|Bahu Fort||Placed on the left banks of the river Tawi about 5 kilometers away from the heart of the Jammu|
|Bave Wali Mata Temple||Sited within the premises of the Bahu Fort|
|Bagh-E-Bahu||Situated about 5 kilometers away from the heart of the city|
|Raghunath Temple||Located in the heart of the city|
|Martand Sun Temple||Situated close to Anantnag|
|Sudh Mahadev Temple||Placed at the distance of about 8 kilometers from the downtown Mantalai|
|Ranbireshwar Temple||Stationed along the Shalimar Road adjacent the New Secretariat|
|Gadhadharji Temple||Parked close to the Mubarak Mandi Palace|
|Mahamaya Temple||Positioned overlooking the River Tawi opposite the Bahu Fort|
|Shiv Khori||Located at Ransoo Village of Reasi District|
|Peer Kho Cave||Sited on the banks of the river Tawi along the Circular Road at the distance of about 3.5 kilometers from the center of the city|
|Charar-e-Sharief||Located in Badgam District close to Srinagar|
|The Dargah of Peer Budhan Ali Shah||Sited at Satwari area of Jammu close to the Jammu Airport|
|Dargah Garib Shah||Located close to Jabah|
|Paanch Peer||Located along the National Highway 1A adjacent the Palace of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir|
|Rani Charak Mahal||Positioned adjoining the banks of the river Tawi right within the premises of the well known Mubarak Mandi Complex of Jammu|
|Mubarak Mandi Palace||Located right in the heart of the Jammu City and placed overlooking the majestic river Tawi|
|Amar Mahal Palace Museum||Stationed atop a hillock overlooking the Tawi River Valley on the right banks of the River Tawi|
|Dogra Art Museum||Located in the Pink Hall within the premises of the Mubarak Mandi Palace Complex of Jammu|
|Ranbir Canal||Sited at the distance of about 2 kilometers from Jammu|
|Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary||Situated about 28 kilometers away from Jammu|
|Mansar Lake||Nested at the distance of about 80 kilometers from Patnitop and nearly 36 kilometers from Udhampur|
|Surinsar Lake||Located just 42 kilometers from Jammu off the Jammu-Srinagar Highway|
|Akhnoor||Stationed at the footings of the Himalayas and settled on the banks of the River Chenab is located just 30 kilometers away from Jammu|
|Patnitop||Nestled atop the highlands of the Shiwalik Belt in the lower Himalayas adjacent the Pir Panjal Ranges|
|Jhajjar Kotli||Situated about 32 kilometers from Jammu|
|Katra||Located at the distance of about 42 kilometers from Jammu and nested at the footings of the ‘Trikuta Mountains'|
The Bahu Fort placed on the left banks of the river Tawi about 5 kilometers away from the heart of the Jammu city is an ancient stronghold established by Raja Bahu Lochan; the brother of Raja Jambu Lochan approximately 3000 years ago. Revamped in 19th century AD under the dominion of the Dogra Emperors, this historical citadel is distinguished all over the place predominantly for its Hindu shrine commonly referred to as the ‘Bave Wali Mata Temple’. The Bave Wali Mata, the manifestation of ‘Goddess Kali’ is worshipped here as the presiding deity of the Jammu city. The Bahu Fort perched at the elevation of 325 meters above the ground level is fortified with substantial ramparts made from sandstone. The main entrance of the fort is large enough to let the elephants in easily as the royal stables were also situated inside the periphery of the fort itself. A huge water tank is positioned to the left as you cross the threshold whereas the ammunition store is sited to the right. An underground chamber discovered here is said to be used as a prison in olden days. The chamber has a secret door and it was used by the King to escape in case of emergency or sudden enemy assaults. The first floor of the fort which probably served as the residence of the royal family is extravagantly festooned with graceful arches and lavish floral motifs. Several antechambers are situated to the right of the Bave Wali Mata Temple those functioned as the offices and the assembly halls of the Quiledars. The woods those enclosed the stronghold are now developed as a well landscaped garden known as ‘Bhave Ki Bahu’. This garden is modeled after the world famous Mughal Gardens. From the Bahu Fort, the stunning panoramas of the entire Jammu City can be perceived.
