The city of Jammu is named after Jambu Lochan, the brother of Bahu, a powerful local chieftain who ruled during the ninth century. It is said that on becoming king, 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, decided to build his capital, Jambupura, on this soil, on the right bank of the Tawi overlooking his brother king Bahu's fort. Jambupura later came to be known as Jammu.
Through the middle ages, Jammu prospered. Changes of rule at Delhi or Lahore passed over without disturbing the affluence of the town. The fertile cultivable land around the town constantly generated wealth and unlike many medieval towns, Jammu was never depopulated. The town was also a major stopover for caravans on the trade routes to Kashmir, Asia Minor and beyond and was a base for the fabled Silk Route.
The state of Jammu & Kashmir, which was earlier under the rule of Hindus and Muslims, came under the rule of Mughals under emperor Akbar. After the period of Afghan rule from 1756, it was annexed to the Sikh kingdom of the Punjab in 1819. In 1846, Ranjit Singh made over the territory of Jammu to Maharaja Gulab Singh and Jammu and Kashmir came into being as a single political and geographical entity following the Treaty of Amritsar between the British Government and Gulab Singh signed on March 16, 1846.
Since then, the state remained under the Dogra rule till the time India gained independence. At the time of independence, like all the state, Jammu and Kashmir was also given the option of either joining India or Pakistan. However, the then ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh decided not to exercise the option immediately but had to sign the instrument of accession when Pakistan attacked the territory later the same year.
Amar Mahal Museum
Amar Mahal, constructed by King Raja Amar of Dogra in 1890s, is planned by a French architect and looks like a French chateau with Indian artisans. This beautiful architectural monument served as the Royal family residence for many years. It was made out of red sand stone. Later the palace was turned to museum with rich collections of paintings, books, inscriptions and sculptures.
Durbar hall of the museum is very attractive and is adorned with family portraits of rulers of Jammu and Kashmir along with magnificient Pahari paintings. The exhibits like throne of Maharaja Hari Singh, made of 120 kg solid gold, are spectacular.
The library in Amar Mahal Museum has more than twenty thousand books collected during the last 50 years. The collection also comprises of some exceptional volumes from the library of Raja Amar Singh.
The impressive structure Bahu Fort is amazing due to its construction itself and is the oldest fort in Jammu city. The fort renovated by rulers of Dogra in a later period, was constructed by Raja Bahulochan, nearly 300 years back.
A majestic garden, known as Bagh-e-Bahu with extensive lawns beautifully filled with flowers and plants is a favorite picnic spot and surrounds the Bahu Fort. The garden has all types of attractions ranging from plants, shrubs, big trees and flowers to waterfalls.
The local people spend their weekends here and the magnificent place is really a nice place to seek clam and cool relaxation. During the dusk, the enviable sight of sunset and the snow colored water flow of Tawi River can be viewed from Fort.
The renowned Bawey Wali Mata Temple is placed interior to the fort and the temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali.
Bawey Wali Mata Temple
The renowned Bawey Wali Mata Temple is placed in the interiors of the Bahu Fort and the temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali. It is assumed that this famous temple is constructed in 1822, immediately after Maharaja Gulab Singh took the throne of the Kingdom.
The local folks believed that this Goddess, Bawey Wali Mata, is the presiding deity of the whole region of Jammu. Lots of devotees throng to this temple offering prayers on Tuesdays and Sundays. It is strongly believed that the Bawey Wali Mata has mystical powers and the temple is second only to Mata Vaishno Devi temple.
The highly renowned shopping market in Jammu is named after the erstwhile Raja of Jammu - Hari Singh, the last ruler of Jammu and Kashmir and the man instrumental for the merger of Jammu in Indian Union. Hari market is well known for traditional Dogra jewelleries, Kashmiri handicrafts and various dry fruits. Dry fruits are of great attention in this market, mainly walnuts and almonds. The shops in Hari market offers good quality basmati rice, dried mango peels, rajma and barfi.
Mahamaya temple is a monument for the local heroine of Dogra community, who fought against the foreign invaders and sacrificing her life for the cause nearly 14 centuries ago. The temple is placed such that it overlooks the River Tawi and is opposite the Bahu Fort. The temple is located in a scenic place and the surroundings are picturesque.
Mansar lake, with its length more than a mile and width half-a-mile, is a very attractive lake in the midst of lusting greeneries surrounded by forest-covered hills. It is considered as a very holy site known from mythological periods sharing the sanctity and legacy of Mansa Sarovar. It is a very popular base of tourists.
