. Jammu, the winter capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, is also a pilgrim's haven. Often called the 'City of Temples', this place hosts some of the famous shrines of India. Jammu borders Ladakh in the east, Azad Kashmir in the west, Kashmir in the north and Himachal Pradesh in the south. Positioned amidst Daman Koh Plains in the south and the valley of Kashmir in the north, the Shiwalik Range constitutes a major part of Jammu. The Trikuta Hills, the Pir Panjal Range and the Tawi River basin contribute heavily to raise the beauty quotient of Jammu.
In its initial days, Jammu was named 'Jamboo' after Raja Jamboo Lochan, who founded the city. However, with passage of time, the original name got distorted and the city became popular by the name of Jammu. There are a lot of places that you can visit in Jammu. In fact, the tourist attractions of Jammu boast of some of the best places in and around the city of Jammu.
Amar Mahal Museum
. 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.
Along with wooden framework, the highlight of the first storey of the palace building is the French windows. These windows illustrate classical Greek architectural style in triangular projections fitted over ornate false columns.
Durbar Hall of the art gallery displays family portraits of the rulers of Jammu and Kashmir along with a collection of Pahari paintings. The main highlight of the museum is the throne of Maharaja Hari Singh made of 120 kg gold.
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 the delight of historians, the museum houses over twenty five thousand books on history, among which the volumes associated with Raja Amar Singh are noteworthy.
. 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.
. The Akhnoor Fort is one of the famous historic testimonies belonging to the early 19th century. The testament in the ancient town of Akhnoor is situated along with the River Chenab at a distance of 32 km from Jammu.
The ancient fort was built on the site belonging to the Harappan Civilisation. Along the fort, there is a two-storeyed palace which has decorated arches and murals.
Mubarak Mandi Palace
. Mubarak Mandi Complex is among the chief sites of historic significance, which was also the royal residence of Dogra rulers during the days of yore. The 150 years old complex features 76 government offices and courts.
At the complex, palaces are built as a group of buildings around the courtyard. Successive Dogra rulers extended the complex and used the building as the residences of the royal Dogra families. At present, there are halls and galleries in the complex that are used for official and public events along with housing government offices and courts.
The oldest testimony of the complex dates back to 1824. The architecture and artwork belonging to Mughal and Rajasthani style along with 17th century European style attract tourists from around the world. Some of the chief attractions of the complex are the Sheesh Mahal, Royal Secretariat and Dogra Art Gallery, the erstwhile Pink Hall.
Rani Charak Mahal
. Rani Charak Mahal is one of the famous historic testimonies, located on the banks of the River Tawi. A part of the Mubarak Mandi Complex, the ancient monument houses several government offices in its premises. Built of red stone, the mahal was constructed over 150 years ago.
The monument is connected with treasury house, also known as Toshakhana of the Mubarak Mandi Palace. Arches and columns illustrate the architectural style predominant during that era. There are several valuables housed in the palace, which include artefacts like antique idols, a golden throne, palanquins and utensils.
Dogra Art Museum
. 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.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.
Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary
. Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary is a popular site among wildlife enthusiasts that houses various species of pheasants. The reserve was established in an area of thick forests along with wildlife and is situated 28 km from Jammu.
A popular dwelling of pheasants, the sanctuary is home for avifauna species that include Indian mynah, red junglefowl, cheer pheasant, blue rock pigeon, Indian peafowl and chakor.
The wildlife sanctuary is spread over an area of 34 sq km, providing refuge to various fauna. Leopard, wild boar, Rhesus monkey, bharal and grey langur are some of the species of the reserve.
Bagh e Bahu
. Bagh-e-Bahu is one of the popular sightseeing attractions of Jammu located along the ancient fort of Bahu. The beautiful garden is laid identical to Mughal Garden and is situated on the embankment of Tawi River.
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.The garden is surrounded by acres of woods, which give a beautiful view of the city. It has a small cafeteria on one of the corners.
. Sanasar is among the major attractions, which is located at a distance of 19 km from Patnitop. The site at an altitude of 2,079 metres above sea level provides a peaceful environment. The site is also known as mini Gulmarg and is surrounded by huge conifers.
It is built in a cup-shaped meadow and is one of the secluded regions of the country. Owing to the confluence of hilly terrain and plains, the site is ideal for paragliding, trekking and skiing, horse riding, hot air ballooning and camping. The Nag Temple, Hidden Creek and Waterfalls in the surroundings can also be visited.
. Shiv Khori is one of the important cave shrines of Jammu, which is famous for the natural formation of a shivalinga. The 150 metres long shrine is among the most respected cave shrines of Lord Shiva in Jammu.
The major highlight of the shrine is the 4 feet svayambhu lingam. The revered figurine constantly baths in a milky lime fluid dripping from the ceiling. There are several natural impressions and images of Hindu deities on the cave walls.
. Mansar Lake is one of the popular attractions of Jammu, which is surrounded by forest covered hills. On the eastern bank of Mansar Lake, there is the Sheshnag Temple housing a figure of a snake with six heads. The water body is associated with a mythological legend, therefore is frequented by tourists and devotees alike.