Bave Wali Mata Temple
The Bave Wali Mata Temple of Jammu sited within the premises of the Bahu Fort is an ancient Hindu shrine dedicated to Goddess Mahakali; the fierce manifestation of Goddess Shakti. Worshipped as the presiding deity of Jammu city and revered second only to Mata Vaishno Devi, the present day Bave Wali Mata Temple is estimated to be built in 1822 AD immediately after Maharaja Gulab Singh ascended the throne. This archaic shrine erected upon a 1.2 meters tall platform and built in gleaming white marble is quite small in its size and the Mandapa can accommodate only few devotees at a time. The Bave Wali Mata Idol consecrated in this temple is said to have imported all the way from Ayodhya. In ancient times Goddess Mahakali was offered animal sacrifice here, but this practice has been discontinued now.
A sweet pudding called ‘Kadah’ is the traditional Prasad offered at the feet of Goddess Kali in the Bave Wali Mata Temple. The devotees hold a belief that if you offer the ‘Kadah’ to the Goddess and then make a wish, it gets fulfilled for sure. The temple is reckoned far and wide for its annual festival named ‘Bahu Mela’ that is celebrated during the nine days of Navaratri twice a year (March/April and September/October). At the time of the Bahu Fair, the Kali Temple as well as the Bahu Fort is jam-packed with the pilgrims alighted here from all parts of the state and country and the fort premises are brimming with innumerable shops selling flowers, incense, red cloth, sindoor, coconuts, sweets and other paraphernalia. Apart from that, every week on Tuesdays and Sundays special Poojas called ‘Tawi Flowing Worship’ are offered at the temple.
The ‘Bagh-E-Bahu’, also known as ‘Bhave Ki Bahu’ is the garden that is landscaped around the Bahu Fort of Jammu. Situated about 5 kilometers away from the heart of the city, the Bagh-E-Bahu has been developed at the very same place where dense woods used to surround the Bahu Fort in earlier times. Modeled after the majestic Mughal gardens, the charismatic Bagh-E-Bahu rested on the staggering banks of the river Tawi augments the pizzazz of the baronial Bahu Fort. Girdled by acres of woods, the Bagh-E-Bahu offers the spectacular panoramas of the scintillating Tawi River and the entire Jammu City. A small cafeteria operates in one of the corners of the garden where visitors can savor the taste of steaming hot beverages in the freezing cold of Jammu & Kashmir. The Bagh-E-Bahu Garden can be visited from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.
The Raghunath Temple of Jammu centrally located in the heart of the city and dedicated to Lord Ram and several other Hindu deities is an ancient temple complex built in mid 19th century AD. Maharaja Gulab Singh; the founder of the ‘Jammu & Kashmir’ Kingdom initiated the construction work in 1835 AD which was finally completed in 1860 AD under the patronage of his son and successor Maharaja Ranbir Singh. This Temple Complex, a cluster of seven separate shrines, each of them crowned with an imposing tower happens to be the largest temple complex in Northern India. The central shrine of this structure identified as the ‘Raghunath Temple’ is dedicated to Lord Rama; an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and the patron deity of the Dogra dynasty. The idol of Lord Rama enshrined in the Raghunath Temple was brought from Ayodhya. Apart from the idol of the presiding deity, the sanctum of the Raghunath Temple also houses giant statues of the mythological figures from the Ramayana.
Moreover, the images of Lord Vishnu in his different incarnations, effigies of Shiva and Surya, numerous Shiva Lingams and a large number of shaligrams are also consecrated here in separate galleries. The temple is also distinguished for its portrayal of the Rama Lila and the Krishna Lila through paintings. A figurine of King Ranbir Singh and an idol of Lord Hanuman are placed at the entrance of the Raghunath Temple. The interior walls of the main temple are varnished with gold sheet on three sides while the arches, niches and the surface of the Raghunath Temple reveal the clear influence of the Mughal architecture. The remaining six shrines, chief of them being the Panjbakhtar Temple and the Ranbireshwar Temple those flank the Raghunath Temple, are dedicated to various Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Apart from its religious magnitude, the Raghunath Temple is also famed for its Sanskrit Library where one of the richest collections of ancient texts, sacred scriptures and rare Sanskrit manuscripts are preserved.
