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KASHMIR TOUR >> CITIES TOUR

JAMMU TOUR


Jammu, the Duggar land where the past still has a living presence. A land of grand ancient temples and beautiful 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 Bahu Fort, 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.


History

Legend has it that Jambu Lochan who founded the city about three thousand years ago. The Raja was hunting in the area, away from his capital city of Bahu when he came across a lion and a goat drinking from the same pond. The Shivadawala Shrine now stands on this spot in the city. Jammu is known as 'the city of temples' because of its many shrines, with their soaring golden spires or 'Shikhars'.

There are many other shrines and temples around the city and environs that date from earlier years but the recorded history of Jammu begins from the time of the Dogra rulers in the early 19th century. In 1846, the Dogra ruler of Jammu was created as a Maharaja of an ill-defined Himalayan kingdom, to the eastward of the river Indus and westward of the river Ravi', by the treaties of Lahore and Amritsar at the conclusion of the first Sikh war.

It was the lack of definition of this state - the forerunner of Jammu and Kashmir - that caused the continuing disputes with Russia and China over territory. The British created the state as part of a complex political buffer zone between their Indian Empire and China and Russia.

For the Maharaja Gulab Singh, the treaty confirmed for him almost 25 years of fighting and negotiation with the small hill tribes along the northern border of the Sikh Empire, centred on the Punjab. The region remained under Dogra rule until the partition of India in 1947, when Hari Singh, the  Maharaja of Kashmir, decided that it would remain as part of India and the state of Jammu & Kashmir was born.

Ranbir Canal

A small garden along the Ranbir Canal, which runs through the city outskirts, provides a cool picnic spot during the summer. The canal branches off from the river Chenab at Akhnoor, 32 kms away. Its water remains icy-cold throughout the year and its banks serve as good viewpoints and walkways.

Bahu Fort & Gardens

Situated 5 kms away from the city centre, Bahu Fort stands on a rock face on the left bank of the river Tawi.

View of Bahu Gardens (Bagh-e-Bahu)

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.


Mahamaya Temple and City Forest

On the bypass 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 the best view of the city.

Mubarak Mandi Palace

The oldest buildings in this palace complex date back to 1824. The architecture is a blend of Rajasthani, Mughal and even baroque elements. The most stunning segment is the Sheesh Mahal. "The Pink Hall" houses the Dogra Art Museum which has miniature paintings of the various Hill schools.

 

Forts and Palaces

On the opposite bank of the Tawi river, on an upland plateau, is situated the majestic Bahu Fort, the oldest edifice extant in the region. Looking at this fort one can imagine the wars fought, invasions prevented, and yes, even the grandeur the royal family must have enjoyed at the time. Today it is surrounded by a lush green terraced garden, with waterfalls and flowers of just about every kind and colour. It is a favourite picnic spot for the city folk.

The Amar Mahal Palace, a sight to behold, is on an eyrie overlooking the Tawi river. This grand palace, with sloping roofs and tall towers, so characteristic of continental castles, reminds one of France. The palace has been converted into a museum which also houses the city’s finest library of antique books and paintings. An entire series of miniatures on the epic Nal-Damayanti can be seen in the museum.


Old Bazaars and Designer boutiques

There are two charmingly contradictory aspects to the city of Jammu which one can see while shopping. For instance, in the crowded streets of Raghunath Bazaar, among the age-old dry fruit shops, you’ll find designer boutiques that display the very latest in fashion and fashion accessories.

Here the main bazaars – Vir Marg, Raghunath Bazaar and Hari Market – are famous for Kashmiri handicrafts, traditional Dogra jewellery and various dry fruits, chiefly walnuts (‘akhrot’) and almonds. Jammu is also known for the superlative quality of its ‘basmati’ rice, ‘rajma’ (red beans), ‘ampapar’ (dried and candied mango peel), ‘anardana’ (dried pomegranate seeds) and ‘barfi’ (milk sweets).For purchasing authentic Kashmiri handicrafts, one can visit the J&K Government Arts Emporium near the Tourist Reception Centre on Residency Road. The emporium displays and sells a wide variety of handicrafts, including Pashmina shawls and exquisite hand-knotted carpets of silk and wool.


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