Jammu , also known as Duggar, is one of the three administrative divisions within Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state in India. Jammu city is the largest city in Jammu and the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu City is also known as "City of Temples" as it has many temples and shrines, with glittering shikhars soaring into the sky, which dot the city's skyline, creating the ambiance of a holy and peaceful Hindu city.
Jammu is the only region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that has a Hindu majority population - 65% of Jammu's population practices Hinduism, 30% practices Islam and most of the remainder are Sikhs. Most of Jammu's Hindus are Dogras, Kashmiri Pandits, migrants from Kotli and Mirpur and Punjabi Hindus. Many Sikhs are migrants from Pakistani Controlled Kashmir (from areas like Muzaffarabad and Punch sector areas occupied by Pakistan during 1947).
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 religious places are:
Aap Shambhu Temple Sathrian-is a temple situated at Sathrian in Roopnagar area of Jammu city. The stone temple has self-made stone Lingam. According to a legend, in the times immemorial this entire place was an uninhabited jungle, the milky cows and buffaloes used to come to the Lingam after grazing and shed entire milk on the Lingam.
Chichi Mata-It is situated near Samba and is popularly known as Pehla Darshan of Vaishno Devi pilgrims.
Gadhadharji Temple-Maharaja Gulab Singh also constructed a Gadhadhargi temple near his palace (Mubarak Mandi) soon after becoming the ruler of the State. The temple has two life size statues of Narayana and Lakshmi.
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.
Raghunath Temple - Situated in the heart of the city and surrounded by a group of other temples, this temple, dedicated to Lord Rama, is outstanding and unique in northern India. Maharaja Gulab Singh, founder of the principality of Jammu and Kashmir, began the construction of the Raghunath Mandir Complex in the crowded downtown Bazaar named after it, in 1835 AD and was completed by his son, Maharaja Ranbir Singh, in 1860 AD. It consists of a cluster of temples and is the largest temple complex in northern India. Its inner sanctums contain gigantic statues of deities and numerous 'lingams'. It contains representatives of almost the entire Hindu pantheon, , though the emphasis falls on the various incarnations of Lord Vishnu, which make it a rare site to behold. The complex houses a rich collection of ancient texts and manuscripts. The inner walls of the main temple are covered with gold sheet on three sides. There are many galleries with innumerable 'saligrams'. The surrounding temples are dedicated to various Hindu deities from the epic Ramayana.
Ranbireshwar Temple - Located on Shalimar Road near the New Secretariat and built by Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1883 AD, this historic temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has one central 'lingam' measuring seven-and-a-half ft in height, twelve Shiva 'lingams' of crystal measuring from 15" to 38" and galleries with thousands of others carved on stone slabs.
Peer Khoh - Peer Khoh is a cave shrine located on the Circular Road, 3.5 kms from the heart of the town. There is a naturally formed Shiva lingam in the cave which is quite mysterious as neither its antiquity nor its cause are known. Legend has it that the cave leads underground to many other cave shrines and even out of the country.
Peer Baba - Behind the Civil Airport is the famous durgah of the Muslim saint, Peer Budhan Ali Shah. On Thursdays, Hindu and Sikh devotees who visit this shrine, vastly outnumber the Muslim devotees.
Amar Mahal Palace-Amar Mahal, located in Jammu, is a palace depicting grandeur of an erstwhile era. It was constructed by a French architect for Raja Amar Singh, belonging to the Dogra dynasty. The architecture of this marvelous palace resembles the grand Chateaus of France. The beautiful palace of Amar Mahal is made of red sand stone which is a real visual treat. The scenic background of the place enhances the beauty of this palace manifolds. The stunning sight of River Tawi flowing below and the Shivaliks in the north will surely make your heart skip a beat or two. Dr. Karan Singh donated this palace to the charitable trust of Hari-Tara. At present, this trust is responsible for the maintenance of this palace. In fact, Amar Mahal Palace at present has been transformed into a museum. It also plays host to a well stocked library.
To reach Amar Mahal Palace, you can take auto rickshaws from anywhere in Jammu. These auto rickshaws will bring you to this place at a nominal cost. Minibuses also ply on this route. However, as they can not enter the palace premises, you will need to walk up to the palace.
