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Jammu and Kashmir is a Union Territory located in the northern part of India. Jammu being the winter capital, is known as the city of temples. It is believed that Jammu was originally built by Raja Jamboo Lochan in the 14th century. He named the city ‘Jamboo‘ after his own name but with the passage of time, the name slightly changed into ‘Jammu‘ as its current name. Tourism is one of the largest industry in Jammu city. Jammu attracts tourists for its famous scenic beauty, historic forts and famous hindu shrine temples. So throughout the year, the city remains full of people from all the parts of India.
If you are eager to know about the temples to visit in Jammu, then you are at the right page. In this article, we are going to enlist the Top 10 temples to visit in Jammu.
Vaishno Devi Temple
Vaishno Devi Temple is one of the most visited Hindu Shrine in the world. It is located in Katra which comes under Reasi District. It is dedicated to Goddess Vaishnavi. Goddess Vaishnavi is the combined energies of Goddess Parvati, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati. Vaishno Devi Temple is on the top of Trikuta Hills and situated at the height of 1516m above sea level. Trikuta hills is also known as the 2nd home of Goddess Durga. The Yatris have to trek nearly 12 km away from the base camp Katra to reach Vaishno Devi Temple and one could also go by horse and palki. The best way to reach there is through helicopters. Vaishno Devi Temple is open for pilgrims throughout the year but the best to visit the temple is between the months of March and October. Since 1986, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board administers Vaishno Devi Temple which comes under JKTDC (Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation).
Bahu Fort is a very ancient temple of Jammu. It is on the bank of river Tawi in Jammu. It was built by Raja Bahu Lochan who was the younger brother of Raja Jamboo Lochan over 3000 years ago. It is dedicated to Goddess Mahakali. Bahu Fort Temple remains open throughout the year, the timings to visit the temple is between 5 am to 10 pm. This Fort also has a beautiful garden called Bagh-e-bahu situated outside the Bahu Fort and it also has a small lake in the garden for boating. This fort also has the largest underground fish aquarium of the Country. Bahu Fort is locally known as ‘Bawe Wali Mata Temple’. A very popular festival known as ‘Bahu Mela’ is celebrated twice a year during Navratri for 9 days in between March-April and September-October in Bahu Fort. The whole fort during Mela is decorated with flowers, red cloth, coconut etc. and also sweets are made to make special offerings to the deity in the temple.
Raghunath Temple was built by the first Dogra ruler Maharaja Gulab Singh and later completed by his son Maharaja Ranbir Singh. Raghunath Temple is dedicated to Lord Rama (an Avatar of Lord Vishnu). It has 7 different Hindu Shrines and they have their own Shikharas. Raghunath Temple remains open on all days of the week and the timings to visit the temple is between 6 am to 8 pm. This temple has many paintings under the shrine and the theme of those paintings are derived from Ramayan, Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita. Maharaja Ranbir Singh also built a Sanskrit library inside the temple which is a significant scholarly source for Sharada Script and one of the largest collections of Hindu and Buddist texts of the Kashmir tradition. A portrait of Maharaja Ranbir Singh sits at the entrance of the temple along with the portrait of Lord Hanuman. The inner walls of the Raghunath Temple are covered with gold sheets on three sides and have many galleries where various saligrams are placed. A very attractive feature of Raghunath Temple is that the temple has almost all the images of Hindu God and Goddess placed there.
Peer Kho Temple
Peer Kho Temple is one of the famous oldest cave temples in Jammu and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was built by Raja Ajaib Dev. Peer Kho Temple has a naturally formed Shivling inside the temple revered by the locals and tourists and the timings to visit the temple is between 5 am to 7 pm. It is also known as a ‘Jambavantha Cave‘ because it is believed that Ramayana’s character Jamvant, who helped Lord Ram against Lord Ravana in Ramayana meditated in this cave. The festival of Shivratri is celebrated here with great enthusiasm. During the time of the festival, the temple is thronged by numerous devotees to seek the blessing of Lord Shiva.
