Bestowed with innumerable temples this “City of Temples” has people of several races and mixed culture spreading from Chenab to Ravi. Situated at an altitude of 305 meters, surrounded by Pirpanjal and Shivalik mountains, Jammu, the summer capital of J&K, has climate similar to northern India. Popular as Dogras, Jammuites are friendly in nature and born warriors. For decades, they have paved the way for the tourists into the State.
Rajasthani ascribes the foundation of Jammu to about 3650 BC. Kingdom of solar race of Ayodhya spread over Shivalik hills to river Ravi & Chenab when Sudharshana the 20th descendant of Ram ruled Ayodhya. His younger son, Agnigir, migrated to Shivalik hills and traveling through Nagrota, reached the banks of Ravi and rules at Bupanagri, the present Kathua. Agngir was succeeded by chief ships of many Rajas, one of whom was Agnigarbha who had 18 sons and was succeeded by his eldest son Bahu Lochan who founded Bahu Nagar (today Bahu Fort stands here). His brother Jambu Lochan, who ruled during 6th century in Kalyuga, i.e. 2500 BC, expended his dominion and desired to build his capital at an ideal place. One day while hunting, he saw a deer and a tiger drinking at the same pond. He was informed that the soil of the place excelled in virtues, so no living creature bore animosity against each other. He founded a new town at this spot and called it Jambupura (today Purani Mndi stands here). Jambu Lochan was succeeded by his son Puran Karan who shifted capital from Bahu Nagar to newly founded Jammu. Down the line, succeeded ruled Jammu and extended the kingdom to Banihal and Kashmir. Thereafter, Jammu saw many rulers from dynasties of Dutts, Devs, Dhars and many more till Amir Timur occupied Delhi in 1398. He entered Shivaliks, Kangra and crossed Trikut hills to conquer Jammu in 1399, marching from Mansar. Dogra Rajas again took over the charge of Jammu between 15th and 17th century.
In AD 1800 Maraja Ranjeet Singh of Punjab took over Lahore and marched to Jammu. In AD 1812, Jammu was assigned as Jagir to his elder son, Prince Kharak Singh. On realizing the spirit of Jamwals, Main Mota of Jammu was made the Ministry by Sikhs. Maharaja Ranjeet Singh selected Gulab Singh and his brother Dhyan Singh to rule Jammu in AD 1813. Gulab Singh’s grateful sovereign bestowed him Jammu as his Jagir and he became Maharaja in AD 1822. He appointed Zorawar Singh as Hakim of Kishtwar who further advanced to Ladakh, Baltistan and Tibet for expansion of the empire.
Maharaja Ranjeet Singh entrusted Gulab Singh with administration of large territories and transferred the lease of Gujarat in AD1830, which yielded huge revenue. After Maharaja Ranjeet Singh’s death, Gulab Singh succeeded in getting control of Sialkot and appointed a governor and appointed a governor in Peshawar. He purchased Kashmir from the British against a sum of money, some cattle, gifts and a yearly tribute under the Treaty of Amrisar in AD1846. His force joined the British troops and he got the title of Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir. Thereafter Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh became the empire of Dogras whose rule lasted up to 1947.
By Air: -
Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Spice Jet, Air Sahara, Kingfisher, Go Air and Air Deccan operate mostly daily flights to Jammu from Delhi. Jammu airport is at a distance of 8kms from the city.
By Train: -
The northernmost railway junction of India, Jammu Tawi railway station is connected by trains from many cities. It is 6km from the Tourist Reception Center.
By Road: -
National Highway 1A connects Jammu with rest of India. Most northern State Road Transport Corporations like Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi have daily bus services to Jammu
Sightseeing in Jammu
(Distance are in ‘Km’ and from Raghunath Bazaar)
Raghunath Temple: -
Once of the oldest temples, the Raghunath Temple houses deities representing the Hindu pantheon. Its construction was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1851 and was inaugurated six years later by7 his son Ranbir Singh. Raghunath Bazaar, the area surrounding the temples, is most in most crowded &a shopper’s delight.
Ranbireshwar temple (3km)
Located on Shalimar Road, the temple was built by Maharaja Ranbir Singh in AD 1883 dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has one central lingam measuring seven-and-a-half feet in height, twelve Shiva lingam of crystal measuring from 15inches to 38inches.
Peer Khoh (3.5kms)
Peer Khoh is a cave shrine located in the Circular Road, which has a mysterious, naturally formed Shiva lingam.
Mahamaya Temple (6km)
This temple is situated in the Bypass Road, behind Bahu Fort and overlooks River Tawi. A small garden surrounded by forests provides a spectacular view of the city.
Peer Baba (7km)
The daragh of peer Badhan Ali Shah or Peer Baba, according to local belief, products the people of this city from mishaps and evil spirits.
South wards on the Pathankot road, is the charismatic Parmandal Temple complex, situated on the banks of in Underground River. The river is cooked by sand, and one can feel the water oozing out by a mere touch of the feet. It is often referred to as Chota Kashi.
Bahu Fort (4km)
The majestic Bahu Fort, the oldest edifice extant in the region is situated in the banks of River Tawi. It is surrounded by a lush green terraced garden full of waterfalls and flowers, popular as Bagh-e-Bahu, a favorite picnic spot for the city folks.
Amar Mahal Palace (3km)
Overlooking the River Tawi, the Amar Mahal Palace has characteristics similar to European castle. A portion of the palace has been converted into a museum, which also houses the city’s finest library of antique books and paintings. Another part of the palace has been converted into a heritage hotel that offers breathtaking views and royal service.
