The charming state of Jammu was founded by King Jambu Lochan in the 14th century and has been the seat of the powerful Dogra dynasty in the bygone times. Enclosed by the snow-capped Pir Panjal Mountains, Jammu is blessed with such awe-inspiring beauty which has rendered many painters and poets speechless. It is a land where the ancient and pristine Tawi River flows in full vigour, where the gods and goddess continue to dwell in their full splendour and where you can never have enough of the touristy places that have been present since centuries.
In our list of places to see in Jammu is Raghunath Temple, consisting of seven different Hindu shrines. The complex dates back to the beginning of the nineteenth century when it was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Each of the temples in the complex has a similar spire, differentiated by height. The architectural style here seems to show a blend of Sikh and Mughal styles. Other than the facade and overall look of the temples, the paintings inside them catch the attention as they depict chapters of Mahabharat, Bhagavad Geeta, and Ramayana.
Entry fee: None
Timing: 6 am – 8 pm
Amar Mahal Palace
The Amar Mahal Palace is a palace in Jammu, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, India, which has now been converted into a Museum. It was built in the nineteenth century for Raja Amar Singh, a Dogra king by a French architect on the lines of a French Chateau. The palace was donated to the Hari-Tara charitable trust by Dr. Karan Singh for use as a museum.It has many exhibits including a golden throne weighing 120 kg, Pahari miniature and Kangra miniature paintings, a library of 25,000 antique books and many rare art collections.
The palace was the last official residence of the Dogra dynasty, and a large collection of portraits of the royal family are also on display in the Museum.
Bahu Fort – Bave Wali Mata Temple
Located only 5 km from the central part of the city, the Bahu Fort stands tall and sturdy on the left bank of the Tawi River. Raja Bahucholan constructed this magnificent fort over 3000 years ago, making it one of the oldest monument in the city. The Dogra rulers then made some restorations and renovations to the fort and extended its reach.
This fort is also famous for its Goddess Kali temple. The people of Jammu worship Goddess Kali, a reincarnation of Goddess Parvati and a potent symbol of motherly love enhanced by insurmountable feminine energy. Inside the Bahu Fort is a temple dedicated to the great Goddess Kali. The locals often refer to this temple as Bave Wali Mata Temple.
Mubarak Mandi Palace
The current design of Mubarak Mandi Palace is a culmination of the efforts of the Dogra rulers throughout 150 years. Steeped in history, this grand palace complex once served as the royal residence of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. The architecture of the palace, which is an exemplary confluence of Baroque, Rajasthani, European and Mughal styles, is truly awe-inspiring.
Several well-decorated courtyards, old buildings and palatial palaces could be found within the complex. Worth-mentioning among the palaces is Darbar Hall, Gol Ghar, Pink Palace, Nawa Mahal, Rani Charak Palace, Toshakhana Palace, Hawa Mahal and Sheesh Mahal. Bedecked with exquisite glasswork, Sheesh Mahal is the most eye-catching section of the complex.
The galleries and spacious halls in the palaces were used for conducting official ceremonies. Featuring an extensive collection of artefacts and paintings detailing the imperial history of the region, the Dogra Art Museum, located within the Pink Hall, is another major highlight.
The Mansar lake near Jammu city is one of the most famous adventure tourism destinations in India. Mansrover, is also called as Mansar. The Mansar lake is about 20 km from National Highway No. 1A. Road to Mansar Lake starts from just near Samba on National Highway No. 1A.
The history of Mansar dates back to the time of Mahabhartata.The son of Arjun and Ulpi, (who was the daughter of King Nag), named Babar Vahan, was the ruler of this region during the ancient times of Mahabhartata. It was post the war, that Arjun who proved his mettle and superiority over this land by performing the Yagya named “Ashwamegh Yagya. The power symbol of Ashwamegh Yagya, which was a horse, was captured by Babar Vahan at village ‘khoon’ nearby village Ramkot on Dhar Udhampur road where later Arjun was murdered by Babar Vahan. Being victorious, Babar Vahan wanted to share his success with his mother and presented the head of Arjun to her.
It was then that she revealed that he had killed his father. After knowing the fact that Arjun was Babar’s father, he wanted to bring Arjun back to life for which he had to procure the Mani from Sheshnag. It was then that Babar Vahan made a tunnel with his arrow, which was called the “Surangsar”. This is now named as Surinsar. After defeating Sheshnag and capturing the Mani, he came out at Manisar which is known as Mansar now, which was the other end of the tunnel.
About 42 kilometres from the main town of Jammu rests the sublime Surinsar Lake. This is one of the most beautiful lakes near Jammu – the other one being Mansar Lake – located 9 kilometres from Surinsar. The beauty and charm of Surinsar Lake lie in the heavily forested hills, the tranquil surroundings and the abundant fauna, avifauna and flora populating the region. Right in the middle of the lake is a teeny-weeny island, and the banks are perfect for a picnic or meditation. As per a legend associated with this lake, once upon a time, the matchless archer Arjuna, the hero of Mahabharata, had shot an arrow from his illustrious bow into the ground of Mansar. The arrow pierced the earth and travelled all the way to resurface through a place which later came to be known as Surang Sar (Surang means underground tunnel). In this age, the lake is known as Surinsar. A dip in the lake and boating are discouraged due to some religious beliefs.
Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary
Witness the wide variety of flora and fauna in Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary and explore the splendor of nature at its best. The basic facilities at the wildlife sanctuary deserves a special mention here, the cafe inside the premises is very good with loads of nice dining options and the toilets are sparkling clean.
The largest underground aquarium in the Indian subcontinent, Bagh-e-Bahu aquarium in Jammu is one of the most popular attractions here that attracts tourists in huge numbers. The place is equally popular amidst locals as well as tourists that it houses an amazing collection of exotic marine life. Awareness centre cum aquarium, it consists of 24 aquarium caves wherein 2 large caves have marine fishes, 13 smaller ones have freshwater fishes and 9 medium-sized caves have both freshwater and marine fishes. The aquarium displays around 400 varieties of freshwater and marine fishes. Some fish species that can be spotted hear include sucker catfish, Pirhana, shark catfish, labeo rohita, neon jewel, cyprinus carpio, bubble eye, red shiner and more.
The center also consists of a museum, a public gallery, a multimedia conference hall, state-of-art equipments and laboratory. While the entrance of the aquarium is in the shape of a fish’s mouth, the exit is like a fish tail. The aquarium was inaugurated on 14th July, 2007.
Bhimgarh Fort – Reasi
When speaking of Jammu attractions, Bhimgarh Fort (Reasi Fort) is mentioned often. This hill fort is perched 150 meters above ground and there are different attractions here, including a temple, pond and opulent rooms. In its initial days, it was built using clay and was later reconstructed using stones, by Maharaja Rishipal Rana. A visit to this remnant will make you travel back in time, leaving you in utter awe.
In the quaint town of Akhnoor, about 28 kilometres away from Jammu city, lies the majestic Akhnoor Fort. The Chenab River, flowing close to the fort, enhances the beauty of the place. Started by Mian Tej Singh in 1762 A.D., the construction of the fort took 40 years to complete.
Built across two floors, this structure features arches and beautiful mural paintings. Besides, the huge walls, bastions, watch-towers, battlements and merlons are quite a sight to behold.