Jammu is the largest city in the Jammu Division and the winter capital of state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is situated on the banks of Tawi river. It is administered by a municipal corporation.
Jammu is located at 32.73N – 74.87E. It has an average elevation of 327 m (1,073 ft). Jammu city lies at uneven ridges of low heights at the Shivalik hills. It is surrounded by Shivalik range to the north, east and southeast while the Trikuta Range surrounds it in the north-west. It is approximately 600 kilometres (370 mi) from the national capital, New Delhi.
The city spreads around the Tawi river with the old city overlooking it from the north (right bank) while the new neighbourhoods spread around the southern side (left bank) of river. There are five bridges on the river. The city is built on a series of ridges.
The name Jammu is derived from its ruler who founded it. Raja Jambulochan founded this city and named it Jambupur which later changed to Jammu. Many historians and locals believe that Jammu was founded by Raja Jambu Lochan in the 14th century BC. During one of his hunting campaigns, he reached the Tawi River where he saw a goat and a lion drinking water at the same place. Having satisfied their thirst, the animals went their own ways. The Raja was amazed, abandoned the idea of hunting and returned to his companions. Recounting what he had seen, he exclaimed that this place, where a lion and a goat could drink water side by side, was a place of peace and tranquility. The Raja commanded that a palace be built at this place and a city was founded around it. This city became known as Jambu-Nagar, which then later changed into Jammu.
Tourism is the largest industry in Jammu as in the rest of the state. It is also a focal point for the pilgrims going to Vaishno Devi and Kashmir valley as it is second last railway terminal in North India. All the routes leading to Kashmir, Poonch, Doda and Laddakh start from Jammu city. So throughout the year the city remains full of people from all the parts of India. Places of interest include old historic palaces like Mubarak Mandi, Purani Mandi, Rani Park, Amar Mahal, Bahu Fort, Raghunath Temple, Ranbireshwar Temple, Karbala, Peer Meetha, Old city and a number of shopping places, fun parks, etc.
Bahu Fort, which also serves as a religious temple, is situated about 5 km from Jammu city on a rock face on the left bank of the river Tawi. This is perhaps the oldest fort and edifice in Jammu city. Constructed originally by Raja Bahulochan over 3,000 years ago, the fort was improved and rebuilt by Dogra rulers. Inside the fort, there is a temple dedicated to the goddess Kali, popularly known as Bave Wali Mata, the presiding deity of Jammu. Every Tuesday and Sunday pilgrims throng this temple and partake in “Tawi flowing worship”. Today the fort is surrounded with a terraced garden which is a favourite picnic spot of the city folk.
Gauri Shankar Temple at Channi Himmat is a lord Shiva temple which is located in the heart of the Channi Himmat (opposite railway crossing) which is about 3 – 4 km from the railway station. The unique architecture of the temple is at its best in the evening. The food is offered to people on every Saturday evening.
Bagh-E-Bahu, located on the banks of Tawi river, is a Mughal-aBagh itself . There is a small cafeteria on one side of the garden. On the by-pass road behind Bahu Fort, the city forest surrounds the ancient Mahamaya Temple overlooking the river Tawi. A small garden surrounded by acres of woods provides a view of the city. Opposite the Bahu Fort, overlooking the River Tawi, is a temple dedicated to Mahamaya of Dogra decent, who lost her life fourteen centuries ago fighting foreign invaders. The present temple of Bawey Wali Mata was built shortly after the coronation of Maharaja Gulab Singh, in 1849. It is also known as the temple of Mahakali and the goddess is considered second only to Mata Vaishno Devi in terms of mystical power.
Amongst the temples in Jammu, the Raghunath Temple takes pride of place being situated right in the heart of the city. This temple is situated at the city center and was built in 1857. Work on the temple was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh, founder of the Kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir, in 1835 AD and was completed by his son Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1860 AD. 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. This temple consists of seven shrines, each with a tower of its own. It is the largest temple complex in northern India. Though 130 years old, the complex is remarkable for sacred scriptures, one of the richest collections of ancient texts and manuscripts in its library. Its arches, surface and niches are undoubtedly influenced by Mughal architecture while the interiors of the temple are plated with gold. The main sanctuary is dedicated to Lord Vishnu’s eighth incarnation and Dogras’ patron deity, the Rama. It also houses a Sanskrit Library containing rare Sanskrit manuscripts.
Peer Kho Cave
Alongside the same Tawi river are the Peer Kho Cave temple, the Panchbakhtar temple and the Ranbireshwar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva with their own legends and specific days of worship. Peer Kho cave is located on the bank of river Tawi and it is widely believed that Ramayan character Jamvant (the bear god) meditated in this cave. The Ranbireshwar Temple has twelve Shiva lingams of crystal measuring 12″ to 18″ and galleries with thousands of saligrams fixed on stone slabs. Located on the Shalimar Road near the New Secretariat, and built by Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1883 AD. It has one central lingam measuring seven and a half feet height (2.3 m) and twelve Shiva lingams of crystal measuring from 15 cm to 38 cm and galleries with thousands of Shiva lingams fixed on stone slabs.
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi
Situated at an altitude of 5,200 feet above sea level, the Holy Cave Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi or Trikuta Bhagwati has been a beacon of faith and fulfillment to millions of devotees from all over the world. The pilgrimage to the Shrine holds great significance for the pilgrims. The Yatris have to undertake a trek of nearly 12 km from the base camp at Katra. At the culmination of their pilgrimage, the yatries are blessed with the Darshans of the Mother Goddess inside the Sanctum Sanctorum – the Holy Cave. These Darshans are in the shape of three natural rock formations called the Pindies. There are no statues or idols inside the Cave.
A geological study of the Holy Cave has indicated its age to be nearly a million years. As per belief the practice of worshipping Shakti, largely started in the Puranic period and the first mention of the Mother Goddess is in the epic Mahabharat. When the armies of Pandavs and Kaurvas were arrayed in the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Arjun, the chief warrior of Pandavs upon advice of Sri Krishna; meditated upon the Mother Goddess and sought Her blessings for victory. This is when Arjun addresses the Mother Goddess as ‘Jambookatak Chityaishu Nityam Sannihitalaye’, which means ‘you who always dwell in the temple on the slope of the mountain in Jamboo’ (probably referring to the present day Jammu). On a mountain, just adjacent to the Trikuta Mountain and overlooking the Holy Cave are five stone structures, which are believed to be the rock symbols of the five Pandavs.
|Languages spoken||Kashmiri, Urdu, Hindi, English|
|Currency used||Indian Rupee (₹)|
|Area (km2)||222,236 km2|