Martand Sun Temple
The Martand Sun Temple of Jammu situated close to Anantnag and dedicated to the Sun God is an ancient Surya Temple established in 8th century AD during the dominion of King Lalitaditya Muktapida of Karkota Dynasty. Erected atop a heightened plateau from where the mesmerizing vistas of the entire Kashmir Valley can be perceived, the Martand Temple originally surrounded by 84 smaller shrines is now in ruins. However, the remnants and the archeological excavations warrant that the Martand Temple was a supreme specimen of Kashmir style of architecture marked with the skillful amalgamation of Gandhara, Gupta, Syrian-Byzantine, Greek, Chinese and Roman styles of architecture. The impressive configuration of Martand Temple is adorned with a 220 feet long and 142 feet broad colonnaded courtyard circumscribing the main shrine placed at its center. Sikandar Butshikan completely demolished the Martand Temple in early 15th century, though it took him almost a year to fully destroy the temple complex. At present, the ruins of the Martand Temple are conserved as vital archaeological sites of India and the government has developed it as a leading tourist destination of Jammu and Kashmir. Even today, the visitors get flabbergasted on observing the skill and proficiency of the artisans of yesteryears reflecting through the ruins of the Martand Temple.
Sudh Mahadev Temple
The Sudh Mahadev Temple placed at the distance of about 8 kilometers from the downtown Mantalai is one of the most prominent pilgrim destinations of the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Dedicated to Lord Shiva and anticipated to be about 2800 years old, the Sudh Mahadev Temple enshrines the icon of Lord Shiva made out of glossy black marble and Goddess Parvati mounted upon Nandi. Apart from that, a broken trident and a mace (assumed to be belonging to Bheema) are also installed in this temple. As per the prevailing legend, when Lord Shiva was meditating, one of his demon devotees named Sudheet approached Goddess Parvati to pay his homage. Nevertheless, his demonic countenance frightened Parvati and she cried out for help. Bewildered Lord Shiva shot His trident and hit Sudheet. Later on when He realized His mistake, Lord Shiva offered to revive Sudheet, but Sudheet declined saying that death given by the hands of Lord Shiva Himself is superior to any boon in the world. Thenceforth Lord Shiva declared that His name would be associated with Sudheet’s name at that place thereafter.
In this way Lord Shiva came to be worshipped as ‘Lord Sudh Mahadev’ amongst his devotees. The broken trident deposited inside the temple in three pieces supports the aforementioned anecdote. Suspended at the elevation of 1225 meters above the sea level, the Sudh Mahadev Temple beckons thousands of devotees, particularly on the occasion of the full moon night in the month of Shraavan when a 3 days long festival is celebrated in the honor of Lord Shiva. A divine spring named Pap Nashni Bowli is sited adjacent the temple and devotees hold a belief that a holy bath in the waters of Pap Nashni would wash all your sins off. Pilgrims bathe in this water tank and then approach the temple for the propitious darshana of ‘Shiva Parvati’. An additional attraction of the Sudh Mahadev Temple is a sacred fire (Dhooni) which is said to be burning since the time when Baba Roop Nath used to reside here. Baba Roop Nath had attained Samadhi at the Sudh Mahadev Temple.
The Ranbireshwar Temple of Jammu stationed along the Shalimar Road adjacent the New Secretariat is an ancient Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. Acclaimed as one of the foremost pilgrim destinations of the city, the Ranbireshwar Temple was constructed in 1883 AD under the benediction of Maharaja Ranbir Singh; one of the ancestors of the Dogra Kings of Jammu & Kashmir. The sanctum of the temple enshrines a magnanimous Shiva Lingam measuring 7.5 feet in its height. The chief Lingam is accompanied by 12 smaller Shiva Lingams, all of them made out of crystal and varying in their height from 15 to 18 centimeters. Apart from that, the Ranbireshwar Temple also houses approximately 1 lakh bona lingams of Lord Shiva placed in two grand mandapams. The temple comprises two ostentatious halls which are bedecked with the eloquent images of Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartikeya; the two offsprings of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The temple also houses a sculpture of Nandi Bull, the heavenly vehicle of Lord Shiva.
The Gadhadharji Temple of Jammu parked close to the Mubarak Mandi Palace happens to be one of the highly venerated pilgrim destinations constructed during the supremacy of Maharaja Gulab Singh. This ancient temple enshrines two life-size idols of Lord Narayan (Lord Vishnu) and His consort Goddess Lakshmi. Apart from its religious eminence, the Gadhadharji Temple is also tremendously aggrandized for its exquisite architectural grandeur.
The Mahamaya Temple of Jammu positioned overlooking the River Tawi opposite the Bahu Fort is a holy shrine dedicated to the Demigoddess Mahamaya; a regional Dogra Heroine. Mahamaya was a lady of Dogra origin who sacrificed her life fighting some foreign assaults and attained martyrdom toiling to save her motherland about fourteen centuries ago. The Mahamaya Temple erected in the revered memory of this local female protagonist is incredibly esteemed amongst the locals and it also enjoys the preeminent stature amongst the tourists who visit Jammu.
