The winter capital of Jammu & Kashmir is bluffed on the Shivalik Range, overlooking the northern plains. Jammu district derives its name from the city of Jammu which besides being the winter capital of the state, is known as the city of temples. It is believed that the city was originally founded by Raja Jamboo Lochan who lived in fourteenth century B.C. The Raja had gone out one day for hunting when he happened to witness a tiger and a goat drinking water from one and the same pond. This extraordinary phenomenon set him thinking and he decided to build a city at this site so that the strong and weak could live together in peace and mutual tolerance. Eventually, he founded the city which came to be known as “Jamboo” after his own name. With the passage of time and due to its frequent use the pronunciation of the name got slightly distorted and the city, came to be known as ‘Jammu’ as it is called now.
Jammu is situated on a hillock, on the bank of river Tawi and is bound by Udhampur district in the north and northeast , Kathua district in the east and southeast, Pakistan (Sialkote) in west and Rajauri district and POK (Bhimber) in the northwest. Its skyline was once dotted with glittering spires of temples. These spikes are no longer visible as most of these are hidden behind multi storyed buildings. The city has numerous shrines for Muslims, Sikhs & Christians also. Jammu also serves as base camp for the holy shrine of Vaishno Devi. Jammu is also the Railhead of the state.
Jammu is located 74 degree 24′ and 75 degree 18′, East longitude and 32 degree 50′ and 33 degree 30′ North latitude. It is approximately 600 Kms away from National Capital, New Delhi and is linked with a National Highway.
The temperature varies from cold in winter with minimum temperature touching even 0.9 degree Centigrade to heat wave in summers when the temperature shoots upto 46 degree centigrade. Jammu District is spread over an area of 3097 Sq Kms and has a population of about 15.88 lakhs as per the estimates of 2001. It is largest populated District of the state and second largest in terms of population density and falls under the category ‘B’. The literacy percentage of the District is 77% in as per 2001 census which was highest in the state.
This District is having a National Airport situated at Satwari. This District serves as the Winter Capital of J & K state from November to April when all the offices move from Srinagar to Jammu.
Jammu. the Duggar land where the past still has a living presence. A land of grand ancient temples, and beatiful palaces. All nestling in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is said that, on becoming King, the Suryavanshi Jambu Lochan went on a hunt and, crossing the Tawi, found a deer and a tiger drinking water from the same tank. His ministers explained that this meant that the soil of the place was so virtuous that no living creature bore enmity against another. Raja Jambu Lochan, who lived in the later vedic period, decided to found his capital , Jambupura, on his soil, on the right bank of the Tawi, overlooking his brother king Bahu’s fort. Today the temple of Maha Kali ( better known as Bahu or Bawey Wali Mata), located in the Bahufort, is considered second only to Mata Vaishno Devi in terms of mystical power. The present temple was built shortly after the coronation of Maharaja Gulab singh, in 1822. The existing fort, as well as the Manasabdar’s palace inside it, was constructed in 1820.
Jammu is justly famous for its temples. In fact it is known as the city of temples and the every fame of its tends to overshadow its palaces, forts, forests and powerful ziarats. If Bahu Mata is the presiding deity of Jammu, the dargah of Peer Budhan Ali Shah is the other shrine that protects Jammuites. The other major tourist attraction is the Ragunath Temple Complex. Maharaja Gulab Singh began the construction of the Raghunath Mandir Complex in the crowded downtown Bazaar named after it, in 1851. It was left to his son, Ranbir Singh, to inaugurate it six years later perhaps the most popular temple north of Benares, it contains representations of almost entire Hindu pantheon, though the emphasis falls on the various incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The complex houses a rich collection of ancient texts and manuscripts.
Places of Interest
The Jammu City abounds in a large number of shrines which testify to the deep devotional spirit of the people. An increasing stream of pilgrims from all over the country and even abroad visit these shrines every year. While Jammu is famous as the City of Temples on account of numerous temples – old and new – which dot the landscape, the City however also has a fair number of shrines of other faiths. The shrines of Jammu City make it a glowing example of secularism and inter-religious harmony.
Shri Raghunathji Temple
Raghunath Mandir is perhaps the most famous of the Jammu Temples. It is the largest temple complex in Northern India. Situated in the heart of the city in the Raghunath Bazar, the temple was built in 1857 by Maharaja Ranbir Singh. The main temple has the idols of Lord Rama, Mata Sita and Shri Lakshman ji placed on a raised platform. The inner walls of the main temple are covered with gold sheets on three sides. There are many galleries with lakhs of saligrams. The numerous other temples in the complex are dedicated to various Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu Pantheon. The Temple also houses a Sanskrit Library containing rare Sanskrit manuscripts.
