Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu
Jammu City - When Nature compliments Human Work
Jammu, the second largest city of Jammu and Kashmir is also called
'The City of Temples'. Situated on the banks of Tawi River and on the
foot of Shivaliks, Jammu is located at an altitude of 305 m above sea
level. Its history dates back to 9th century and was built by Raja
Jambu Lochan. One day when he was hunting in the woods, he saw the
most astonishing and the most inspiring sight of his life. He saw a
tiger and a lamb drinking water from the same spot by the banks of
river Tawi. At that moment, he decided that he would build a city
where all kinds of people will live together with peace and harmony.
The city was named Jambu, but later came to be known as Jammu. The
city is the southern most part of the state. The temperature in the
city during the winters is quite pleasant, whereas the summer capital
Srinagar becomes extremely cold, due to which the every winter the
capital was shifted to Jammu, thus making it the winter Capital of the
state. The city is famous for the numerous temples that dot the face
of the land, specially the biggest temple complex in north India,
Raghunath Temple and the holiest shrine of Vaishno Devi.
Jammu City experiences a sub tropical climate. The summer days are hot and dry whereas in winters, the temperature is quite pleasant. Jammu serves as a home to many communities like Dogras, Gujjars, Gaddis and Bakkarwals. The languages spoken here are Dagri, Hindi and Urdu. The city has grown leaps and bounds in terms of development. The once sedate land of Jammu is now one of the most bustling cities of the state. And as far as shopping is concerned, the city is a real treat. What you will get elsewhere in the state, here you will get it more and better. The markets here give you best feel of new and old together. The decade old shops here stand wall to wall with the trendiest of international showrooms. The Shahtoosh and Pashmina shawls with the exceptional embroidery work are the best buy. The most preferred shopping places in the city are Vir Marg, Hari Market and Raghunath Bazaar.
Attractions of Jammu - Amazement Is Just the Start
Unlike other cities of J & K, Jammu is not as famous for its natural beauty as it is for its man made marvels. You will find the most amazing temples, forts and palaces in the city. Jammu is also considered the holiest city of north India due to the presence of Vaishno Devi Temple which beckons pilgrims from all over the world.
The most holiest Vaishno Devi Temple is situated on the Trikuta Mountains at an altitude of 5200 m above sea level. The temple is around 62 km away from main Jammu City. One is required to walk to the shrine from Katra, which is around 14 km away. Some pilgrims take this walk bare foot, which makes the journey really tough. Vaishno Devi is an incarnation of the Hindu goddess Durga who emerged on earth to put an end to the terrors inflicted by demons. The Goddess is believed to be residing inside the cave. To enter the shrine you need to carry a special pass with you that you can acquire from Katra Bus stand.
Raghunath Temple is the biggest temple complex in north India and is the most important shrine in entire Jammu. Situated right in the heart of Jammu City, the temple witnesses a lot of tourist from all over India. The temple, whose construction was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh in the year 1835, was completed by his son Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1860 A.D. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rama. There are seven more shrines in the temple, which are dedicated to different gods and goddesses from the Epic Ramayana. The interiors of these shrines are completely gold plated. If you come to this temple in early morning or late evening, you can attend the daily prayers (aarti) that take place. Also find the library inside the premises which is full of rare manuscripts.
Bahu Forts and Gardens
The mighty Bahu fort has history of more than 3000 years behind it. The Fort was built by Raja Bhaulochan. The foundations of the forts were re-strengthened by Dogra rulers. Do not forget to pay a visit to the Temple of Goddess Kali and offer your prayers there. The fort is also famous for the exquisitely cut out gardens that you will find on all sides of the fort. Reaching the fort is not a problem at all as it is just 5 km away from the main city center.
Amar Mahal Palace
Amar Mahal Palace is stunning structure made up of red stones. This palace was once the abode of famous Raja Amar Singh but now is used as a museum housing famous paintings and portraits of rulers of Jammu and Kashmir. You will also find the renowned painting Nal Damayanti here. Also, get the opportunity to gaze on the splendid golden throne and a 120-kg pure gold sofa. It also has the city's finest library of antique books and paintings. The exterior beauty of this French Chateau type palace is perfectly complimented by the surrounding Shivaliks and Tawi River.
Where To Stay
Jammu is among the most important cities of Jammu and Kashmir in context with tourist influx. So to accommodate all kinds of travelers and to cater to their different needs, Jammu has many luxury and budget hotels. Most of these hotels are situated in and around the city center. The best in the city are Hotel Jammu Ashok- ITDC Hotel and Asia Jammu- Tawi hotel.
Jammu city has its own airport which is just 6 km away from the city center. Indian Airlines has a daily flight operating to Jammu from Delhi.
Jammu Tawi is the most important rail-head in Jammu and Kashmir which receives trains from all major cities and towns of India.
Just like train service, road connection of Jammu is also very good with all other cities of J & K and all states of India. State transport buses of all states have their buses plying to Jammu.
Jammu has excellent facilities when it comes to moving around in the city. Many private players have their normal and luxury coaches running inside the city at a good frequency. You can even hire a taxi or an auto rickshaw, which also turn out to be good options.