Amar Mahal's Art Galleries play patron to Indian art and artists. Showcasing an ethnic environment along with a gentle touch of modern art setting, the galleries display a wide range of paintings created in different styles. On one hand, the Indian miniature paintings of Kangra style will fascinate you. On the other, the current art-collection including works of celebrated artists like M.F. Hussain, G. R. Santosh, J. Swaminathan, Bikash Battacharjee, Laxman Pai and Ram Kumar will also give you a glimpse of the contemporary culture of India. The exhibits also consist of family sketches of the monarchs of Jammu and Kashmir in addition to some gorgeous Pahari paintings.
Bahu Fort-Situated along the banks of river Tawi, the grand structure of Bahu Fort is possibly the oldest construction in Jammu. The magnificent waterfalls, green terraced gardens and blooming flowers inside this fort make it one of the most serene forts that you would have ever witnessed. Originally built by Raja Bahulochan about 3,000 years ago, this fort was later renovated and extended by Dogra rulers. 5 kms away from the central part of the city, Bahu Fort is positioned on the left bank of river Tawi.
The Bahu fort is quite renowned for Maha Kali temple, famous by the name of Bawey Wali Mata, positioned inside its premises. Bawey Wali Mata is the presiding Goddess of Jammu. The temple of Bawey Wali Mata was constructed in 1822, just after Maharaja Gulab Singh was coronated. It is often called the temple of Mahakali and the deity of this temple is regarded second only to Goddess Vaishno Devi if mystical power is taken into account. Every Sunday and Tuesday, a huge number of pilgrims come to this temple and take part in "Tawi flowing worship". In fact, this temple is one of the most esteemed temples of Goddess Kali in India.
Bagh e Bahu-Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, having river Tawi for company, Jammu is truly a haven for international as well as domestic tourists. According to legend, King Jamboo Lochan founded the city. It is believed that one day while hunting, the king witnessed an unusual sight after crossing Tawi river. He noticed a goat and a tiger drinking water side by side from the same pond. Impressed by this amazing incident, he chose to construct a city at that particular location. His vision was to make such a city where strong and weak people would live together peacefully sans any hostility towards each other.
Apart from many tourist attractions in and around the city, Jammu has also grown to become a significant centre of culture and art, especially the magnificent paintings of Pahari school. Amongst the many famous tourist spots, a must see in your itinerary should be the beautiful terraced garden of Bahu Fort, famous by the name of Bagh-e-Bahu.
To reach Bagh-e-Bahu in Jammu, people traveling via air may use the Jammu Airport which is 6 kms. away from the central part of the city. Indian Airlines runs daily flights from Srinagar and Delhi to Jammu.
The air services provide by some private airlines in this route may also be used. Tourists coming to Jammu by rail would do well to use the rail station of Jammu Tawi. Once you get inside the beautiful Bagh-e-Bahu, soak the natural beauty of the place. You may also get a feeling of being transported to the lost era of forts and kings. Don't resist it. Instead enjoy this once in a lifetime experience to the utmost.
Dogra Art Gallery - Dogra Art Gallery lures each and every visitor with its unique collection of paintings. Located in the Pink Hall of the Mubarak Mandi Palace Complex, this art museum is a rich repository that displays rare paintings possessing immense artistic value.
More than 800 paintings belonging to different schools of art have found their place in this exquisite collection at the Dogra Art Gallery. The various schools whose paintings have found a proud place in this treasure trove are Basohli, Jammu and Kangra. These charming miniature paintings are indeed priceless. They are not merely a treat to the eye but also provide valuable insight into the way of living of the people. A lot is revealed about them. It would be no exaggeration to say that each picture has a story to narrate for the insightful observer.
Other than paintings, there are various other objects in the Dogra Art Gallery as well. These exhibited artifacts are also very interesting and appealing. They include exquisite sculptures, terracotta figures and heads of terracotta figures that date back to the 16th century.
Mubarak Mandi Palace-Jammu, a beautiful city in the foothill of the Himalayas has its fair share of admirers. It is visited by many tourists throughout the year. Even though temples are its greatest draws, a sight seeing trip of the place includes several other historical sites like the Bahu Fort and the Mubarak Mandi Palace.
It would indeed be more precise to refer to this tourist destination as Mubarak Mandi Palace Complex for there are several buildings in this compound all surrounding a single courtyard. Formerly the residence of the erstwhile rulers of Jammu, a visit to the Mubarak Mandi Palace Complex is like talking a walk back in time. You suddenly get a taste of the kind of life led by the royals of yesteryears.
