Jammu (Hindi: जम्मू,
Urdu: جموں) is one of the three regions comprising the Indian state
of Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu borders Kashmir valley to the north, Ladakh to
the east, Himachal Pradesh to the south and Pakistan occupied Kashmir to
the west. Jammu city is the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir.
Jammu is located 74 degree 24' and 75 degree 18', East longitude and 32
degree 50' and 33 degree 30' North latitude. It is approximately 600 km
away from National Capital, New Delhi and is linked with a National
Highway, railway and airport.
Jammu District is spread over an area of 3097 km² and has a population
of about 12.5 lakhs as per the estimates of 1991. It is second largest
populated District of the state and second largest in terms of population
density and falls under the category 'B'. The literacy percentage of the
District is 42.86% in as per 1981 census which was highest in the state.
The Airport is situated at Satwari. This District serves as the Winter
Capital of Jammu & Kashmir state from November to April when all the
offices move from Srinagar to Jammu.
People of Jammu mostly speak Dogri, Kotli, Mirpuri, Hindi, Punjabi,
Kashmiri and/or Urdu.
Places of interest
Jammu is famous for its landscape, ancient temples, Hindu shrines,
castles, gardens and forts. Hindu holy shrines of Amarnath and Vaishno
Devi attracts tens of thousands of Hindu devotees every year. Jammu's
beautiful natural landscape has made it one of the most famous
destinations for adventure tourism in South Asia. Jammu's historic
monuments feature a unique blend of Islamic and Hindu architecture styles.
Situated in a narrow gorge at the farther end of the Lidder Valley,
Amarnath Holy Cave stands at 3,888 mtrs. and is 363 kms. from Jammu Via
Pahalgam and about 414 kms. from Jammu Via Baltal. Located north of Jammu,
the Amarnath cave temple is dedicated to LORD SHIVA. The cave is one of
India's most important religious shrines. The Amarnath attracts thousands
of Lord Siva devotees every year. Inside the Amarnath Cave lies the ice
Shiva Linga which is visited by the Hindu pilgrims during May to August.
The peak rush is during the Shravani Mela in July. The cave with the 'ice-linga'
in it was first discovered by a muslim shepherd some 150 years ago. The
cave is located in Kashmir and can be accessed from Pahelgam as well as
Bal-tal, both places being accessible from Srinagar, the capital town of
Kashmir. The distance of the cave from Pahelgam is 36 km and from Bal-tal
16 km. The areas are under the control of the Indian Army and can be
visited with their permission. The journey from Bal-tal/Pahelgam can be
undertaken either by trekking or by horseback. The cylindrical ice
formation resembling shiva-linga which waxes during May to August and
gradually wanes thereafter is a stalagmite.
Vaishno Devi shrine
The town of Katra, which is close to Jammu, is home to the famous
Vaishno Devi shrine. Nestling on top of the Trikuta Hills at a height of
1700 m is the sacred cave shrine of Vaishno Devi, the mother goddess. At a
distance of 48 km from Jammu, the cave is 30 metres long and just 1.5 m
high. At the end of the cave are shrines dedicated to the three forms of
the mother goddess—Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasarasvati. Pilgrims start
trekking to the cave temple which is 13 kilometers from katra. They enter
in small groups through a narrow opening and walk through ice-cold waters
to reach the shrines. According to legend, the mother goddess hid in the
cave while escaping a demon whom she ultimately killed.
Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary
Areas around Jammu used to be thick forests few years ago teeming with
wild life. A wildlife sanctuary, called Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary, was
started to preserve that forest. Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary is located 28
km from Jammu and derives its name from Nandini village. It is
characterized by stunning locale and varied topography. The region play
hosts to a large number of rare and endangered species of mammals and
birds. It supports 8 species of mammals and a wide variety of bird
species. Much acclaim has been accorded to the Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary,
famous for its diversity of wildlife and best known for wonderful species
of pheasants. It is renknowned natural habitat for a significant
population of phesants. Among the other avifauna Indian mynah, blue rock
pigeon , peafowl, red jungle fowl, chir pheasants, chakor etc.
Spread over an area of 34 km², the sanctuary is rich in fauna and provides
refuge to a wide variety of mammals. The main species are leopard, wild
boar, rhesus monkey, bharal and grey langur.
The Mansar lake near Jammu city. Jammu is one of the most famous
adventure tourism destinations in India.