A temple for a snake god, Sheshnag, is located on the banks of lake. It is believed that it is auspicious for newly wed couples to seek blessings of Sheshnag by performing three parikarma around the lake. Holy dip in the Mansar Lake is assumed to be purifying the sins.
A temple of Durga and two other ancient temples Narasimha and Parvathi Shiva (Umapati Mahadev) are located in the close proximity of the Mansar Lake. Mansar Lake is an ideal spot for boating, amidst the lusting greeneries of Jammu. There is a wildlife sanctuary nearby.
Mubarak Mandi Palace
A palace complex having a history of more than 150 years, Mubarak Mandi Palace, was the royal residence of the erstwhile Dogra Kings. A very beautiful architecture, blended with Baroque, Mugal, Rajasthani and European styles, attracts the tourists invariantly to this spot. The most striking section is the Sheesh Mahal. The pink hall in this palace houses the Dogra art museum displaying many valued paintings.
The galleries and the beautifully decorated halls have witnessed many ceremonies and official functions. This complex, surrounding a beautiful courtyard and a fabulous garden, was the venue for many significant proceedings involving common people and royal audience. The palace site has an imposing view of Tawi river and old city built on the hillock.
Presently Mubarak Mandi Palace is an archaeologically and historically valuable monument and comprises many government offices and courts.
Peer Baba Dargah
Peer Baba, the dargah of a legendary figure Peer Budhan Ali Shah, is a very crowded destination of believers. This Muslim saint is assumed to be lived upto the age of 500 years by supporting his life entirely on milk.
The saint was a close friend of the tenth and the last guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh. Irrespective of caste and religion, believers throng this place on Thursdays to offer prayers and respect to the legendary saint.
Peer Kho Cave Temple
A cave temple of Lord Shiva, Peer Khoh Temple has its main deity as Swayambhu Shivling. This shrine is also known as Jamawant Cave located nearby river Tawi.
The temple, placed in the midst of acacia forest and igneous rocks, is supposed to be the one of the historic and ancient shrine in the Shivalik region. It is said that this cave is the gateway to some other caves and shrines, which are placed outside India.
A large number of devotees visit this cave temple during Shivaratri festival. Aap Shambu Temple, Ranbireshwar Temple and Panjbakhtar Temple are nearby pilgrim places.
The bazaar renowned for its age-old dry fruit shops, Reghunath Bazaar is a busy market wherein one can get designer boutiques and the shops showcases the very modern in fashion and accessories.
This market is also well known for traditional Dogra jewelleries and Kashmiri handicrafts. Dry fruits are of great attention in this market, mainly walnuts and almonds. Those who like sweet burfis, this is a place to be visited.
Raghunath Temple, constructed by Maharaja Gulab Singh and his son Maharaja Ranbir Singh starting in 1851 and finishing in 1857, is in the midst of a temple complex including Panjbakhtar Temple and Ranbireshwar Temple. The lovely temple complex consisting seven historical shrines adorned with a tower. The chief deities in these temples are different incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Lord Surya and Lord Shiva.
The Mughal architectural style is prevalent in these temples, amply shown by the arches, niches and surfaces. An image of the king Ranbir Singh and an idol of Lord Hanuman are placed in the entrance. Gold plated interiors are lovely.
It houses many mammoth statues of deities and a large number of ‘lingams' (altar representing Lord Shiva). The temple is renowned for its revered inscriptions. A Sanskrit library, contains the rarest and richest collections of manuscripts and ancient books, is functioning in the temple. It is a perfect religious place in which historians find more valuable materials.
An ancient shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, Ranbireshwar Temple, is located in the beautiful Jammu valley. The shrine is constructed in 1883 by Maharaja Ranabir Singh. The temple enshrines an eight feet long Shivalingam. It also houses a dozen Shivlings made out of crystal of varying heights. Stone slabs with many Shivlings fixed are seen in galleries.
Whipping calm, the feature of the beautiful lake Surinsar, located in the proximity of Jammu, is extra ordinary. Surrounded by thick forests in the backdrop of hilly terrains, the lake is a much loved picturesque tourist spot in Jammu region. Blossomed with lotus flowers, the lake looks like water based lotus garden in summer.
Hindu mythology points the origination of the lake to the legendary warrior Arjuna. It is believed that he shot an arrow to the Mansar land and the arrow pierced the earth and came out through at a place in Surinsar, hence both the lakes are formed .