The term ‘Shiv Khori’ literally means the cave of Lord Shiva, wherein Khori means cave. The Shiv khori Cave to be found at Ransoo Village of Reasi District is a cavern shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. As per the prevalent legend, when the demon Bhasmasura had received a boon of turning anyone into ashes just by putting his hand on his or her head, he started chasing Lord Shiva in order to check the validity and effectiveness of the boon. Lord Shiva hid himself inside the Shiv khori Cave to save his life from Bhasmasura. Soon after, Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Mohini and rescued Lord Shiva after killing Bhasmasura. Shiv khori is a natural cave that is 20 meters in its length, 2 to 3 meters in its height and about 1 meter in its width. This spacious cavern enjoys the capacity of accommodating hundreds of visitors at a time. The inner sanctum of the cave is pretty small where a self originated i.e. ‘Swayambhu’ Lingam of Lord Shiva is enshrined. It is believed amongst the devotees that this Shiva Lingam is infinite and endless.
The passageway that leads to the internal chamber is small and low and one will have to stoop and even crawl at times to reach the sanctum. At one point the channel would divide itself into two paths, one of which is believed to be terminating at the blessed Amarnath Cave. However, this path is now closed as some sages had ventured in there who never returned. The 4 meters tall Shiva lingam enshrined inside the Shiv khori Cave is encompassed by several natural objects resembling the icons of Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha and the Nandigan. The roof of the cave that canopies the Shiva Lingam is marked with snake like formations from where water constantly oozes onto the Shiva Lingam. Numerous pigeons just like the Amarnath Cave are also spotted inside the Shiva Khori Cave. The Shiv Khori Temple receives about millions of pilgrims every year.
Peer Kho Cave
The Peer Kho Cave sited on the banks of the river Tawi along the Circular Road at the distance of about 3.5 kilometers from the center of the city is a primordial cave that is supposed to be the oldest existing religious site of the Jammu region. Also reckoned by the title ‘the Jamvant Cave’ this sacred cavern is believed to be the place where Jamvant is said to have meditated. Jamvant was a bear king who accompanied Lord Ram to Lanka along with the Vanar Sena (monkey army) to fight the demon king Ravan and rescue Devi Sita from his clutches. Jamvant outlived Lord Ram and survived until Lord Vishnu in his eighth incarnation i.e. Lord Krishna met him and accepted his daughter’s hand in marriage. The Peer Kho Cave Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is placed in the Shivalik Ranges right amidst the acacia forest brimming with igneous rocks. The devotees also believe that the Peer Kho Cave actually opens up the gateways to reach some other sanctified caves and holy shrines located outside the periphery of India. The Cave Temple consecrates a Swayambhu i.e. self originated Lingam of Lord Shiva in its sanctum as its main deity. Hordes of devotees pay a visit to the Peer Kho Cave Temple during the Mahashivratri Festival.
Charar-e-Sharief, also spelt as ‘Charari Sharief’ is a notified area committee and a town of Badgam District where the tomb of Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani (RA), also revered by the epithets ‘Alamdar-e-Kashmir’ (which means the flag-bearer of Kashmir), ‘Hazrat Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Wali’ and ‘Nund Rishi’ is located. This is the very place where Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani used to say His Friday prayers. Considered to be one of the most sacred Muslim shrines of the country, the Charar-e-Sharief shrine is equally venerated both by the Hindus and the Muslims. Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani was the first sage to start the ‘Rishism’ in the Kashmir Valley. He preached non-violence, tolerance, communal harmony and vegetarianism and also made significant contribution in the field of philosophy by his verses and poetry. The Charar-e-Sharief Tomb estimated to be approximately 600 years old is a mausoleum where the mortal remains of the Alamdar-e-Kashmir are laid to rest. As the legend goes, after his death, the coffin of Hazrat Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Wali flew some distance and finally descended at the present site of the Charar-e-Sharief Shrine. It is said that over nine lakh devotees of Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani had gathered here within two days of his demise in 1438 AD. Not only that, even the King Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin also participated in his funeral procession.
