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Tourist Places in Jammu

Raghunath Temple Jammu

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

Bahu Fort 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.

Mubarak Mandi Palace

Mubarak Mandi is a Palace in Jammu, India. The palace was the royal residence of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir from the Dogra dynasty. It was their main seat till 1925 when Maharaja Hari Singh moved to the Hari Niwas Palace in the northern part of Jammu.

The palace is built in a manner that resembles both Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The Pink Hall houses the Dogra Art Museum with miniature paintings of the various Hill Schools of Kangra, Jammu and Basholi. It also has a gold painted bow and arrow of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The pink hall owes its name to the pink plastered walls of the palace section

Amar Mahal Jammu

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

Akhnoor Fort

The Akhnoor fort which lies towards east of the town, on the bank of the Chenab river holds great significance and is extremely important for reconstruction of the past history. The fort was built by Raja Alam Singh in 1802. Work on the fort, actually began in 1762 at the behest of Raja Tegh Singh and was completed by his son Raja Alam Singh in 1802. This two-storeyed fort which is perched on a cliff overlooking river Chenab is under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) since 1982 and has been declared a national monument protected under the Monument Act, 1958. There are two-storeyed watch-towers at corners. The fort also has an access through the river side. This fort, where excavation is still in progress in a phased manner, is perched upon an ancient site depicting three periods of history. The first period is represented by the Harappan red and grey earthenware that include jars, beakers and goblets. The second period is marked by the presence of early historic pottery and the third period is represented by Kushana objects and an impressive wall of rubble diaper masonry flanked on both sides by a 3-metre wide street.

Just as Akhnoor finds a place of pride in history for its antiquity and historical importance, the Jia Pota Ghat on the right bank of Chandrabhaga i.e. today’s Chenab at Akhnoor is the crowning glory of this ancient town. Any old timer of Akhnoor will reveal that Jia Pota Ghat is one of many ghats situated on the right bank of Chenab, the other being Pehra, Gurgi Pattan and Harmandar (named after Hari Mandir) situated downstream.

Interestingly the Jia Pota Ghat got its name from the Jia Pota tree whose botanical name is Putranjiva roxburghii of Euphorbiaceae family under whose shade the Raj Tilak ceremony of Maharaja Gulab Singh took place. The coronation at the ghat would always remain etched in the collective psyche of the people of this state and more particularly the Dogras as the first concrete step towards the foundation of the modern state of Jammu and Kashmir.

It was on 17th of June 1822 A.D. that the magnanimous Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, the most powerful king in the realm of Hindustan coronated Gulab Singh as Raja of Jammu region at Jia Pota in the backdrop of Akhnoor fort and lapped by the icy waves of Chenab. To commemorate the coronation day of Maharaja Gulab Singh, a commemorative tablet has been installed at the ghat depicting the scene of Raj Tilak. It is believed that original tree got uprooted and ultimately washed away in the floods of 1957. However solace can be sought in the fact that a few specimen of healthy Jia Pota trees are flourishing in the adjoining Jiya Pota Park which was developed in 1999.

The importance of the place lies in the fact that Jia Pota Ghat is probably witness to the march of civilization right from the existence of early man. It is in the vicinity of a Neolithic site. Moreover historians consider Akhnoor as the northernmost point of Indus Valley civilization. Just imagine Harappans navigating river Chenab and using river front at Jia Pota to reach their flourishing settlement at Manda which is presently inside the Akhnoor fort


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