Jammu & Kashmir
Jammu is popularly known as the “City of Temples”. In the foothills of the Himalayas, with the picturesque river Tawi flowing alongside. Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state of the Indian union consists of three divisions -Jammu, Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. It is located across six major mountain ranges, and spread over an area of 2,22,236 sq. kms, Jammu & Kashmir is India’s northern most state bordered by Pakistan and China’s Tibetan Plateau. Jammu the state having two capitals one is winter capital – Jammu & Kashmir and another is summer capital Srinagar. Jammu is situated on the Shivalik Range, overlooking the northern plains. The city was originally founded by Raja Jamboo Lochan who lived in 14th century BC. According to legend, Raja Jamboo Lochan had once gone out for hunting when he saw a tiger and a goat drinking water from one and the same pond. This strange phenomenon impressed him and he decided to build a city at this site so that the strong and weak could live together in peace and mutual tolerance. He founded the city by his own name “Jamboo” but with the passage of time and due to its frequent use, the pronunciation got slightly distorted and the city came to be known as ‘Jammu’.
The state is almost mountainous with stretches of valleys and some mountain lakes. Jammu and Kashmir has been famous for its natural beauty. The state offers a rich diversity of landscapes, religions, and people. The Kashmir valley is a mosaic of forests, waterways and covered with snow clad mountains. The state has some of the best tourist spots in the entire country. Tourists from not only India but also the world over come to enjoy the scenic beauty of the state. That is why the tourism industry has greatly benefited the state economy. Jammu district is famous for its holy shrine of Mata Vaishnodeviji near Katra which is visited by millions of Hindus every year. The main site of interest situated in the heart of the city is the Amar Mahal, once the residence of the Maharajas and today a museum with artifacts relating to the region’s art and culture. The Raghunath Temple, Bawey Ali Mati and the Pir Khao caves as well as innumerable crenellated forts and ancient places and shopping eEpkriuas convertq this stateiftG a treau`e tpo0eo@ ehiahtsforturiqta.OpherwNrphvisatanc `lacesif pha $i1trict includeKud, Patnatop, Sana#ar, Batote, Sudh Mahadev, Gauri Kund, Mantalai, Mansar Lake, Surinsar Lake, Shiv Khori, Dera Baba Banda, Purmandal, Krimchi, Jajjar Kotli, Akhnoor and Baba Dhansar. Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Srinagar, Leh, and Ladakh are other major tourist cities of this state. Srinagar is famous for its lakes and houseboats while Kashmir, known for its scenic natural beauty and rich cuisine is quite popular among tourists. Kashmir valley is rightly said to be nature’s grand finale of beauty. Masterpiece of God on this earth’s.
The tourist attractions of Jammu and Kashmir consist of some of the finest places in and around the valley. It is one of the most charming and scenic places in India. Sightseeing in Kashmir is mainly about appreciating the beauty of the nature. Glittering glaciers, snow covered mountains and picturesque hill stations all add to the tourist appeal of Kashmir. As you take a trip to the Jammu and Kashmir valley you will get to know various untouched facets of the wonderful “Paradise on Earth”. Have a look at some of the popular tourist spots in the Jammu and Kashmir valley.
Ranbireshwar TempleIt is the biggest Shiva temple in North India. This temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was built by Maharaja Rajbir Singh in 1883. It is located on the Shalimar Road near the New Secretariat. It is constructed by the Dogra rulers. Inside the temple you can see a 7.5 m high Black Stone Shiva lingam surrounded by 12 more lingams of different sizes around 15cm to 38 cm. In two big halls, there are 1.25 Lakh “Bona Lingam” brought from Narmadda and huge images of Ganesha, Kartikeya and Nandi Bull.
