
Amar Mahal Palace: This palace was built during the reign of the Dogra dynasty. Raja Amar Singh got this palace built by a French architect. The architecture of this palace has a marked resemblance to the grand Chateaus of France. Red stone is used in its construction. One can see the beautiful River Tawi flowing below. The Shivaliks are present on the north side of the palace. A museum and a library are found inside the palace. This palace was donated to the charitable trust of Hari Tara by Dr. Karan Singh. The maintenance of the palace is conducted by the trust.
Auto rickshaws and minibuses are available within Jammu that take you to Amar Mahal Palace. On reaching the premises, one needs to continue on foot inside the palace.
Various kinds of paintings in different styles are found here. Some of these are Indian miniature paintings of Kangra style, work of celebrated artists like M.F. Hussain, G. R. Santosh, J. Swaminathan, Bikash Battacharjee, Laxman Pai and Ram Kumar, etc. The contemporary India can be observed by means of these paintings.
Bahu Fort: This fort is situated on the banks of River Tawi. It is believed that this fort could possibly be the oldest structure in Jammu. Inside the fort one can find waterfalls, green terraced gardens and flowers. These add up to the serenity of the place. The fort is as old as 3000 years and was built by Raja Bahulochan. Dogra rulers later renovated and extended the place.
A very famous Maha Kali Temple is found within the premises of the fort. It is also known as the Bawey Wali Mata temple. She is the presiding deity of Jammu. Maharaja Gulab Singh got this temple built in the year 1822 after his coronation. The prime visiting days are Tuesdays and Sundays. This temple is only second to that of Vaishno Devi. Hordes of people visit this place and participate in the “Tawi flowing festival”.
Bagh-e-Bahu: Bagh-e-Bahu is a beautiful garden situated inside the Bahu Fort.
Dogra Art Gallery: This art gallery contains some of the finest collections of paintings. It is located in the Pink Hall of the Mubarak Mandi Palace complex. Rare paintings are found in this gallery. They hold immense artistic value.
The total count of the paintings goes beyond 800. They are obtained from various schools of art. The places from where these paintings come are mainly Basohli, Jammu and Kangra. They reflect light on the living style of the people of ancient times. Each painting has a story of its own.
There are other things found as well in the gallery such as sculptures, terracotta figures and heads of terracotta figures as old as 16th century.
Mubarak Mandi Palace: It is a complex and consists of several buildings. A central courtyard is present. All the buildings surround this courtyard. It used to be the residence of the then rulers of Jammu. The place has a touch of royalty.
All the buildings of the complex are 150 years. The oldest building was built in the year 1824. The architecture of the buildings is very impressive. It is a combination of Rajasthani, Mughal and Baroque European styles. The most spectacular structure within the Mubarak Mandi Palace is the Sheesh Mahal. River Tawi can be seen from here. The halls and galleries within the Mubarak Mandi Palace are used by the government these days. These were once used for functions and events by the Dogra rulers.
Pink Hall remains the most attractive building of the complex. Its art galleries comprise of various sculptures and paintings which are very unique.
HOW TO REACH JAMMU
By Air: Jammu has its own airport. Regular flights connect Jammu to the major parts of the country.
By Rail: Jammu Tawi is the main railhead that has a number of trains for most of the important towns and cities of the country. The longest rail route stretches from Jammu Tawi to Kanyakumari and touches almost all the main cities and towns of the country, originates from here.
By Road: Regular bus services connect Jammu from the rest of the state and also within the city.