Shri Ranbireshwar Temple
The Temple is named after its founder Maharaja Ranbir Singh. The construction of the temple was started in 1863 A.D and was completed in 1878 A.D. It is the biggest Shiva temple in North India. The temple houses a huge sphatic shivlingam measuring seven and a half feet in height surrounded by ten 2 feet high billaur (crystals) lingas and galleries with 1, 25,000 tiny Shivlings brought here from the river Narmada. The Temple is located on the Shalamar Road about a kilometer from the Raghunath Bazaar.
The temple was constructed by Raja Guje Singh of Jammu (1687-1703) and is considered one of the oldest in Jammu. It is linked to the visit of Shankaracharya in the ninth century A.D. The temple, constructed much later, is considered sacred because of the self- originated Shivalinga ( Svayambhuva Shiva linga). One of the most revered Shiva Shrines in the city, the Lord is worshipped here in the Swachananda form having five faces representing the totality of Shiva in His most abstract form. Hence it is known as Panchvaktar. The temple is also popularly known as ‘ Rupay wala mandir’ as coins have been embedded in the floor slabs. It seems that there were also inscriptions in Dogri script on the exterior of the surrounding walls. The Temple is situated in a lane off the Residency Road barely a kilometer from the Raghunath Bazar.
Peer Kho Temple
During the reign of Raja Biram Dev of Jammu (1454 – 95) a famous mendicant Jogi Guru Garib Nath belonging to the Guru Gorakh Nath order came to Jammu and resided at Peer Kho. Kho means cave in the local dialect. He came to be known as Peer-i-Kho and thus with the passage of time the cave got its name. The cave is also known as the Jamwant Gufa (cave) as the bear hero of Ramayana is believed to have meditated here. A Shivlinga is established inside the cave. Devotees throng the cave on Puranmashi, Amavasya and Ekadashi and during Shivratri. The temple is situated on the Circular Road, 2 kms from Raghunath Bazar.
Rani Kalhuri Devi Temple
The temple was constructed probably in 1889-90 AD by Rani Shuba Devi of Kalhur state wife of Maharaja Ranbir Singh and hence is known as Rani Kalhuri Devi Temple. The temple houses the idols for Lord Rama and Sita on one side and Shiv Parvati Idols on the other side. The temple is situated on the Circular Road about half a kilometer from the Peer Kho temple.
Ram Talai Temple
Situated on the Circular Road and in the vicinity of Rani Kalhuri Devi temple, this temple houses the images of Lord Krishna and Radha. The temple has beautiful pond and garden in its surroundings.
Radha Krishan Rukmani Temple
The temple houses the idols of Lord Krishna, Radha and Rukmani. The temple is situated on the Circular Road just half a km from the Ram Talai Temple Jammu.
The Panjthirthi locality is situated towards the northern extremity of the Jammu City. This is the oldest part of the City and has a cluster of old temples which are over a hundred years old. Five Temples in close proximity of each other are considered by the people of Jammu as equivalent to the Panch Tiraths and thus the name Panjtirthi.
This temple is situated just opposite the Radio station, panjthirthi. It was constructed by Sardar Attar Singh during 1856-85 AD. It is also known as Sardaran-Ka-Mandir.The temple is dedicated to Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshman Ji and Lord Shiva.
Radhey- Shayam Temple( Billo mandir)
This is one of the oldest temples of the city situated in Panjthirthi. The temple was constructed in 1839 AD by Bahi Charan Dass. The temple has beautiful idols of Radha Ji and Lord Krishna. It is also known as Billo temple after the name of the priest who took care of the temple for many years.
Shri Satya Naryan Temple
The temple is located near the Billu temple and on the second floor of the temple complex. It houses the idols of Shri Satya Narayan Ji and Mata Lakshami Ji. A small adjoining temple has a magnificent idol of Garud DevJi. The temple was built during the reign of Maharaja Partap Singh Ji.
Shri Banwari Dass Temple
The temple is located at the entrance of Chaugan Salathia outside Mubarak Mandi . The unique feature of this old temple is that it has the statues of Lord Rama, Mata Sita , Lakshman Ji and his wife Urmilla.
Maha Lakshmi Temple
The ancient Devi Maha Lakshmi Temple is situated at Pacca danga. The temple was built by Maharaja Ranbir Singh and houses a beautiful marble idol of Maha Lakshmi. The temple witnesses great festivity on the eve of Diwali.
The temple complex is situated on the banks of river Tawi. The complex consists of many temples and gigantic images of the Hindu deities.
Bawey Wali Mata
This is one of the most important Shakti shrines of Jammu region. The temple is situated inside the Bahu Fort and was built shortly after the coronation of Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1822. It is also known as the Mahakali Temple, the reigning deity of the City of Jammu. The Shrine is considered second only to Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine. An annual nine day Navrata fair is held during the Navratras. On Tuesday and Sunday, a large number of devotees pay their obeisance to Devi.