Mubarak Mandi / Dogra Art Gallery (5km)
Built in AD 1824, the palace is full of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture. The complex houses an art gallery where paintings and miniatures of different periods from Basohli, Jammu and Kangra are displayed. The gallery also has Shahnama and Sikandernama, handwritten manuscripts in Persian. The art gallery is closed on Monday and government holydays.
(Some of the articles have been shifted due to a recent fore).
Mata Vaishnodeviji Shrine
Alt 5,200ft. Km: 45
Katra, a small town in the foothills of Trikuta, serves as the base camp to the Vaishodevi Yatris. The shrine is approach on foot along a 12km path from Katra. Every year, nearly 5million pilgrims visit Mata Vaishodevi. The shrine has been a beacon of faith and fulfillment to millions of devotees. Popular belief holds that anybody who walks the trail to the goddess’ abode rarely goes back disappointed. The holy shrine contains the holiest of holy Pindis, manifesting the Mata in three forms –Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Sarasawati. It is believed that the Yatra is not complete unless the pilgrim visits Bhairon ka Mandir as well (2.6 km from the main shrine).
Yatris on reaching katra need to get a Parch (registration sleep) from Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) counters near the Bus Stand. Counter No 1for 9 persons & No2 for 10 person and above. Counters are open from 6am to 11pm.
Pithus, palkwalas and ponywalas registered with the authorities are available from Katra to Banganga. The rates from Katra to the shrine and back are fixed as per the weight of luggage and yatri. Yatris are advised to check the identities of hired pithu, Palkiwala, ponywala and note their card numbers / names in case of any kind of eventuality.
After darshan, one must not miss trying maalish (Body Massage) at Katra. The maalishwala will loosen your muscles using different massage methods and a variety of oils.
For your food taste, Katra is no less than a metro city. The modern Fast Food restaurants fulfil the needs of every yatri – be it Punjabi, Gujrati, Marathi, Bengali, NRI’s or foreigners. The food at Dhabas and Restaurants is equally tasteful and reasonable. In obeisance to Mata, the entire Katra town and nearby Katra areas are declared vegetarian and alcohol free.
Katra main bazaar is full of Kashmiri handicraft items, all types of dry fruits, bhaints, gift items and other specialties from the region.
Helicopter service: -
The helicopter service from Katra to the shrine and back can be availed at a fixed price. The chopper makes many sorties during the day subject to weather conditions. The helipad at katra is just 11/2 kms away from the main market in the Kashmir road.
Shrines nearby: -
The main attraction here is a natural 4ft high Shivling in a kilometer long cave. The day trip from Katra (35km) is generally of interest to the pilgrims visiting Mata Vaishnodevi. During Shivaratri, a fair is held which is visited by devotees from all corners.
Traveling 10 km from Katra towards the famous Salal-dam in Reasi, a cool spring gushes out of the mountainside on a thick grove of trees and forms a number of small waterfalls. Next to the spring is a naturally formed Shivling on which the droplets of water fall. Every year a festival is organized during Shivaratri at Baba Dhansar.
Altitude: 2024 meters Km 112
Perched among dense forests and green carpeted meadows, overlooking the Pipanjal range, Patnitop is the most popular picnic spot among locals and tourists alike. It provides an escape from the summer heat. The nearby area of Padora and nathatop are favorite excursion spots. The snow fall during winter makes Patnitop more lively since everyone desire to have fun in the snowcapped mountains. Skiing and sledging thrills one and all in the snow covered meadows of Patnitop.
A/C and non-A/C rooms are reasonably priced in most of the hotels situated right from the highway to Padora area. Tourist Bungalow and cottages of JKTDC, beautifully located in the meadows, can be a nice stopover.
Altitude: 2079m Km 130
19km from patnitop, Sanasar is a cup shaped meadow where one can go on day-trips during summer. Paragliding is one of the major attractions here. JKTDC tourist bungalow and hutments are available.
Best time to visit: April – October.
62km from Jammu, Mansar is a mysterious lake deeply connected with Hindu mythology. For this reason, fishing in the lake is prohibited. Parikarma of the lake is believed to being good fortune. Crystal clear waters and cool breezes make it a pleasant destination. Boating on the lake and a deer park in the banks are other attractions. Come Baisakhi, a food festival is organized every year. Surinsar, yet another lake nearby, is an off shoot of the Mansar Lake. JKTDC tourist bungalow and hutments offer economical accommodation with excellence view of the lake.
from Jammu, Doda, with altitude varying from 8000 ft to 15000
ft, has some fascinating spots which are yet to be explored.
The natural beauty is as romantic and adventurous as Kashmir.
For this reason.
Festivals of Jammu
Lohri (13 January)
This festival heralds the onset of spring and is also known as Makar Sankranti. The whole region wears a festive look on this day.
Thousands take a dip in the holy rivers. 'Havan Yagnas' light up nearly every house and temple in Jammu. In the rural areas it is customary for young boys to go around asking for gifts from newly-weds and parents of new-borns.
A special dance called the 'Chajja' is held on the occasion of Lohri. It makes a striking picture to see boys along with their 'Chajjas' elaborately decorated with coloured paper and flowers dance on the street in a procession. The whole atmosphere comes alive with pulsating drumbeats.
Baisakhi (April 13 or 14)
The name Baisakhi is taken from the first month of the Vikram calendar. Every year, on the first day of Vaishakh, the people of Jammu, like the rest of northern India, celebrate Baisakhi. Also known as the "harvest festival", it is considered auspicious especially for marriages. Devotees who take a ritual dip every year, throng the rivers, canals and ponds. Many people go to the Nagbani temple to witness the grand New Year celebration.