The Dargah of Peer Budhan Ali Shah
The Dargah of Peer Budhan Ali Shah sited at Satwari area of Jammu close to the Jammu Airport is a world famous sepulcher associated with three Sikh Gurus ‘Pir Budhan Shah’, ‘Guru Nanak’ and ‘Guru Hargobind’. It is believed that the shrine of Peer Budhan Ali Shah protects the Jammu City from evil spirits and other mishaps. As the legend goes, when Guru Nanak had come to see Pir Budhan Shah, Pir’s lion milked the goats and offered the milk to Guru Nanak; however, the Guru predicted that He would accept the milk only during the sixth Padshahi. Guru also blessed Peer Budhan Ali Shah to survive that long and asked him to identify him by the sign of holding his thumb of the right hand. This foresight came true when during the sixth Padshahi Guru Hargobind asked for the milk from Budhan Ali Shah and also appeared before him in the form of Guru Nanak. The tomb of Peer Budhan Ali Shah is known as ‘Khanqah-e-Budhan Ali Shah’ or ‘the Tomb of Piran-e-pir Wahid Imad-Ul-Mulk Hazrat Budhan Ali Shah’. The courtyard of the tomb also holds the graves of the goat and the lion. It is believed that though the Peer died here, his original catacomb is located at Kiratpur where the Peer was buried according to his own wish. The devotees brought some mud from the tomb at Kiratpur to Jammu and built a tomb over it here. Peer Budhan Shah was a total vegetarian; despite, the devotees offer him non vegetarian biryani here. Equally exalted by the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims, this shrine of Peer Budhan Ali Shah is visited by thousands of devotees all round the year.
Dargah Garib Shah
The Dargah Garib Shah of Jammu located close to Jabah is a popular holy mausoleum dedicated to a Muslim saint ‘Garib Shah’ who preached the doctrines of unity, harmony and brotherhood. Greatly venerated both by the Hindus and the Muslims, the Dargah Garib Shah is visited by innumerable devotees from all corners of the country irrespective of their religion, cast or creed. The locals of Jammu hold a belief that the saint possesses the mysterious divine powers and the people who pay homage at his Dargah certainly get their wishes granted. The peculiar thing about the Dargah Garib Shah is that this sacrosanct grave is maintained by the local Hindu community. Thus, this Dargah is the perfect emblem of ‘unity in diversity’. Dargah Garib Shah of Jammu is the most idyllic spot for the people who want to spend time away from the humdrum of chaotic city life.
‘Paanch Peer’ located along the National Highway 1A adjacent the Palace of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir is one of the most treasured religious destinations of Jammu where the five great Muslim saints are laid to rest. The monument derives its name after the fact that five Muslim pietists who had devoted their life to the worship of the God Almighty resided here and pursued deep meditation. Not only that, all the five saints also embraced their eternal journey to the abode of the supreme being here itself. Presently the sepulchers of these five saints can be seen at the Paanch Peer. The cenotaph of the Paanch Peer set up amidst the calm and composed milieu far away from the maddening hustle bustle of city provides total relief from the strain of mundane routine life. Myriads of the devotees of the five great saints throng the Paanch Peer Monument from far and wide and seek the divine blessings and the eternal bliss at the feet of the Peers. The believers can even experience the divine presence of the celestial saints in the spiritual premises of the Paanch Peer. The Paanch Peer Shrine is visited by the pilgrims from near and far without the bar of religion, cast or creed. The Paanch Peer of Jammu is indeed a peerless paradigm of the religious unity and concurrence prevalent in the inhabitants of Jammu and Kashmir.
Rani Charak Mahal
The Rani Charak Mahal, an outstanding exemplar of Jammu’s grandiose historical and architectural legacy and one of the most prominent tourist attractions of the city is an ancient alcazar positioned adjoining the banks of the river Tawi right within the premises of the well known Mubarak Mandi Complex of Jammu. Estimated to be over 150 years old and noted for its magnificent architecture, the Rani Charak Mahal is structured out of mortar and red bricks. The red bricks gleaming in the sun light yield the palace an impressive regal aura, especially at the time of sunrise and sunset. One of the ends of the palace is linked to the treasury house of the Toshakhana of the Mubarak Mandi Palace. Festooned with intricately carved arches and elaborately bejeweled columns those illustrate the typical architectural order prevalent during the 19th century AD, the Rani Charak Mahal of Jammu presently houses several government offices in its premises. The royal mansion is also noted for its extraordinary collection of the precious valuables including a throne made of gold, gold antiques, palanquins, idols, utensils, other artifacts and so on. This exceptional bequest of Jammu is well preserved by the Dogras of Kashmir as the souvenir of their meritorious ancestors. Presently, the government is considering the proposal of renovating this historical edifice for the better preservation of Jammu’s venerable endowment. The Rani Charak Mahal sited in the heart of the Mubarak Mandi Complex is easily accessible by auto rickshaw and mini buses from any part of the Jammu city.