This temple is main attraction of the Jammu city. This temple dedicated to Lord Rama is outstanding and unique in Northern India. It is situated in the heart of the city and surrounded by a group of other temples. It is built by Maharaja Gulab Singh who established the kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir initiated the intricate work on the temple in 1835, which was completed in 1860 by his son, Maharaja Ranbir Singh. It is located behind the Kullu Raja’s Rupi Palace. The temple has seven shrines, with god-plated interiors. The most important houses the Dogra’s patron deity, Rama, Vishnu’s eighth incarnation. The inner walls of the main temple are covered with gold sheet on three sides. There are many galleries with lakhs of ‘Saligrams’. The surrounding Temples are dedicated to various Gods and Goddesses connected with the epic Ramayana. The arches and architectural details show Mughal influence.
Amar Mahal Palace
Amar Mahal PalaceAmar Mahal Museum is one of the most visited Jammu and Kashmir tourist spots. It stands amidst a gorgeous setting in a part of Jammu. There is beautiful view of the Shivaliks (also spelt as Shiwaliks) at the north and the River Tawi flows down below adding to the grandeur. Amar Palace, once the residence of the Maharajas is a grand palace with a magnificent look. This palace has now been turned to a museum, which is maintained and taken care of by the Hari-Tara Charitable Trust. It is popularly known as the Amar Mahal Palace Museum. The exhibits include Pahari paintings, family portraits of the rulers of Jammu and Kashmir, and a library. The museum building itself, a former palace designed like a French Chateau, is of architectural interest. Amar Mahal is a palace famous for its elegant structure made of red sand stone. The museum has a golden throne made of 120kg pure gold sofa and has golden lions embedded into it. The throne is placed in a hexagonal room.
Peer Baba Shrine
Peer Baba ShrineDurgah of Peer Budhan Ali Shah, popularly known as Peer Baba is a shrine visited by people of all faiths and religions, having a belief that he protects all from mishaps and evil spirits. It is believed that Peer Baba (who was a friend of Guru Gobind Singh) had lived his entire life on milk that helped him to live for five hundred years. On Thursdays, Hindu and Sikh devotees vastly outnumber their Muslim brethren at this shrine; such is the faith of the people in Peer Baba. Most tourists visit the shrine when they come to Jammu.
Shrine of Peer Mitha
Peer Mitha is a famous Muslim shrine located in Jammu city. ‘Mitha’ refers to sweet; Peer Mitha is so called because he would accept nothing more than a pinch of sugar from his devotees. The shrine is visited by numerous people during Thursday.
Excursion to Jammu
Bahu Fort / Temple
Bahu Fort / TempleThis is 5 km. from Jammu city situated on the opposite bank of Tawi River, on an upland plateau. This is the oldest fort and edifice in the city. Constructed originally by Raja Bahulochan over 3,000 years ago, the existing Fort was more recently improved and built by Dogra rulers. There is a temple dedicated to Goddess Kali inside the fort popularly known as Bave wali Mata.The fort complex is decorated with terraced gardens, waterfalls and flowers which make it favourite picnic spot of the city folk. Recently, a garden known as Bagh-e-Bahu has been developed in side the fort complex to attract more visitors.
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75 kms. from Katra the cave shrine is reached after a trek of 3 kms. along a scenic route. Devotees enter the narrow cave after a bit of crawling and bending while enchanting Har Har Mahadev. Inside the cave, it is virtual storehouse of wealth for devotees complete with natural Shivling and other deities making for a spiritual experience coupled with adventure and marvel.
The shrine has great historical significance with the origin of the state of Jammu & Kashmir. It is about 177 kms from Jammu and 29 km from Rajouri town is the shrine of Shahdra Sharief, a popular Muslim shrine visited by thousands of visitors every day. History depicts that, in 1820 AD Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab sent his army General Gulab Singh to defeat an adversary. Out of the 150 companies of troops taken on this expedition, only 25 soldiers could stay with the General. At last he camped at Thanna-Mandi and went to call on a local recluse named Baba Ghulam Shah ‘Badshah’, who lived in the nearby locality of Shahdara and was known as a wise and pious person. When Gulab Singh became the king of Jammu and Kashmir according to the prophecy of the saint, he built a shrine dedicated to the saint to pay homage. It is very much inspiring that a Muslim shrine was built by a Hindu King. Thousands of visitors irrespective of caste, creed and religion visit the shrine everyday in deep faith and with great devotion. It is a strong belief that Baba fulfills the desire of all devotees.
