Jammu is the largest city in the Jammu region and the winter capital of Indian administered state of Jammu and Kashmir and situated on the banks of Tawi river. It is a municipal corporation.Jammu is also known as the "City of Temples" owing to the number of historical temples and domes of old mosques located within the city. With its fastest growing urban agglomerations and booming infrastructure the winter capital of state is the second largest city in the state.
Jammu district derives its name from the city of Jammu which besides being the winter capital of the state, is known as the city of temples. It is believed that the city was originally founded by Raja Jamboo Lochan who lived in fourteenth century B.C. The Raja had gone out one day for hunting when he happened to witness a tiger and a goat drinking water from one and the same pond. This extraordinary phenomenon set him thinking and 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. With the passage of time and due to its frequent use the pronunciation of the name got slightly distorted and the city, came to be known as 'Jammu' as it is called now
Jammu is situated on a hillock, on the bank of river Tawi and is bound by Udhampur district in the north and northeast , Kathua district in the east and southeast, Pakistan (Sialkote) in west and Rajauri district and POK (Bhimber) in the northwest. Its skyline was once dotted with glittering spires of temples. These spikes are no longer visible as most of these are hidden behind multi storyed buildings. The city has numerous shrines for Muslims, Sikhs & Christians also. Jammu also serves as base camp for the holy shrine of Vaishno Devi. Jammu is also the Railhead of the state.
PLACES TO VISIT
130 years old it is the largest temple complex in northern India. The temple work started by Maharaja Gulab Singh, founder of the Kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir in 1835 AD was completed by his son Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1860 AD. Situated at the city center the inner walls of the main temple are covered with gold sheet on three sides while the interiors of the temple are plated with gold. There are many galleries of saligrams. The Temple is dedicated to various Gods and Goddesses connected with the epic Ramayana which make it a rare site to behold. The temple consists of seven shrines, each with a tower of its own. The main sanctuary is dedicated to Lord Vishnu's eighth incarnation the Rama.
Bave Wali Mata (Goddess Mahakali):
The Bahu fort today serves as a religious temple is situated on the left bank of the river Tawi. This is perhaps the oldest fort constructed originally by Raja Bahulochan over 3,000 years ago. The temple inside is dedicated to the Goddess Kali popularly known as Bave wali Mata. Bave Wali Mata is the presiding deity of Jammu . Tuesday and Sunday are special days for worship for the devotees. Fort is surrounded by a beautiful terraced garden. The famous temple of Bawey Wali Mata inside the Bahu Fort is also known as the temple of Mahakali Goddess and is considered second only to Mata Vaishno Devi.
It is the other well known Shiva temple in Jammu. Ranbireshwar Temple has its own legend, its devotees and specific days of worship. This famour temple of Lord Shiva is located opposite Jammu & Kashmr Civil Secretariat, on Shalamar Road in Jammu. In Ranbireshwar Temple, there are twelve Shiva 'lingams' of crystal measuring 12" to 18" and galleries with thousands of 'saligrams' fixed on stone slabs.
Panchvaktar (five faces) Mahadev Mandir (temple) occupies a unique place, in Jammu, the city of temples. It is one of the oldest Shivalya in the city. Old tales and oral histories state that Adi Shankryacharya visited this site and stayed there; while some believe that it was discovered much later, during the reign of Raja Mal Dev, in early fourteenth century. The Lingam in this temple is self manifested (Aap Shambu). This temple was also connected with Shri Amarnath Yatra in past and it was a Padayo (camp) for Sadhus visiting the Holy Cave of Shri Amarnathji. The temple of such a rare antiquity, heritage and spiritual importance, is situated in the heart of the city at Panch vaktar Road, Jammu.
Peer Kho Cave Temple overlooking the Tawi river is another well known Shiva temple in Jammu. Peer Kho cave is located on the bank of river Tawi and it is widely believed that Ramayan character Jamvant (the bear God) meditated in this cave.
Mahamaya Temple and City Forest:
On the bypass Road, behind Bahu Fort, the city forest surrounds the ancient Mahamaya temple overlooking the river Tawi. A small garden surrounded by acres of woods provides the best view of the city.
Other important temples in Jammu are the Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Duda Dhari Temple and the Panj Mandir in Gandhi Nagar.