Mubarak Mandi Palace
The Mubarak Mandi Palace of Jammu located right in the heart of the Jammu City and placed overlooking the majestic river Tawi is an ancient royal alcazar that served as the official residence of the Maharajas of the Dogra Dynasty till 1925 AD when Maharaja Hari Singh shifted his administrative seat from here to the Hari Niwas Palace situated in northern Jammu. The Mubarak Mandi Palace is a huge complex that accommodates a number of official buildings, royal palaces and courtyards including the Durbar Hall Complex, Gol Ghar Complex, the Pink Palace, Nawa Mahal, Royal Courts, Rani Charak Palace, Toshakhana Palace, Hawa Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, and many other manors. The halls and galleries of these palaces were used for various official gatherings and royal ceremonies & functions.
The oldest existing building of the Mubarak Mandi Palace Complex is dated back to 1824 AD. Over the years, the consecutive Maharajas of Jammu kept developing the complex by adding more and more edifices to the premises and for more than 150 years, the Mubarak Mandi Palace kept on burgeoning in its size. The architecture of the Mubarak Mandi Palace reflects the fine amalgamation of baroque Rajasthani, Mughal and European styles of architecture. Presently, different sections of the complex house various governmental offices, courts and the famous Dogra Art Museum. Nonetheless, many portions of the palace are in ruins now as the citadel fell victim to fire more than 36 times and it also suffered from earthquakes in 1980s and 2005 AD. The Mubarak Mandi Palace, declared a heritage site of Jammu region by the State Government will soon be linked to the Bahu Fort with a rope way.
Amar Mahal Palace Museum
The Amar Mahal Palace Museum of Jammu stationed atop a hillock overlooking the Tawi River Valley on the right banks of the River Tawi is a 19th century palace built by a French Architect for a Dogra Sovereign Raja Amar Singh which is now converted into a Museum. Framed in the European Castle Style in red sandstone and bricks, this picturesque chateau apart from its historical, architectural and archaeological magnitude is mainly reckoned for its rich collection of invaluable souvenirs belonging to the supremacy of the Dogra Kings. Subsequent to the death of the Maharani Tara Devi; the consort of late Maharaja Hari Singh, the Amar Mahal Palace was inaugurated as a museum on 13th April 1975 by the hands of the Late Prime Minister of India; Mrs. Indira Gandhi.
Some of the most noteworthy exhibits of the museum include a golden throne weighing 120 kilogram, Pahari Miniature and Kangra Miniature Paintings, 25,000 antique books on political science, religion, philosophy and fiction, scores of rare art objects, the art works of M.F. Hussain, G. R. Santosh, Ram Kumar, J.Swaminathan, Bikash Battacharjee, Laxman Pai, etc., paintings depicting various Hindu epic stories viz. Nala Damayanti, Dashavatara, modern art, family portraits of the Dogra rulers, and so on. A pure gold sofa belonging to the Dogra rulers and weighing 120 kg is displayed in a hexagonal room in the museum which can be viewed only through glass covered window panes.
Once the dwelling quarters of the Maharani Tara Devi is now exhibited in the museum in its original form where a silver bedspread, old age furniture, decoration of the Crown of India, photographs, personal belongings of the Maharani, royal outfits and a unique Victorian bath are put on display. The Amar Mahal Palace Museum arranges guided tours, film shows, book readings, lectures, scholarly exchanges, hobby classes, workshops, exhibitions and other interesting and educating activities as well. Maharaja Karan Singh had said about the Amar Mahal Palace Museum, “The whole effect is to transport one into a fascinating miniature world with its own aura and ethos”.
Dogra Art Museum
The Dogra Art Museum located in the Pink Hall within the premises of the Mubarak Mandi Palace Complex of Jammu is a preeminent art menagerie and historic gallery were more than 800 rare paintings and numerous articles of historical significance are preserved and displayed. Paintings from Jammu, Kangra and Basholi schools are exhibited in separate galleries here. The most worth mentioning attraction of the museum is a gold painted bow and arrow that belonged to the great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Other than that, several Persian handwritten manuscripts of Shahnama and Sikandernama, a stone plate with Takri inscriptions and a number of old and peculiar carpentry tools showcased in this repository particularly draw the attention of the tourists, researchers and history lovers.