The oldest building of the Mubarak Mandi Palace Complex dates back to 1824. However the construction of all the buildings was rounded up about 150 years ago. One is sure to be impressed by the architectural skills that have been displayed by the artisans while constructing the buildings.
A unique blend of Rajasthani, Mughal and Baroque European styles, they are to be marveled at. Particularly striking is the Sheesh Mahal. It can be undisputedly rated as the most spectacular of all the structures within the Mubarak Mandi Palace Complex.
The setting is also quite admirable. The palace commands great views of the Tawi River and the city of Jammu. Presently housing government offices and courts, the halls and galleries of the Mubarak Mandi Palace were once the venue of official functions hosted by Dogra rulers.
The greatest attraction of the Mubarak Mandi Palace however remains the Pink Hall. It houses the Dogra Art Gallery. The gallery has an amazing collection of sculptures and paintings that are sure to leave any visitor startled.
What to eat
At the very outset let be known that the local cuisine of Jammu has more similarity with Punjabi cuisine than with Kashmiri cuisine. The similarity with Punjabi food comes in the form of daal thadka, daal makhani, pronthah (parotha - as pronounced by locals), aloo-nan, tandoori-kulcha, kardi-pakorda, malai kofta, matar-paneer, aloo-ghobi. These items can be found in almost all the hotels, restaurant and dhabas. Chhole-bature, chhole-purdi, aloo-tikki, dhai-bhala, paneer pakorda account for the major snacks! Chat lovers can also enjoy gol-gappe, kachaloo, kimb et al.
Besides all this, the local specialties include khatta meat, yakhni, chaamp, tava chicken, murgei da aachar, andei da aachar, seekh-tikka, tandoori murga, rajma (rajma of Bhadrwah), khoye wala kardam, mitha madra, ma da madra, talei-ma, tandoori rutti, kyeuur, khamira, aambal, shardai besides others.
The locals also love their cookies called khatai. Some of the other bakery related products include bakerkhani (this is different from Kashmiri bakery's bakerkhani), kachori (not to be mixed with Rajasthani kachordi, this one is oven baked), puff (a sugar coated bakerkhani), patties (stufffed bakerkhani and not like the patties used in a burger or what one finds in Maharashtra as ragrda-patties), cream rolls, pastries, stuffed kulcha (oven baked), mittha baand (sweet bun), baand (salted bun), double roti (bread).
Popular after-meal deserts are rasmalai, malaibaraf and kheer (rice cooked in milk with added sugar, some milk solids i.e. khoya and lots of dry fruits) in it. Another desert is karda (suji ka halwa). Even kaddu-halwa is one of the traditional deserts, but seen less often these days. Karda is an important part of all major worships and ceremonies. It is offered to gods/goddesses. Karda is liked more, if cooked in desi-ghee. Karda is mostly a part of a festive breakfast. Maal-purda, baalushahi, sakarware, kahajoor (not dates), jalebi, burfi, boondi ladoo, boondi, badana, khurmei etc. are other traditional Dogri sweets. Matthi is a deep fried thick maida roti, available at sweet shops. It is mostly salted. But at a few times it is sugar coated also. Ladoo and matthi have a great significance in festivals and marriages. Katlama and feni are two other salted snacks, specially prepared on Karva-chouth.
Rajma and basmati rice of Jammu are vary famous and are vegetarians delight and is almost a must have for Sunday lunch. There are a few eating joints famous exclusively for their rajma-chawal with loads of desi ghee.
Gushi/Guchhi - a kind of wild morel - is very popular in the region. This morel is not cultivated and raw Gushi can cost upto Rs. 5000 per Kg.
Kaladi has its origin from Udhampur District of Jammu region and is a sour cheese. It is mostly fried (doesn't need any oil/ghee for frying as is full of fats).
How to reach
Jammu and Kashmir by Air: The state has three airports, namely: Srinagar, Jammu and Leh. Major airlines like: Indian Airlines, Jet Airways operate regular flights to these airports.
How to reach Jammu and Kashmir by Road: The state has good road network connecting important neighbourhood cities Delhi, Amritsar Ambala, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Pathankot, Shimla and Manali.
How to reach Jammu and Kashmir by Rail: The most important railways station is Jammu Tawi, which is served many important trains and is so well connected with the rest of the country.