Jammu is the Duggar land where the past still has a living presence. It is the land of grand ancient temples, and beautiful palaces all nestling in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is said that, on becoming King, the Suryavanshi Jammu Lochan went on a hunt and, crossing the Tawi, found a deer and a tiger drinking water from the same tank. His ministers explained that this meant that the soil of the place was so virtuous that no living creature bore enmity against another. Raja Jambu Lochan, who lived in the later Vedic period, decided to found his capital, Jambupura, on his soil, on the right bank of the Tawi, overlooking his brother king Bahu's fort. Today the temple of Maha Kali (better known as Bahu or Bawey Wali Mata), located in the Bahufort, is considered second only to Mata Vaishno Devi in terms of mystical power. The present temple was built shortly after the coronation of Maharaja Gulab Singh, in 1822. The existing fort, as well as the Manasabdar's palace inside it, was constructed in 1820. Jammu is justly famous for its temples. In fact it is known as the city of temples and the every fame of its, tends to overshadow its palaces, forts, forests and powerful ziarats. If Bahu Mata is the presiding deity of Jammu, the Dargah of Peer Budhan Ali Shah is the other shrine that protects Jammuites. The other major tourist attraction is the Raghunath Temple Complex. Maharaja Gulab Singh began the construction of the Raghunath Mandir Complex in the crowded downtown Bazaar named after it, in 1851. It was left to his son, Ranbir Singh, to inaugurate it six years later perhaps the most popular temple north of Benares, it contains representations of almost entire Hindu pantheon, though the emphasis falls on the various incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The complex houses a rich collection of ancient texts and manuscripts. 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 Sivalik mountains, Jammu, the 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 traveling into the state. Rajdarshani ascribes the foundation of Jammu to about 3650 BC. Kingdom of solar race of Ayodahya spread over Shivalik hills to river Ravi & Chenab when Sudharshana the 20th descendant of Rama ruled Ayodhya. His younger son, Agnigir migrated to Shivalik hills and traveling through Nagrota, reached the banks of Ravi and ruled of Bupanagri, the present Kathua. Agnigir was succeeded by chiefships 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, expanded 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 Mandi stands here). Jambu Lochan was succeeded by his son Puran Karan who shifted capital from Bahu Nagar to newly founded Jammu. Down the line, successors ruled Jammu and extended the kingdom Banihal 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 Trikuta 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 Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab took over Lahore and marched to Jammu.In AD 1812, Jammu assigned as Jagir to his elder son, Prince Kharak Singh. On realizing the spirit of Jamwals, Mian Mota of Jammu was made the Minister by Sikhs. Maharaja Ranjit 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 Zarawar Singh as Hakim of Kishtwar who further advanced to Ladakh, Baltistan and Tibet for expansion of the empire. Maharaja Ranjit Singh entrusted Gulab Singh with administration of large territories and transferred the lease of Gujarat in AD 1830, which yielded huge revenue. After Maharaja Ranjit Singhs death, Gulab Singh succeeded in getting control,of Sialkot and appointed a governor in Peshawar He purchased Kashmir from the British against a sum of money, same cattle, gifts and a yearly tribute under the treaty of Amritsar in AD 1846. His forces 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 upto 1947.
An aura of blessings and flowers showered by the gods themselves - is the first feeling one gets while entering into the Jammu city. This low belt of plains exists due to deposition of silt and sand out of streams flowing from the foothills of Himalayas. With the culture more akin to that of northern India, a difference made by the Dogri language perhaps outshines Jammu from the states nearby. People of Jammu are born warriors with friendly nature; their sweet language compels one to extend a hand of friendships in the first instance. The old city has some of the most captivating residential areas like Panjtirthi, Parade, Jama masjid, Jain bazaar Khati-ko-talab, where the lively bazaars and closely built houses make walk pleasant even in torrid summers.The modern areas of Ghandhi Nagar, Trikuta Nagar, newly se ttled Sidhra and multiplexes of Bahu area, compete with developed areas of metro cities of the country. Bustled with the Kashmiri people during winters, Jammu could be mistaken for a city of Kashmir valley than of Jammu. Presence of a large number of Kashmiri Pundits has diversified the cultural richness of Jammu which itself speaks of the hospitality and co-existence quality of the Jammuites.