The Ranbir Canal sited at the distance of about 2 kilometers from Jammu and measuring nearly 60 kilometers in its length and over 400 kilometers in its distribution system is a quiet and unruffled picnic spot of Jammu equally cherished both by the locals and the tourists. Completed in 1905 AD and redesigned in 1968-75, the Ranbir Canal extends from the left of the Chenab River and passes through the four talukas of the Jammu District providing them irrigation and drinking water. A power house is positioned on the right banks of the Ranbir Canal. The channel is flanked by beautifully landscaped multicolored gardens and well laid promenades which make the Ranbir Canal an attractive niche for picnicking, relaxing and recreating. From here the vivid prospects of the surroundings can be perceived. The water of the Ranbir Canal remains ice cold even in summer.
Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary
Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary situated about 28 kilometers away from Jammu is a wildlife reserve particularly noted for its population of the wonderful species of pheasants. Covering an extensive area of 34 square kilometers and brimming with thick forests, this protected asylum provides safe shelter to a wide variety of mammals. Apart from the pheasants, other fauna and avifauna sighted in the sanctuary include Indian Mynah, Indian Peafowl, Blue Rock Pigeon, Red Jungle Fowl, Cheer Pheasant, Chakor, Leopard, Rhesus Monkey, Grey Langur, Wild Boar, Bharal, etc.
The Mansar Lake of Jammu nested at the distance of about 80 kilometers from Patnitop and nearly 36 kilometers from Udhampur is a beautiful water reservoir often exalted in the lines of the Manasarovar Lake of Tibet. Measuring about a mile in its length and half a mile in its width, this spectacular lagoon fringed by imperial hills wrapped in the bottle green cloak of the Pine and Deodar forests is tremendously praised for its dazzling pictorial prospects and its grandiose religious solemnity. A small temple dedicated to Lord Sheshnag; a mythological serpent with six hoods is sited on the eastern banks of the Mansar Lake. Additionally, two primordial temples dedicated to Umapati Mahadev & Narsimha and Goddess Durga are also positioned in the proximity with the Mansar Lake. This lake is accredited with the miraculous sin cleansing qualities by the devotees of Lord Shiva and pilgrims take a holy dip into the waters of the Mansar Lake especially on the festive occasions.
It is believed that if the newly wedded couples perform Parikrama around the Mansar Lake, Lord Sheshnag will bless them with the happy and fulfilling married life ahead. Aside from its religious and mythological importance, the Mansar Lake is also distinguished for its incredibly charismatic outlooks. Noted for its exceptionally charming flora and rare fauna, the Mansar Lake is an ideal locale for boating and picnicking. The cemented boulevard that girdles the lake looks outstandingly appealing when marvelously illuminated with colorful electric lights at night. Tourists and locals are wholly fond of taking a leisurely stroll around the lake and enjoying the impressive surrounding vistas. Projected view decks are installed around the lake at regular intervals from where we can perceive the enchanting views of the ethereal birds, fish and tortoise. A wildlife sanctuary is also sited close to the Mansar Lake where the jungle life of Himalayan region including spotted deer, neelgai and other animals, water birds such as ducks and cranes, and so on can be observed dwelling in their natural habitat.
The Surinsar Lake, the twin lake of the celebrated Mansar Lake of Jammu is located just 42 kilometers from Jammu off the Jammu-Srinagar Highway. Enclosed by the opaque canopy of the dense woods and the hilly terrains of the Jammu Region at its backdrop, the Surinsar Lake wearing the tapestry of the blooming lotus flowers in summer beckons the tourists and nature lovers from high and low. It is believed that the Surinsar Lake is connected with the Mansar Lake through an underground channel and as the myth goes, the genesis of the Surinsar Lake are associated with Arjuna; one of the five Pandava Brothers. It is said that when Mother Kunti was thirsty, Arjuna shot an arrow which landed on the Mansar soil and resulted in the formation of two lakes namely Mansar (where the arrow landed) and Surinsar (from where the arrow was shot). According to yet another legend, Babhruvahan; the son of Arjuna and Chitrangada was supposed to go to the nether and bring back the ‘Mani’ from the serpent-king to heal Arjuna who was severely wounded by him in a battle. At that time Babhruvahan created Mansar and Surinsar to enter and exit the nether. The government of Jammu and Kashmir has established the Mansar-Surinsar Development Authority (MSDA) in order to develop infrastructure in the areas adjoining the two lakes. Floating barricades to protect migratory birds are also set up at the Surinsar Lake.
