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Tourist Places To Visit In Jammu
Located in the northernmost part of India, Jammu is a fascinating place to explore. Often regarded as the ‘Gateway to Kashmir,’ and not considered as stunning as its counterpart, Kashmir, Jammu has its own beauty and attractions. For long it has been referred to as the City of Temples because of the numerous Hindu temples and shrines that are scattered across the region. Let us take a brief look at all the chief tourist attractions which Jammu has to offer.
Bahu Fort stands on the banks of River Tawi, built 3000 years back by Raja Bahucholan. Over the years the Dogra rulers made renovations to the fort and also extended its area. The Fort also houses the temple of Goddess Kali, symbol of feminine energy. The people of Jammu worship Kali and hold her in high regard. The temple is often referred to as Bave Wali Mata Temple.
Mubarak Mandi Palace
This is a magnificent palace which sees a blend of various styles of architecture including Mughal, Rajasthani and European. Dogra Art Museum in Shesh Mahal within the Palace complex boasts of some rare and precious artefacts like Emperor Shah Jahan’s bow and arrow, miniature paintings etc. The oldest building within this palace dates back to as far as 1824 and is something to be witnessed and appreciated.
This is a shrine in a cave in Udhampur district in Jammu dedicated to an avatar of Lord Shiva, Shivkhori. It is a four feet long naturally formed lingam, popularly referred to as Swayambhu. One can experience divinity and an unnamed aura as one enters the cave. Exploring the cave and catching a glimpse of the lingam is a thrilling experience. The cave is highly revered among the pilgrims and the 3 km trek to the shrine is gorgeous.
The Raghunath Temple is an extremely popular and revered temple in the country boasting of one of the biggest temple complexes in the northern part of India. Started by Maharaj Gulab Singh, the temple construction was completed by his son Maharaj Ranbir Singh. The temple has many idols and deities; however the primary is of Lord Rama. The temple has a mix of Mughal and Sikh architectural styles. The temple walls are decorated with images of Gods and paintings.
Lake Mansar and Surinsar is one of the most popular picnic spots in the region. Surrounded by forests and low lying hills it is an attractive excursion site, about 62 km from Jammu. Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary is also located nearby and the day’s trip can be a welcome break. Near the lake are two temples of Durga and Umapati Mahadev & Narasimha. Many religious and auspicious activities like Mundan ceremony (first haircut), Parikrama by newlyweds etc are performed here. People also visit the lake for boating and sightseeing.
Dogra Art Museum
Dogra Art Museum is located within the Mubarak Mandi Palace complex. It houses some precious and beautiful artefacts. It is ideal for experiencing and celebrating the folklore of Jammu region as also of Ladakh and Kashmir. There is also an art gallery with paintings of Basohli, Kangra and Jammu school of art.
Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary
This is a beautiful wildlife sanctuary located in the Jammu region. It houses some stunning array of birds and an abundance of fauna and flora. Bird lovers and photographers can take out time to visit this place to spot different species of birds like Indian Peafowl, Pheasants, Indian Mynah, Red Junglefowl and Chakor. Boars, Leopards, Rhesus Monkey and Grey Langurs are also spotted frequently here.
Perhaps the biggest attraction of Jammu is the holy abode of Hindu Goddess Mata Adi Shakti or Durga, Vaishno Devi. From Jammu airport, it is 48 km from Katra. From here pilgrims have to trek up to Mata Ka Bhavan or Vaishno Devi shrine. Every year hundreds of pilgrims throng the temple for a darshan of the Goddess. It is a captivating experience. From here devotees are also treated to a magnificent view of the Himalayas.