Maha Maya Temple
Located on the ridge facing the Bahu Fort in the midst of the City Forest on the bye Pass road is the Mahamaya Temple. The temple houses the manifestation of the Mata in the form of a pindi. The temple provides a panoramic view of the magnificent city forests and the Jammu City. It is said to have been constructed by Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Jammu (1857-1885).
Doodha Dhari Temple
The temple is situated in Shastri Nagar locality in Jammu city. The temple is named after the priest who lived here and it is believed that he survived only on milk. Hence the temple is named as Doodha Dhari temple.
Aap Shambhu Temple
The temple is situated at Sathrian in Roopnagar area of Jammu city. The temple has self-made stone Lingam. According to a legend, in the times immemorial this entire place was an uninhabited jungle, the milky cows and buffaloes used to come to the Lingam after grazing and shed entire milk on the Lingam. Heavy rush of devotees is witnessed on the occasion of Mahashivratri.
The tomb of Pir Mitha is situated in the old Jammu city in the locality bearing the same name. In the mid of 15th century A.D., a Sayid named Qutul Alam came to Jammu from Sawazwar and made hindus and muslims his followers. He was contemporary of Raja Ajaib Dev, who ruled Jammu from 1423A.D to 1454 A.D. As sugar and sweets were his favourite so most of his followers brought him gifts of milk, sugar and sugar cane. He was also sweet spoken to people as hence was popularly known as Pir Mitha.
Peer Budhan Ali Shah Sahib
The shrine of Peer Budan Ali Shah situated at Satwari near the Jammu Airport is also popularly known as Peer Baba. Peer Budan Ali Shah was a close friend of Shri Guru Nanak Dev ji. Peer sahib was born at Talwandi in 15th century A.D and was a bachelor throughout his life and a vegetarian, who according to his followers, subsisted on milk. Another shrine of the Peer is said to be at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab. A large number of devotees of all faiths throng the shrine on every Thursday.
It is the oldest and the biggest Masjid of Jammu located in Talab Khatikan, a kilometer away from Raghunth Bazar. Heavy rush of devotees is witnessed on the eve of Id-ul-Milad and Fridays.
Peer Roshan Shah Wali
It is one of the prominent Muslim Shrines located at Gumat in the heart of Jammu city near Shri Raghunathji temple. It is the (makbara) mausoleum of Peer Roshan Shah Wali. He is believed to have come from Arabia in 648 samvat and took his abode near Gumat which was then a jungle. After the death of the sage a mausoleum was built at the spot where he resided. This mausoleum has since continued to be the residence of Peers and pious men. The original structure made of stones and clay was rebuilt by Maharaja Ranbir Singh. Pir Roshan Shah was a very tall person and so came to be known also as Pir Nau Gazia ( the nine foot tall Pir).
Gurudwara Sunder Singh
This is a historical Gurudwara of Jammu located just in the vicinity of Raghunath Bazar. The Gurudwara was built about 166 years back by S. Sunder Singh Khurana Ji who lived in Amritsar. The Gurdwara has beautiful interiors with colourful floral motifs adorning the walls.
Kalgidhar Gurudwara, Rehari
The Gurudwara is located at Rehari Chowk just 2 Kms from Jammu bus stand on the National Highway.
Gurudwara Sh.Guru Nanak Devji
Also known as the Panchyati Gurudwara. It is situtated in upper bazar near Mubarak Mandi complex. It is venerated by both Sikhs and Hindus. The unique feature of this Gurudwara is that it has a 3ft tall white marble statue of Guru Nank Devji. Maharja Partap Singh is said to have installed the statue.
Sant Rocha Singh Ashram (Digana Ashram)
This Gurudwara is situated on the national highway at Digana. The Gurudwara has a very beautiful building. The ashram provides free education to orphan children. Heavy rush of devotees is witnessed here during gurupurabs and Sundays.
Gurudwara Shri Guru Nanak Ji, Chand Nagar
This Gurudwara is situated in the heart of the city at Chand Nagar near Jewel Chowk. Heavy rush of devotees is witnessed here on Gurupurabs.
St. Paul’s Church
St. Paul’s Church on Wazarat Road is the oldest Church. On 11th April, 1928, Miss Isabella Plumb laid the foundation stone of this church.
St. Cathedral Garrison Church (Catholic)
St. Cathedral Garrison Church (Catholic) on the national highway, was built in 1986 and is dedicated to Rt. Rev. Dr. Hippolytus Kunnunkal, then Bishop of J&K.
Other churches are Roman Catholic Church near BC Road, St.Peter’s Church, Christian Colony, and Indian National Evangelical Church, Near Ustad Mohalla, Jammu.