Akhnoor, a municipal community of Jammu District stationed at the footings of the Himalayas and settled on the banks of the River Chenab is located just 30 kilometers away from Jammu. Formerly known by the name ‘Virat Nagar’, this township was rechristened as ‘Akhnoor’ following the mystifying episode of a Mughal Begum restoring her eye sight here by the application of some Ayurvedic Medicines along with the holy waters of the Chenab River. Akhnoor is also noted for its connection with the Pandavas who stayed here during their exile. Several caves discovered around Akhnoor are believed to be the residence of the Pandavas. And to top that, Akhnoor is also the historic town that is associated with the legendary love story of Sohni-Mahiwal. Besides, tourists can also pay a visit to the ruins of the Indus Valley Civilization laying along the Chenab Riverbank. The Parashurama Temple of Akhnoor is exceedingly famed for its Parashurama Jayanti Celebration organized here with incomparable pomp and grandeur every year.
Patnitop , a hunky-dory hamlet nestled atop the highlands of the Shiwalik Belt in the lower Himalayas adjacent the Pir Panjal Ranges is a marvelous hill resort of the Udhampur District in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. Stationed about 112 kilometers away from Jammu on the Udhampur Srinagar Route, Patnitop is suspended at the average elevation of 2024 meters above the sea level. Although less popular as compared to other tourist destinations of Northern India, Patnitop would squarely contest them in their bequest of scenic splendor. Endowed with unsurpassable natural pulchritude Patnitop is indisputably the ‘Garden of Eden’ descended upon the earth. Clad with dense deodar, cedar, pine and conifer woods and garlanded with meandering jungle trails, Patnitop wears scintillating emerald green coat in summer which turns silvery white in winter. Girdled with far flung snow capped Himalayan Peaks and shrouded with thick snow tapestry, Patnitop, flanked by the enticing basin of Chenab presents a perfect chocolate box demeanor laden with immaculate beauty of nature. Wrapped in thick Himalayan lumber Patnitop offers lovely picnic getaways, peaceful walkways and incredible prospects of the Chenab Valley. This Pearly Gate turns a dreamland for the snow and adventure sports in winter when the far reaching snow blanketed plateau provides the opportunities for thrilling games like skiing, zorbing, paragliding, and so on. Not only that, the adventure enthusiasts also indulge in trekking, hiking, rock climbing and camping whereas tourists can enjoy nature walks, pony rides and golf here. Being the closest summer retreat and winter resort from Jammu and Udhampur and second to none in its natural charisma and salubrious clime Patnitop, basking in the juvenile glamour of gorgeousness, is indeed an idyllic asylum away from the chaos of the hustling bustling daily routine.
Jhajjar Kotli situated about 32 kilometers from Jammu is a tourist complex established on the banks of the river Jhajjar. Very popular amongst the visitors of Jammu, Katra and Srinagar and also favorite amongst the residents of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Jhajjar Kotli is a tourist picnic spot and a renowned weekend getaway highly praised for its unparalleled scenic pulchritude. The most noteworthy attraction of Jhajjar Kotli is the cool and crystal clear waters of the river Jhajjar that would wipe out all your exasperation and leave you completely revitalized and rejuvenated. A luxurious and lavish tourist bungalow, a tourist cafeteria and a bar are maintained and run by Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation at Jhajjar Kotli. This extravagant and ostentatious tourist bungalow is equipped with all kinds of modern amenities and deluxe and cozy rooms, both well furnished and well decorated can be booked here at quite cheap prices. An assortment of Indian cuisine is served at the restaurant here and the bar is also well stocked. The calm and bucolic milieu of Jhajjar Kotli marked with gentle and balmy ambience attracts myriads of picnickers, particularly during the summer months. Jhajjar Kotli is the perfect niche to unwind and get rid of all the tension of every day city life. The ancient Rani ka Talab is an additional attraction near the Jhajjar Kotli.
Katra , located at the distance of about 42 kilometers from Jammu and nested at the footings of the ‘Trikuta Mountains’ at the elevation of 754 meters above the sea level, is a modest township of Udhampur District in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir that has earned an international repute as a highly aggrandized Hindu pilgrim destination due to its world famous temple dedicated to Goddess Vaishno Devi. The Vaishno Devi Temple of Katra that enshrines the ostentatiously ornamented stone silhouettes of Goddess ‘Vaishnavi’ (also revered as Mata Rani) happens to be the second most visited place of worship in India and over 8 million devotees perform a pilgrimage of the Vaishno Devi Temple every year. Katra, a prime stopover for the devotees and the tourists on the way to the Vaishno Devi Temple also acts as a gateway to the empyreal abode of the Goddess Shakti. Katra is the threshold where the pilgrims register themselves and get insurance before initiating the 12 kilometer long and treacherous expedition to the Vaishno Devi Shrine.