Shankaracharya Temple – Srinagar
Shankaracharya Temple – SrinagarThe sacred temple of Shankaracharya lies at the top of the hills known as Takht-I-Sulaiman. It is located at 1100 ft. above surface level of the main city on the Shankaracharya hill. It is believed that philosopher Shankaracharya had stayed at this place while visiting to Kashmir to spread Sanatan Dharma. The Shiva temple, as Kalhana believes, was constructed by Raja Gopadatya in 371 B.C. and, as such, is the oldest shrine in Kashmir, though it is not certain if the temple exists in the same form as it had been built more than two thousands years ago. Dogra ruler, Maharaja Gulab Singh, constructed stone stairs up to the temple. In 1925, the temple was electrified. The temple holds a lot of importance in religious as well as architectural context. The temple is built up of specially smoothened rocks which have been set at the peak of the hill with unimaginable precision. It has a high octagonal base which can be approached by climbing a number of steps with side walls that once bore inscriptions; the main surviving shrine consists of a circular cell. From the height at which this temple is located, you can view the entire beauty of Srinagar city.
It is situated at a distance of 125 kilometers from the city of Jammu at an altitude of 1560 meters. The resort is placed on the National Highway and is easily accessible from the major cities of Jammu and Kashmir. Close to the resort lies the Chenab Gorge and the Patnitop Mountain Range. The region is covered with coniferous forests. Trekking is possible to the mountains of Patnitop and Sanasar. The resort of Batote provides a fascinating view of the gorgeous Chenab Gorge and the forest covered Patnitop Mountain Range.
Krimchi has three old temples of Jammu, can be approached by taking a short diversion of about 20 kms along a side road that branches off from the National Highway 1-A, about 8 kms short of Udhampur. The structural design of the temple resembles with that of Greek (Hellenic) architecture. Some distance further ahead in the hills is Pancheri, a beautiful hill resort.
Mubarak Mandi Palace
Mubarak Mandi PalaceMubarak Mandi Palace, a heritage palace at Mubarak Mandi is one of the stunning beauties of Jammu city. It is situated in the walled city complex. The buildings were used by the erstwhile rulers of Jammu & Kashmir and today used for government offices and court. It has a heritage of 150 years to be proud of. The architecture of this palace has a unique blend of Rajasthani, Mughal and even Gothic styles. There are about eight hundred paintings stored in this museum. Some important exhibits in the museum include the gold painted bow and arrow of Mughal Emperor Shahjahan and some valuable manuscripts. Timings of Museum in winter – 10:30 am till 04:30 pm and in summer – 08:00 am till 01:30 pm. It is closed on Mondays.
Purmandal temple complex is located on the banks of Gupt Ganga (River Devak) and is about 40 kms from Jammu, just off the National Highway 1A leading towards Pathankot. Popularly known as “Chhota Kashi- Mini Varanasi”. Its main temple is dedicated to ‘Umapati’, while the other temples worship Lord Shiva. These ancient temples are associated with the Shaivite Hindus of the Kashmir Valley. Temple complex here was made by Maharaja Gulab Singh Ji in 1843. The site can be easily reached by bus running regularly from Jammu. For accommodation, you can avail pilgrim ‘sarais’.
Sudh MahadevAbout 120 kms from Jammu and close to Patnitop, is the temple of Sudh Mahadev dedicated to Lord Shiva. Pilgrims visit the shrine on the full moon night of ‘sawan’ (July-August) to worship the ‘Trishul’ (trident) and a mace, which are said to have belonged, to Bheem one of the five legendary Pandava brothers. Nearby attractions include Gourikund and Mantalai, where Parvati meditated and Shi-PavatI coT mar)eD. THe Dv!k sTra) or(gHnts aT Rudh MahAdev ajd d s!p0e rB mnG h BoCkS a e BiHoMePres dAwlsTrEaM,apopUlArpici# RpFt Acommdat oL As poi`e by the turiqm depArTmEnT WiTh rEa3onable prices.