Mansbal Lake is a sweet water lake in Safapur, near Srinagar (Largest City
of Jammu & Kashmir). There is Manser (Mansrover) lake, that is about 20 km
from National Highway No. 1A. Road to Manser Lake starts from just near
Samba on National Highway No. 1A. This Manser lake road joins to another
important road that directly links Pathankot (Punjab) to Udhampur (Jammu &
Kashmir, Jammu Province. Udhampur is a Town of strategic importance, again
on National Highway No. 1A. The shortcut road from Mansrover or Samba to
Udhampur by-pass the Jammu town. The phograph shown is certainly of
Mansbal Lake and not of Mansrover Lake. Mansrover, is also called as
Jammu city has several forts and palaces, the most famous of which being
the Amar Mahal palace . This palace is reminiscent of a fairytale castle
with splendid towers capped by sloping roofs. The Palace is on a precipice
overlooking the Tawi river. This grand palace features sloping roofs and
tall towers, characteristic of continental European castles. The palace
has been converted into a museum which also houses the city’s finest
library, with a collection of roughly 25,000 antique books and paintings.
An entire series of miniatures based on the epic Nal-Damayanti (the story
of Nala and Damayanti) can be seen in the museum.
The Bahu fort, which also serves as a religious temple is situated about 5
km from Jammu city on a rock face on the left bank of the river Tawi. This
is perhaps the oldest fort and edifice in the city. Constructed originally
by Raja Bahulochan over 3,000 years ago, the existing Fort was more
recently improved and rebuilt by Dogra rulers. There is a temple dedicated
to the Goddess Kali inside the fort popularly known as Bave wali Mata. The
fort overlooks the river running through Jammu city. Every Tuesday and
Sunday pilgrims throng this temple and partake in "Tawi flowing worship".
Bave Wali Mata is the presiding deity of Jammu. Today the fort is
surrounded with a beautiful terraced garden which is a favourite picnic
spot of the city folk.
Bagh-E-Bahu located on the banks of Tawi river, is a famous Mughal-age
garden. It gives nice view of the old city and Tawi river. Bagh itself is
very beautiful. There is a small cafeteria on one side of the garden.
On the by-pass road behind Bahu Fort, the city forest surrounds the
ancient Maha Maya Temple overlooking the river Tawi. A small garden
surrounded by acres of woods provides a commanding view of the city.
The famous temple of Bawey Wali Mata inside the Bahu Fort attracts
pilgrims every Tuesday and Sunday who come here to worship the presiding
deity of Jammu while opposite the Bahu Fort, overlooking the River Tawi is
a temple dedicated to Mahamaya, a local heroine of Dogras, who lost her
life fourteen centuries ago fighting foreign invaders. The present temple
of Bawey Wali Mata was built shortly after the coronation of Maharaja
Gulab Singh, in 1822. It is also known as the temple of Mahakali and the
goddess is considered second only to Mata Vaishno Devi in terms of
Amongst the temples in Jammu, the Raghunath Mandir takes pride of place
being situated right in the heart of the city. This temple is situated at
the city center and was built in 1857. Work on the temple was started by
Maharaja Gulab Singh, founder of the Kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir in 1835
AD and was completed by his son Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1860 AD. The
inner walls of the main temple are covered with gold sheet on three sides.
There are many galleries with lakhs of saligrams. The surrounding Temples
are dedicated to various Gods and Goddesses connected with the epic
Ramayana. This temple consists of seven shrines, each with a tower of its
own. It is the largest temple complex in northern India. Though 130 years
old, the complex is remarkable for sacred scriptures, one of the richest
collections of ancient texts and manuscripts in its library. Its arches,
surface and niches are undoubtedly influenced by Mughal architecture while
the interiors of the temple are plated with gold. The main sanctuary is
dedicated to Lord Vishnus eighth incarnation and Dogras' patron deity, the
Rama. It also houses a Sanskrit Library containing rare Sanskrit
Peer Kho Cave
Alongside the same Tawi river are the Peer Kho Cave temple, the
Panchbakhtar temple and the Ranbireshwar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva
with their own legends and specific days of worship. 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. The Ranbireshwar
Temple has twelve Shiva lingams of crystal measuring 12" to 18" and
galleries with thousands of saligrams fixed on stone slabs. Located on the
Shalimar Road near the New Secretariat, and built by Maharaja Ranbir Singh
in 1883 AD. It has one central lingam measuring seven and a half feet
height (2.3 m) and twelve Shiva lingams of crystal measuring from 15 cm to
38 cm and galleries with thousands of Shiva lingams fixed on stone slabs.
Dargah of Ali Shah
The Dargah (shrine) of Peer Budhan Ali Shah or Peer Baba is said to
protect the people of this city from mishaps and evil spirits. A friend of
Guru Gobind Singh, it is said that Peer Baba lived his entire life on milk
alone and lived to the age of five hundred and still people from all
faiths and religions venerate him in equal respect. Peer Mitha was a saint
who has a shrine of his own and was a contemporary of Ajaib Dev and
Ghareeb Nath, who were famous for their prophecies and miracles. "Mitha"
means "the sweet one" and the saint was so-called, as the Peer would
accept nothing more than a pinch of sugar in offering from his devotees.