Amar Mahal Palace
Amar Mahal Palace is a famous tourist attraction of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a palace which has now been converted into a Museum. It was built in the 19th century for Raja Amar Singh by a French Architect but also has a European and a Greek Architect. It has the most attractive exhibit of a Golden throne weighing 120 kgs solid gold. The throne is well protected and kept inside a locked room but it is visible through the panels. It also has a library with a beautiful collection of books based on historical and cultural events. Amar Mahal Palace was the last official residence of the Dogra Dynasty in Jammu and Kashmir. Later when the palace was converted into a Museum, it was inaugurated by the Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975 was opened for the general public. The timings to visit the museum is between 10 am to 12 pm and between 3 pm to 7 pm except Monday. One has to pay a small amount for the ticket and there will be a guide who will be telling you all about the histories of Maharajas and their families. Amar Mahal Palace also has an attraction of Pahari, Kangra and Dogri paintings.
Ranbireshwar Temple is the largest North India Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the most visited temples of Jammu and Kashmir. It was built by Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1883. The main feature of Ranbireshwar Temple is that the Shiva lingam measuring 8 feet in height is placed in the centre sanctum of the temple.
In addition to that, Ranbireshwar Temple also has 1.25 lakh bona lingams of Lord Shiva brought from Narmada River. The timings to visit the temple is between 6 am to 8 pm. Ranbireshwar Temple also has a park on the backside of the temple named as Yasho Karan Park which was inaugurated by Former Chief Minister Sheila Dixit. The temple walls have marble images of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and the galleries of the temple are adorned by thousands of Saligrams and religious shells.
Dogra Art Museum
Dogra Art Museum is a government museum of Dogra Culture Heritage situated in the Pink Hall of the Mubarak Mandi Complex, Jammu. The Museum was inaugurated by the first president of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad on 18 April 1954 at the Gandhi Bhawan, Jammu as the Dogra Art Gallery. The main attraction of the museum is the rare Pahari miniature paintings from Basohli. It has a collection of 7216 objects of historical and cultural importance and also some amazing Dogra Portraits. The museum is open from 10 am in the morning till 5 pm. It remains closed on Mondays. Entry fee of Rs. 5 per person for children and Rs. 10 per person for adults is required to enter the museum premises. One of the major attractions at the museum is the gold plated bow and arrow that belonged to the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Also, some handwritten manuscripts of Sikandar Nama and Shahnama in Persian are placed in the Dogra Art Museum. The museum remains open on all days except on Monday. The Dogra Art Museum is a perfect site for researchers and students who are interested to know the history of Dogra Kings.
The Akhnoor Fort is one of the famous historic testimonies belonging to the early 19th century. It is on the right bank of Chenab River and was constructed by Raja Tegh Singh in 1762 and completed by his successor Raja Alam Singh in 1802. Akhnoor Fort has been under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) since 1982 and has been declared a national monument protected under the Monument Act, 1958.
The timings to visit the fort is between 9 am to 8 pm daily. The fort has high fortification walls at regular intervals and is crowned with battlements. The walls of the fort have Mural paintings. Murals are the artworks that are painted directly on the walls, ceiling or any permanent surfaces.
Mansar Lake is one of the famous tourist attractions of Jammu and Kashmir. The lake is a very beautiful place to visit and feel the beauty of nature, especially during the evening hours in summer and noon hours in winters. There is also a temple situated on the opposite side of the entrance gate to the Lake which is visited by devotees in large numbers. On the Eastern Bank of the Lake there is a shrine to Sheshnag (a snake with six heads) and mostly the people who go there perform three circumambulations (‘Parikrama’) around the lake to seek the blessings of Sheshnag. The devotees visit the place during festive occasions in large numbers to take a holy dip in the lake. Mansar Lake also has a Wildlife sanctuary nearby where one can Spot Deer, Nilgai and other water birds such as Cranes, Ducks etc.
‘Khori’ means cave and ‘Shiva Khori’ thus denotes Shiva’s cave. Shiv Khori is a famous cave of Hindu Shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and attracts thousands of devotees every year. It is located at Ransoo, a village in Reasi district, 80 km away from Katra. This natural cave is 200 metres long and is popularly known for its naturally formed ‘lingam’. A very popular festival called ‘Shiv Khori Mela’ also takes place in the month of February or during the first week of March every year for 3 days and thousands of devotees visit this cave at the time of festival to seek blessings of Lord Shiva. An exit tunnel was also constructed by the Shri Shivkhori Shrine Board this year in February to avoid the rush and to have a smooth darshan of Lord Shiva.
Hope, you find this article interesting. If you have any more temples to add in this list, feel free to share with us in the comment section below.