JAMMU - LOCAL SIGHT SEEING
Amar Mahal Palace Museum:
Amar Mahal building was planned in 1862 by a French architect, based on the lines of a French Chateau heavily influenced by the Queen Anne style. As a result one can't deny the overwhelmingly European "feel" of the place. This palace was the residence of the Royal Family, Maharani Tara Devi, wife of late Maharaja Hari Singh. Situated atop a hill at the northern end of the city, the Amar Mahal Museum offers a commanding view of the river Tawi and the Shivalik ranges towards the north.
Stones have been used to decorate the walls as it stands out against the red bricks. The top floor has a bay window while the first floor has French windows and a small balcony. Three sides of the building have a long corridor covered by a sloping corrugated tin roof resting on a wooden framework and the coupled columns supporting the wooden framework. One can even find triangular projections typical of classical Greek architecture supported by ornate false columns over some of the windows.
Amar Mahal has Art Galleries that promote Indian art and artists. These Galleries present a splendorous picture in informal surroundings and has collection of paintings that range over different styles including Kangra style of Indian miniatures paintings. The collection includes works of some of the renowned artists like M.F. Hussain, J.Swaminathan, G. R. Santosh, Bikash Battacharjee, Ram Kumar, Laxman Pai and many others.
Nala Damayanti Gallery:
It displays a set of forty-seven exquisite paintings made in the world famous style of Indian miniature painting that came up in the late eighteenth century, known as Kangra Ki Kalam visually narrates the love of Nala and Damayanti and stops at Damayanti's Svayamvara (wedding ceremony). Dash-Avatar Gallery has oil paintings based on the unique theme of reincarnations of Lord Vishnu, the Hindu deity revered as the preserver of life. The paintings depict the incarnation of Vishnu chronologically as described in the Vishnu Purana (a Hindu religious text). Contemporary Art Gallery houses the works of art by the eminent contemporary artists of India .
Bahu Fort & Gardens (Bagh-e-Bahu):
Situated 5 kms away from the city centre, Bahu Fort stands on a rock face on the left bank of the river Tawi. Perhaps the oldest fort and edifice in the city, it was constructed originally by Raja Bahulochan over 3,000 years ago. The existing fort was more recently improved upon and extended by the Dogra rulers. 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.
The subcontinent's largest underground aquarium in Jammu's Bagh-I-Bahu area is drawing a large number of tourists ever since it was opened to the public. Besides students, the aquarium has become a centre of attraction for tourists, giving them an opportunity to revel in the exotic aquatic world. The aquarium has attracted large number of tourists visiting the State. The aquarium-cum-awareness centre comprises of 24 aquarium caves including 13 small caves for holding freshwater fishes, two large caves for holding marine water fishes and nine medium sized aquariums for holding marine and fresh water fishes. It has state-of-the-art equipment, a public gallery, museum, laboratory and a multimedia conference hall. The entrance is designed in the shape of the mouth of a fish and the exit in the shape of a fish tail. The aquarium houses a museum where 400 varieties of freshwater and marine fish are on display.
Mubarak Mandi Palace:
The oldest buildings in this palace complex date back to 1824. The architecture is a blend of Rajasthani, Mughal and even baroque elements. The most stunning segment is the Sheesh Mahal. "The Pink Hall" houses the Dogra Art Museum which has miniature paintings of the various Hill Schools. These days the Palace is being renovated and it is suggested to visit the area only after the renovation has been complete which is likely to take some time.
Dogra Art Gallery - The Dogra Art Gallery at Mubarak Mandi Complex is open from 10:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m (winter); 8 a.m to 1:30 p.m (summer); Monday closed. Exhibits include fine miniatures of the Jammu and Basohli School of painting.
HOW TO GET HERE
The major railway station in Jammu is Jammu Tawi. Jammu Tawi is connected to all major cities in India like Delhi (Jammu Rajdhani), Kolkata (Himgir Exp), Mumbai (Swarak Exp), Chennai (Andaman Exp) and even to the the southern most Trivandrum Railway station (Himsagar Exp).
Jammu airport is well connected with many major airports in the country, including Delhi, Srinagar and Leh. Almost all air service providers operate regular flights from Jammu.
Jammu is well connected by bus services. It is connected to many neighboring cities through private tourist buses including Manali (Rs 1,500), Shimla (Rs 1,500), Amritsar (Rs 900), Ludhiana (Rs 1,200) and Delhi. Delhi to Jammu is about 684 km and tourist deluxe buses charge about Rs 2,000.