Boating facilities are rendered at the site by the Tourism Department. Along with recreational facilities, the rich flora and fauna draws the attention of tourists. There is a cemented path around the water body along with decks for sighting birds, turtles and fish.The wildlife sanctuary at the site provides shelter to spotted deer and neelgai along with water birds such as cranes and ducks. Tourists can also explore the traditional life style of Gujjar and Backarwal communities in the surrounding areas. These communities wear ethnic costumes and reside in open ???kullhas???.Mansar Lake can be reached by heading on National Highway 1A.
. Jammu is popularly referred to as the City of Temples and justifiably so. Innumerous temples are found in various parts of the city but what makes the Raghunath Temple so special is its unique location right in the heart of the city. Maharaja Gulab Singh, the founder of the kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir is credited with the beginning of construction activities of this temple way back in 1835 A.D. His son and successor Maharaja Ranbir Singh completed the task undertaken by his father. Finally in 1860, after 25 years, the doors of the temple were opened to the public for worship.
Characterized by seven shrines that have gorgeous gold plated interiors, the Raghunath Temple is dedicated to Lord Rama. Even though there are several galleries with lakhs of Saligrams, the main shrine of the Raghunath Temple in Jammu houses an image of Lord Rama. Sheets of gold on three sides of this main shrine give it a very stunning look. Lord Rama, Vishnu's eighth incarnation is the patron deity of the Dogras and hence a large number of devotees flock the temple to offer their prayers to this lord.
. The Mahamaya Temple is one of the popular sites in the region, which is dedicated to a regional female protagonist. As per historians, Mahamaya fought bravely against foreign invaders and achieved martyrdom around 14 centuries ago. This temple in situated on the banks of River Tawi opposite to the Bahu Fort.
One of the distinctive characteristic of the Mahamaya Temple is that its presiding deity is not any famous God of the Hindu Pantheon but Mahamaya, a Dogra heroine. The temple is dedicated to this courageous lady who gave up her life fighting for her motherland.
Peer Kho Cave Temple
. Amongst the large number of temples that are scattered around various parts of the Jammu, an important one is the Peer Kho Temple. Located at a distance of about 3.5 km from the center of the city, the exact positioning of the Peer Kho Temple is in a cave on Circular Road. It is for this reason that it is popularly referred to as the Peer Kho Cave Temple as well. Igneous rocks and acacia forests serve as the backdrop to this Cave Temple.
Even though there are several popular legends that are linked to the temple, the antiquity of the Peer Kho Temple cannot yet be dated with certainity. Some consider it to be the oldest historic place in the Shivalik Region. The story even goes that Jamvant, the bear God from the famous epic Ramayana meditated in this temple. This is why it is also known as the Jamawant Cave. We can only rely on local legends and mythical stories if we want to trace the history of Peer Kho Temple.
Dargah Garib Shah
. Dargah Garib Shah is one of the holy centres in the region situated at Samba. The ancient shrine is dedicated to the spiritual leader Garib Shah, who preached doctrines of humanity to his disciplines. Dargah Garib Shah draws devotees from different religious backgrounds round the year.
According to belief, homage at the sanctum fills life with happiness. This dargah is maintained by the Hindu community residing nearby.
. There are several tourist attractions in Jammu and the Shrine of Peer Baba is a significant one amongst them. A visit to the shrine gives the visitors a valuable insight into the secular character of the nation. India takes pride in being a secular nation where people belonging to different religions co exist in unison and harmony. This secular spirit is well manifested in the Shrine of Peer Baba.
In spite of being the Dargah of a Muslim saint, Hindus and Sikh devotees who flock this religious place particularly on Thursdays are far greater in number than the Muslim followers. They come to seek the blessings of Peer Budhan Ali Shah who is popularly known as Peer Baba.
. Ranbireshwar Temple is one of the popular religious centres of the destination, which was constructed in 1883 by Maharaja Ranbir Singh. The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva comprises two halls decorated with the images of Ganesha and Kartikeya. There are several shivalingas in the shrine along with a Nandi Bull.
The temple houses a central shivalinga measuring 7.5 feet in height along with twelve small crystal shivalingas measuring 15 cm. Ranbireshwar Temple is situated on Shalimar Road close to the New Secretariat, which is connected by various public transportation modes.
. Surinsar Lake is located at a distance of 24 km from Jammu and is linked with Mansar. The beautiful lake is situated in the midst of thick forests with hilly terrains in the backdrop.
The lotus flower blossoms are the major attractions of the water body. As per myths, legendary warrior Arjuna, of Mahabharata, shot an arrow to the Mansar land, which pierced the earth at a site known as Surinsar.
. Patnitops Is the most popular tourist spot of Jammu region. Located 112 kms from Jammu this famous hill resort is perched on a beautiful plateau, at an altitude of 2024 metres across which the Jammu-Srinagar Highway passes. It has lush green meadow and pine trees which resembles with Gulmarg. Patnitop offers beautiful picnic spots, peaceful walks and breathtaking views of the mountains cape of the Chenab basin. In winter, it is covered with a white carpet of snow and its slopes have been successfully experimented for skiing. Skiing courses are conducted at Patnitop in the months of January and February. During winter months there are introductory courses for tourists / beginners at gentle gradient slopes of Patnitop. At Madhatop (5/6 Kms from Patni top on Sanasar Road) excellent possibilities for all kind of skiing exist. Skiing equipments and wooden sledges are available on hire at Patnitop and Sanasar. For beginners Instructors are also available. Accommodation is also available at Patnitop Hotels.