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PatnitopCovered by thickly wooded forests this famous hill resort is perched on a beautiful plateau, at an altitude of 2024 metres across which the Jammu-Srinagar Highway 1A passes at the distance of 112 ks. from Jammu. Patnitop offers beautiful picnic spots, peaceful walks and breathtaking views of the mountainscape of the Chenab basin and the Pir Panjal range further apart. In winter, the resort is generally covered with a thick mantle of snow thus providing opportunities for various snow games. Its green meadows and ice-cold freshwater spring, the area has been developed to a 6-hole golf course, which is being expanded to 9-holes. Adventure tourists can experience trekking, paragliding and basic skiing while others can enjoy camping and walking. It is the best developed tourist spot of Jammu and is second to none in its natural charm, climate, pine forests and lush green cover.
106 kms from Jammu, this popular resort is situated on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, at an altitude of 1738 metres. An ideal picnic spot this place has a bracing climate. Heavy woolens are required in winters while as light/medium clothing is required in summers. It is a very well developed hill station in Udhampur District. It also experiences heavy rainfall in rainy season. Do not forget to have and take home Patisa sweet.
119 kms. from Jammu and only 17 kms. from Patnitop, Sanasar is cup shaped meadow surrounded by gigantic conifers. A place for a quiet holiday, the meadow has now been developed as a golf course. It also provides opportunities for para-gliding.
ZanskarThe valley is situated between the Great Himalayan Range and the Zanskar mountains, the three arms radiating star-like towards the west, north and south from a wide central expanse. Here the Zanskar River comes into being by the confluence of its two Himalayan tributaries, the Stod/Doda and the Lingti-Tsarap Rivers. About 20 kms. South of Rangdum stands the Pazila watershed across which lies Zanskar, the most isolated of all the Trans Himalayan Valleys. The Panzila Top (4401 m) is the picturesque tableland adorned with two small alpine lakes and surrounded by snow covered peaks. A long and winding river of ice and snow, “Drang-Drung” is perhaps the largest glacier in Ladakh, outside the Siachen formation.
KargilKargil is a district of Jammu & Kashmir bounded by Baramullah, Srinagar and Doda Districts in the South-West, Leh District in the East, Himachal Pradesh in the South and Pakistan in the North-West. Kargil is strategically located midway between Srinagar (204 Kms) and Leh, (234 kms) on the Srinagar-Leh highway and is the second largest urban centre of Ladakh region. Before partition of India, it was an important trading centre for the Central-Asian merchants due to its unique equidistant location (about 200-230 kms.) from Srinagar, Leh and Skardo. Kargil derives its name from two words Khar means castle and rkil means centre thus a place between castles as it lies between many kingdoms. The majority of the population is the Shia Muslims, an Islamic sect that regards Muhammad’s cousin Ali and his successors as the true imams. Kargil town serves as a base for expeditions to the Suru Valley and Zanskar valley.
It is situated at a distance of 42 kilometers from the city of Jammu, the Sruinsar Lake is known for the picturesque beauty of its surroundings. The crystal water of the lake is bound on all sides by the rising magnificent hills thick in forest cover. The lake is well connected by bus routes from the city of Jammu from where the tourists can commute to the Sruinsar Lake. The Sruinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary is bound on both sides by the two lakes. The wildlife sanctuary is rich in the mountainous flora and fauna and can be visited from the Sruinsar Lake. The sanctuary is home to fifteen varied species of birds and eight species of animals. The thick growth of the forest comprises of trees, shrubs and plants. The undisturbed beauty of nature in the hills around the Sruinsar Lake and the tranquility of the lake itself entice tourists to frequently visit the lake. The lake is an important itinerary of the Jammu and Kashmir popular tourist spots.
Mansar LakeMansa Lake attracts large number of visitors, located at a distance of 62 kilometers from the city of Jammu and 40 kilometers from the Udhampur city. A beautiful natural lake is passing through the forest-covered hills. It’s also popular for the legend and holiness of Lake Mansarover. There are many historical temples around the lake. It is considered auspicious for newly weds taking three parikarma around the lake to seek the blessing of sheshnag. Mansar is also famous for boating and number of water animals and birds are also increasing its beauty. The lake also hosts the cultural festival of the Dogra people in the month of May. The wrestlers of the region gather in the premises of the lake to participate in the Chhing festival that is held here. The lake makes a frequently visited Jammu and Kashmir a popular tourist spot.
