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Jammu

 The city of temples where the past still has a living presence. A land of grand ancient temples, and beautiful palaces. Nestled against the backdrop of the snow-capped Pir Panjal Mountains, the region of Jammu constitutes the southernmost unit of the state of Jammu & Kashmir. It forms part of the transition between the Himalayan range in the north and the dusty plains of Punjab in the south. Between these two extremities lie a series of scrub-covered hills, forested mountain ranges and river valleys, encompassing several microclimatic regions that extend from Kishtawar in the north-east to Akhnoor in the south-west, and the historic town of Poonch in the north-west to the borders of Kangra (H P) in the south-east. The Shivalik hills cut across the area from the east to the west while the rivers Ravi, Tawi and Chenab cut their way through the region.

TOP MOST TOURIST DESTINATIONS IN JAMMU

Situated 5 kms away from the city centre, Bahu Fort stands on a rock face on the left bank of the river Tawi. Perhaps the oldest fort and edifice in the city, it was constructed originally by Raja Bahulochan over 3,000 years ago. The existing fort was more recently improved upon and extended by the Dogra rulers. Inside, there is a temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. An extensive terraced garden, known as Bagh-e-Bahu, has been developed around the fort. Bahu Temple is situated inside the Bahu Fort, popularly called Bave Wali Mata Mandir. The Bahu Fort is a fortress representing the lavishness of the Dogra kings and the royal family that resided to rule the region. Pilgrims flock the temple on Tuesdays and Sundays, regarded auspicious. The fort, along with the Bahu temple, commands a panoramic view of the Jammu city. On the bypass road, behind the Bahu fort, the city forest surrounds the ancient Maha Maya Temple overlooking the River Tawi. A small garden surrounded by acres of woods furnishes a populated destination for tourists. Mahamaya is the local goddess of the Dogras, who lost her life 14 centuries ago combating foreign invaders. The present Bave Wali Mata mandir was built shortly after the coronation of Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1822. It is also known as the Mahakali Temple, the goddess considered second only to Mata Vaishno Devi in terms of mystical power. The Bahu Temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali, the reigning deity of the region of Jammu & Kashmir.
The subcontinent's largest underground aquarium in Jammu's Bagh-I-Bahu area is drawing a large number of tourists ever since it was opened to the public. Besides students, the aquarium has become a centre of attraction for tourists, giving them an opportunity to revel in the exotic aquatic world. The aquarium has attracted large number of tourists visiting the State. The aquarium-cum-awareness centre comprises of 24 aquarium caves including 13 small caves for holding freshwater fishes, two large caves for holding marine water fishes and nine medium sized aquariums for holding marine and fresh water fishes. It has state-of-the-art equipment, a public gallery, museum, laboratory and a multimedia conference hall. The entrance is designed in the shape of the mouth of a fish and the exit in the shape of a fish tail. The aquarium houses a museum where 400 varieties of freshwater and marine fish are on display.
This museum is housed in the Amar Mahal Palace, built in 1862 in a unique, French-chateau style of architecture. Located atop a hill overlooking the Tawi river, 4 rooms of the palace have been converted into art galleries and historic museums, depicting the royal history of Jammu. The star of this museum is the golden throne of Jammu, weighing a whopping 120 kgs, all pure gold. The art collection here is also quite impressive, with paintings of M F Hussain and Laxman Pai on display, among other famous Indian contemporary painters. Another interesting aspect is the Pahari Paintings displayed here, depicting tales from the Mahabharata and other folklore, especially those of Nal Damyanti. The museum also organises heritage walks around the complex to give detailed insights into the history of Jammu and surrounding cities.
The Mansar lake near Jammu city is one of the most famous adventure tourism destinations in India. Mansrover, is also called as Mansar. The Mansar lake is about 20 km from National Highway No. 1A. Road to Mansar Lake starts from just near Samba on National Highway No. 1A. The shortcut road from Mansrover or Samba to Udhampur by-pass the Jammu town. Mansar lake, with its length more than a mile and width half-a-mile, is a very attractive lake in the midst of lusting greeneries surrounded by forest-covered hills. It is considered as a very holy site known from mythological periods sharing the sanctity and legacy of Mansa Sarovar. It is a very popular base of tourists. A temple for a snake god, Sheshnag, is located on the banks of lake. It is believed that it is auspicious for newly wed couples to seek blessings of Sheshnag by performing three parikarma around the lake.
Akhnoor is a town of Jammu district in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, India. Located 28 km from Jammu, Akhnoor is located in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is an extremely beautiful town. The picturesque town is located on the banks of the Chenab River. The Akhnoor Tehsil is divided into two Revenue Blocks - Akhnoor & Khour. Akhnoor is also divided into three Education Zones of Akhnoor, Khour & Chowki Choura. Akhnoor has historical places to visit, such as the caves where the Pandavas stayed during their exile. Close to the town there is a Parashurama temple where Parashurama Jayanti is celebrated annually, on the same day in May as Akshaya Tritiya. The border is around 18 km away by road, but the aerial distance is only some 8 km. There is a beautiful park built on the bank of Chenab stretching from Jiya Pota Ghat to Parashurama Temple. It looks like a glittering necklace during the late evening and during night hours under beautiful lights on the bank.
