The Land of Grand Ancient Temples And Beautiful Palaces
Famous for its landscape, majestic mountains, enchanting rivers and gardens, Jammu is the second largest town in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The district is situated on the south-eastern slopes of the Shivalik range. It is the renowned winter capital of the state. Tucked away in the foothills of the Himalayas, Jammu is situated 290 km from Srinagar. The picturesque river Tawi also contributes a lot to the natural beauty of the region.
But, Jammu is not only about the scenic beauty, rather it draws lakhs of tourists every season ancient temples, Hindu shrines, castles and forts. Jammu, popularly known as ?the city of Temples?, is a unique tourist destination. Hindu holy shrines of Amarnath and Vaishno Devi are the biggest attractions in Jammu. The surprise element is the unique blend of Islamic and Hindu architecture styles.
Vaishno Devi Shrine
The shrine is one of the most revered place in India and is located over the Trikuta Hills at a height of 1700 m in Katra (48 km from Jammu). The temple is built in a cave, 30 m long and just 1.5 m high. The temple is devoted to Mother Goddess (Maa Vaishno) and her three forms- Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasarasvati. The 13 km route to the Vaishno Devi shrine from Katra is on a steep hill, a perfect trekking trail too.
Fringed by forest covered hills, the beautiful Mansar lake is known for several sacred values as well. Located 62 km from Jammu, Mansar is visited for Hindu rituals, be it the Mundan ceremony (First hair cut) of any baby or three circumambulations (?Parikrama?) around the lake by the newly weds. People also take a holy dip in the water of the lake on festive occasions. This holy lake is a much sought after place because of the ancient shrine of Sheshnag (a mythological snake with six heads) on the eastern bank and the ancient temples of Umapati Mahadev & Narsimha and Goddess Durga. The lake is also an ideal spot for boating.
Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary
Covering an area of about 34 sq. km., Nandini is a renowned place for various species of pheasants. Besides, the sanctuary is home to several other avifauna species like Indian mynah, blue rock pigeon, peafowl, red jungle fowl, chir pheasants, chakor etc. Wildlife lovers can also spot a number of mammals like leopard, wild boar, rhesus monkey, bharal and grey langur in abundance.
Constructed by Raja Bahulochan over 3,000 years ago, Bahu Fort (5 km from Jammu) boasts of being the oldest existing fort in the region. It was renovated by the Dogra rulers. Located on the left bank of the river Tawi, this fort also has religious values. A famous temple of ?Bave wali Mata?, devoted to Goddess Kali, is located inside the Bahu Fort. This highly revered temple is considered second to Mata Vaishno Devi in terms of mystical power. The fort is surrounded by Bagh-E-Bahu, a famous Mughal garden.
Famous for lakhs of saligrams, sacred scriptures, ancient texts and manuscripts, this temple is devoted to Lord Rama, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Raghunath temple, with its seven shrines, boasts of being the largest temple complex in northern India. The temple work was started in 1835 by Maharaja Gulab Singh and was completed by his son Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1860. All the surrounding shrines are devoted to various Gods and Goddesses connected with the epic Ramayana. Another attraction of the temple is the inner wall covered with gold sheet on three sides.
The land of temples is full of surprising and spell-binding architectures. Peer Kho Cave, Panchbakhtar temple, Ranbireshwar temple, Dargah of Ali Shah, Shivkhori are several other holy places and attractions.
How To Reach
By Air: Jammu has its own airport, well connected with almost all the major cities of India.
By Rail: Jammu Tawi railway station is the most important railway station in the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir.
By Road: The district has a good road network that connects it with all major cities like Delhi, Amritsar, Ambala, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Shimla, etc. National Highway 1 makes it easily accessible from several other destinations.