Akhnoor is one of the most beautiful towns of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The historic town of Akhnoor is located just 32 kms to the west of Jammu and situated on the banks of river Chejab. The Chenab RiRer flows gracefully through this town and maets the plain here. ThiS beautiFul Town is also oF much historical ImPoRtAnce PhEre are some rUins of the Indus Va,ley Civilization In the tmwN /f Akhnomr along the rivr Chenab. During the Mugal period this town used to fall in the route to Srinagar. When Jahangir died on his way to Kashmir the Mugal emperor was temporarily buried in Chingas. Another legendary love story associated with the town is of Soni-Mahiwal. The Amar Mahal Palacd Museum is one of the major tourist attractions of this place. Reaching Akhnoor is not a problem; the city is well connected to other important cities of the state. It is easily approachable from the rail and air station of Jammu.
One of the best picnic spots in Jammu region is Jajjar Kotli, built on the banks of Jajjar rivulet. It is 35 km. away from Jammu. This is one of the most favored picnic spots of the state. This tourist complex is located on the National Highway that leads towards the city of Srinagar, the summer capital of the state. The main attraction of this beautiful tourist place is the clear and refreshing cool water of Jujjar. The place is blessed with extreme natural beauty.This is a luxurious tourist bungalow with all sorts of modern facilities. The rooms are well furnished and decorated. The place is calm and quiet and this provides you with a good scope to peacefully enjoy the company of nature. This is a wonderful place to get rid of all tensions of urban style and spend a relaxing time.
Pahalgam and Amarnathji Yatra-Srinagar
Pahalgam and Amarnathji Yatra-SrinagarPahalgam is located at an altitude of 2,130 m, on the southern slope of the Great Himalayas, situated at the confluence of the streams flowing from Sheshnag Lake to the Lidder River and is 96 kms from Srinagar city.
Lord Shiva is believed to be a living God by Hindus. According to legends, Shiva recounted to Parvati the secret of creation in a cave in Amarnath. But unknowingly, a pair of mating drops doves eavesdropped on this conversation having learned the secret, is reborn again and again, and has made the cave their eternal abode. Many pilgrims report seeing the doves pair when they trek the arduous route to pay obeisance before the ice-lingam.
Hazratbal Shrine- Srinagar
Hazratbal Mosque derives its name from the village Hazratbal, which is situated on the left bank of the famous Dal Lake in Srinagar. This unmatched reverence is anchored in the love and respect for the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), whose Moi-e-Muqqadas, (the sacred hair) is preserved here. The shrine is known by many names including Hazrathbal , Assar-e-Sharief, madinat-us-Sani, Dargah Sharief and Dargah. Sadiq Khan laid out a garden here and constructed a palacial building, Ishrat mahal or Pleasure House, in 1623. The significance of this mosque is that, it houses a hair of the Prophet Mohammad.
How to reach Jammu & Kashmir
By Air: Jammu is well connected by all three modes of transport i.e. air, rail and road. The city has an airport and regular flights run between Jammu and several other cities of the country. Indian Airlines and Jet Airways operate regular flights between Jammu and Delhi, and Jammu and Srinagar/Leh.
By Rail: Jammu Tawi is an important rail head of the state of J & K and is connected with important towns and cities of the country by express and super fast trains. Jammu Tawi to Kanyakumari is the longest rail route of India that touches some of the important cities of the country.
By Road: You can also reach the city by road. National Highway 1A runs through Jammu district connecting the rest of the state including the summer capital Srinagar. Daily bus services are available from Jammu to Delhi, Amritsar, Ambala, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Pathankot, Shimla, Manali and Haridwar. Auto Rickshaws from anywhere in the local Jammu city can take one to this place on payment of nominal charges. Minibuses do also ply but are not allowed to enter the Palace complex so one has to walk up to the palace.