Places of Interest
One 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 by his son, Ranbir Singh. Raghunath Bazaar, the area surrounding the temple, is most crowded & a shopper's delight. The tourist and local's queue-up from early mornings to pay their obeisance to the holy deities.
-Ranbireshwar Temple (3 km)
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-haIf feet in height, twelve Shiva lingams of crystal measuring from 15 inches to 38 inches. The marigold flower sellers outside the temple keep most attractive garlands which are offered at the sanctorum.
-Peer Khoh (3.5kms)
Peer Khoh is a cave shrine located on the Circular Road, which has a mysterious, naturally formed Shiva lingam.
-Mahamaya Temple (6km)
This temple is situated on 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 (7 km)
The dargah of Peer Budhan Ali Shah or Peer Baba, according to local belief, protects the people of this city from mishaps and evil spirits.
Southwards on the Pathankot road, is the charismatic Parmandal Temple complex, situated on the banks of an underground river. The river is cloaked by sand, and one can feel the water oozing out by a mere touch of the feet. People dig in the sand beds and bathe by the water that comes out as the Dewak is believed to be part of Ganges. Devotees also take the sacred water with them for purification of the their homes. For this reason it is often referred to as Chota Kashi.
-Bahu Fort (4km)
(The majestic Bahu Fort, the oldest edifice extant in the region is situated an 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 favourite picnic spot for the city folks.
-Mubarak Mandi and Dogra Art gallery
(5km) Built in AD 1824, the Mubarak mandi palace is full of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture with awesome designs on the walls. The illumination of the fort during festival season in Jammu brings back the charm of royalty to the palace. The museum complex adjacent to the palace has halls full of historical monuments and artifacts. The main hall displays an 11th century old sculpture of Bhairva from Parmandal, royal garments of Dogra regime, mineral stones o Kushan period and Mughal coins. Some of the oldest of sculptures are the human heads of red clay from 4th- 5th century AD from Akhnoor. The adjacent hall has world famous paintings of Krishna-Sudhama series from 18th century AD. The ground floor has a modem art gallery where Large sculpture of General Zorawar Singh is a main highlight. The gallery also displays paintings and miniatures of different periods from Basahli, Jammu one Kangra. The gallery also has Shahnama and Sikander-nama. handwritten manuscripts in Persian. The museum is open on working days from 8 am to 2 pm during summer and 10 am to 4pm during winter. Museum closed on Mondays and government holidays.
32 km tram Jammu on the banks of Chenab river is situated the famous town of Akhnoor, which is popular for its association with the folk romance of Sahni and Mahiwal. At Jeopitha temple on Chenab the first Dogra King of J & K, Maharja Gulab Singh was coronated in 1822. Akhnoor fort built in 19th century on me banks of Chenab offers a breathtaking view. The fort is said to be perched upon the ancient site dating back to Harrapan period, excavations have revealed the remains of monastery,terra cotta heads and pottery from century AD near Ambran. A two palace southern side is another interesting site to see. Shiv Gufa also known as Pandav Gufa on the banks Chenab is said to have been discovered by the Pandavas.
125 km south east of Jammu, Basohli is about 52 km from Pathankot near to the famous "Dalhousie"in Himachal Pradesh.Basohli miniature paintings based on the theme of Vaishnavism are of major interest in the region.
-Billawara and Sukrala Devi
A village near Basohli,the ruins of a temple in Billawar and the ruins of old wells known as baulis is worth seeing.Sukrala Devi temple having an eight armed stone sculpture of godess Dei situated at a hilltop is 10 km from Billawar.
-Sui & Burj
En route Jammu-Akhnoor road a ancient temples of Sui & Burj famous for metal idols and wall paintings influence of Mughal, Pahari and Basohli school of paintings.