Jammu : The Temple City
- How to Get There
- Raghunath Temple
- Vasihno Devi Temple
- Peer Khoh
- Amar Mahal Palace Museum
- Bahu Fort and Gardens
Jammu : The Temple City
The city of Jammu is nestled in the foot of the majestic Himalayan Mountains. Jammu actually falls in the Shivalik mountain range. This does not mean, however, that the behemoth Himalayas are far away. The fascinating landscape will draw you in like a moth to a flame. Jammu is also called the city of temples. The many incredible temples will pull you close with their holy and tranquil aura from afar. Jammu forms the entry point into the wonderful vista that is Kashmir. Do take some time to get familiar with the beautiful landscape in Jammu before you become immersed in the divine beauty of Kashmir. There are some great places to visit in Jammu after all.
How to Get There
By Air :
Jammu airport which is at a distance of 8 km from the city is well connected with various airports in India.
By Rail :
The Jammu-Tawi Station is well-connected to all the major cities in the country such as Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Trivandrum.
By Road :
The National Highway 1A connects the different cities of Jammu & Kashmir and the rest of India. Distance from other cities; Srinagar: 290 km, Amritsar: 212 km, Pathankot: 112 km, Patnitop: 108 km, Katra: 45 km, Chandigarh: 344 km
The incredible Raghunath Temple has the pride of being located right in the heart of the old Jammu. Built in 1857, the Raghunath Temple features a number of pavilions. The Raghunath Temple is actually the largest temple in a big complex. The complex contains seven temples built with same stunning architectural technique. The entire temple complex is a fascinating study due to the ancient library. The library may be more than a century old. Yet it holds one of the richest collections of sacred scriptures, ancient manuscripts and texts. The separate Sanskrit library also contains a rich collection of rare manuscripts written in Sanskrit. Step into the main Raghunath temple and another surprise waits for you. You should get ready to be awestruck for three of the inner walls of the temple have been covered with gold sheet. Even the main library has this intriguing feature. You can also get lost in the many galleries of saligrams. The other temples are dedicated to the gods and goddesses mentioned in the holy epic, the Ramayana. The main temple is dedicated to Lord Rama, also known as Raghunath.
Vasihno Devi Temple
The Mata Vaishno Devi Temple is one of the most important religious sites for the Hindus. Thousands every year visit the place as pilgrims every year to pay their respects to the holy goddess, Vaishno Devi. The journey is not an easy one. Most pilgrims choose to walk the 13.5 km stretch over the mountains to visit the shrine. Before you can enter the shrine, you will have to wade through freezing cold water. The journey to the top can be a fascinating one. You can get some great views of the surrounding area as you walk towards the shrine. Those unable to walk the distance can hire palkis or ponies to get to the top.
The Peer Khoh is an intriguing cave near the Tawi River. In the middle of a calm forest, the cave opens its mouth inviting you to take a look inside. Step inside the enchanting cave and a surprising natural formation waits for you. This is the Shiva lingam which was formed naturally. A shrine to Lord Shiva is built around this mysteriously formed Shiva lingam. The enigmatic nature of the cave is heightened by the legend surrounding it. According to the legend, the cave is supposed to be linked to other shrines and caves. Some of these other caves supposedly lie outside of India. The supposedly natural formation of the Shiva lingam which lies on a white marble slab is a mystery unto itself as well. A copper snake is coiled around the black colored Shiva lingam. Blue is the dominant color here. Further down the mystical cave lies a smaller shrine which contains life sized idols of other gods and goddesses such as Lord Rama, Lady Sita, Lord Vishnu and others.
Amar Mahal Palace Museum
The extravagant Amar Mahal was built in the 19th century for the Raja Amar Singh. Although Raja Amar Singh was a Dogra, this palace is quite different from the other Dogra palaces built. A lush patch of green surrounds the opulent palace while meadows dot the landscape. The palace faces the gorgeous Shivalik Range of mountains. The River Tawi flows in front of the mountains completing the implausibly beautiful panorama that stretches before you. The magnificent Amar Mahal Palace is now a museum. It contains a rich collection of paintings of the Dogra and the Pahari styles. There are various other art galleries inside that showcase the work of Indian artists. Famous artists are well represented alongside lesser known ones and amateurs. The most incredulous attraction in the palace is the gold sofa that belonged to the Dogra Kings and which weighs 120kgs.
Bahu Fort and Gardens
The Bahu fort is more than three centuries old. It provides a fascinating study in the Mughal architectural style. Today, the fort lies surrounded by an impressive terraced garden which is perfect for lounging about in the cool mountain air. Inside the fort lies a temple dedicated to the Goddess Kali who is worshipped as Bave Wali Mata. The fort commands a great view of the old city of Jammu along with the Tawi River.