Raghunath Temple, with seven shrines each with its own `Shikhara`, (shikhara, a Sanskrit word translating literally to `mountain peak`, refers to the rising tower in the Hindu temple architecture in north India) is one of the largest temple complexes of north India, located in Jammu city. Maharaja Gulab Singh and his son Maharaj Ranbir Singh built the temple, during the period of 1853-1860. The temple has many gods enshrined, but the presiding deity is Lord Ram, an `avatar` (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu. The temple came under public glare and intense scan, when in November 24, 2002, while the Hindus were performing puja in the complex, the `fidayeen` (suicide tactic used by militants) terrorist attack took place, resulting in at least 10 deaths, injuring several devotees. The gigantic Raghunath temple has seven lofty `shikharas`, where every shrine has its own shikhar. On the very entrance to the temple, a portrait of Maharana Ranbir Singh and an image of Lord Hanuman exaggerate the site. The centrals shrine is dedicated to Lord Ram / Raghunath, who is the commanding deity. Apart from the main shrine, the other shrines encompass various incarnations of Lord Vishnu. There is another remarkable shrine of Lord Surya (Sun God), which houses different forms of the Lord. Inside the temple there are other shrines that house colossal statues of the Hindu gods and goddesses. It is notable to mention here that gold sheets envelop the interior walls on three sides of the temple. It also has a gallery, where various `lingams` (phallic form of Lord Shiva) and `saligrams` are placed. Raghunath temple comprises almost all the images of the Hindu Pantheon, an unusual embodiment in temple architecture. Sermons and rituals of the temple include both morning and evening aarti. Glimpses of Mughal masonry can be visualised in the architectural splendor of Raghunath Temple. The carvings and arches being extraordinarily resplendent, grabs everyone`s attention. There is a library in the temple complex, housing rare Sanskrit books and manuscripts. People visit this temple in large numbers to pay their homage to the deity and seek blessings from the Lord.
This state is known for its many picturesque locations and landmarks, and travelling to Jammu and Kashmir. Patnitop is located in the Lower Himalayan Range close to the Pir Panjal range, 47 km from Udhampur and 112 km from Jammu.This famous hill resort is perched on a beautiful plateau, at an altitude of 2024 m across which the Jammu-Srinagar Highway passes. The towns of Kud and Batote are nearby. Batote is known as a place for quality rajma or the kidney bean.
The cave In Reasi district, there are many shrines such as Mata Vaishnu Devi Mata , Merhada Mata, Baba Dhansar, Siad Baba. Shiv Khori is one of them located in Ransoo a village in the Pouni block in Reasi district, which attracts lakhs of devotees annually. Shiv Khori is situated in between the hillocks about 140 km north of Jammu, 120 km from Udhampur and 80 km from Katra. Buses and light vehicles go up to Ransoo, the base camp of pilgrimage. People have to traverse about 3 km on foot on a track recently constructed by the Shiv Khori Shrine Board, Ransoo duly headed by the Divisional Commissioner Jammu as Chairman and District Development Commissioner, Reasi as vice chairman . Description the lingum Khori means cave (Guffa) and Shiv Khori thus denotes Shiva's cave. This natural cave is about 200 meters long, one meter wide and two to three metres high and contains a self-made lingam, which according to the people is unending. The first entrance of the cave is so wide that 300 devotees can be accommodated at a time. Its cavern is spacious to accommodate large number of people. The inner chamber of the cave is smaller. The passage from outer to the inner chamber is low and small, at one spot it divides itself into two parts. One of these is believed to have led to Kashmir where Swami Amarnath cave is located. It is now closed as some sadhus who dared to go ahead never returned. To reach the sanctum sanctorum, one has to stoop low, crawl or adjust his body sideward. Inside a naturally created image of Lord Shiva, about 4 metres high, is visible. The cave abounds with a number of other natural objects having resemblance with Goddess Parvati, Ganesha and Nandigan. The cave roof is etched with snake formations, the water trickles through these on Shiva Lingam. Pigeons are also seen here like Swami Amar Nath cave which presents good omens for pilgrimages
Mahamaya Temple is an important site dedicated to a local female freedom fighter, Mahamaya, belonging to the Dogra community. According to historians, about 14 centuries ago, Mahamaya sacrificed her life to save the region from the clutches of foreign invaders. This site is situated on the banks of the Tawi River, where from, tourists can easily sight the Bahu Fort. According to popular legend, about fourteen centuries ago, she opposed the foreign attackers and valiantly confronted them. People honor her sacrifice and eulogize her to this day. Her courageous resistance is now a part of the glorious myth of Jammu. And hence not surprisingly an entire temple is dedicated in her honor. Mahamaya Temple in Jammu is one such temple which is flocked by devotees who come to offer their prayers. However the Mahamaya Temple is not merely a place of worship, it is one of the foremost tourist attractions of Jammu. The Mahamaya Temple is focused on the 2nd-3rd century idols of the goddess Mahamaya. Setting eyes on these fabulous, one of a kind constructions, you are sure to feel the presence of Jammu’s great history. Visit today, and feel overcome with the feeling of community, religion and appreciation for these fabulous roots.
The locals often suggest tourists to visit this temple and they affirm that all their wishes are almost granted from the serpent God. The locals point to the millions of red ribbons tied in the temple premises showing their faith. Whose wishes are fulfilled often returns back and conducts a langar. Photography is not allowed inside the temple and many locals allege that those who managed to click pictures inside had terrible dreams and had to either delete them or surrender back if printed.