Jammu is the second largest city of the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and is also its winter capital. Divided into two separate cities, the old town of Jammu is located on a hilltop overlooking the river Tawi while the new town is situated across the river, several kilometers away.
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.
Fairs & Festivals
There is no city specific festival of Jammu as such. Normally, all the Hindu and other religious festivals are celebrated here with gaiety. However, what makes any celebration in Jammu different is the traditional dance and music of the Dogra Pahari region of Jammu. These songs and dances are performed on the occasion of feasts, festivals and marriages by the rural folk of this region. Men and women clad in their traditional costumes, participate in this musical revelry.
Besides, every year during Baisakhi in the month of April, a food and craft festival is organized near the Mansar Lake by the JKTDC.
Best Time to Visit
Being near the Himalayas, the climate of the entire area is cold though summers are markedly warm. The temperatures range from 26.2°C to 4.3° C in winters and from 43.0°C to 23.4°C during summers. The recommended clothing for winters would be heavy/medium woolens while light cottons would be the best for summers in Jammu. Summers in Jammu are a sweltering, uncomfortable contrast to the cool climes of Kashmir. However, from October onwards, it becomes quite pleasant.
How to Reach
BY AIR -Jammu is well connected with the rest of the country by all the major means of transport. The city is accessible by air and the city has an airport. A number of flights are available to and from several of the major cities in the country.
BY RAIL -Jammu Tawi is the main railhead that has a number of trains for most of the important towns and cities of the country. Moreover, the longest rail route that stretches from Jammu Tawi to Kanyakumari and touches almost all the main cities and towns of the country, originates from here.
BY ROAD -One can easily reach Jammu by the National Highway 1A that goes from Punjab and runs through this city, connecting it to the rest of the state including the capital Srinagar. We would provide you all India tourist permit vehicles for the local transportations and also for the intercity drives too.
Most of the tourists who come to the Jammu region have the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine as their destination, which is quite close by. However, the spirit of holiness permeates through the entire city, so much so that Jammu is also known as the 'City of Temples'. If Bahu Mata is the presiding deity of Jammu, the dargah of Peer Budhan Ali Shah is the other shrine that s believed to protect Jammuites. The other major tourist attraction is the Ragunath Temple Complex, which is the largest temple in North India devoted to Lord Ram. The construction of this temple was begun by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1851 and completed by his son Ranbir Singh six years later.
The temple of Maha Kali (better known as Bahu or Bawey Wali Mata), located in the Bahu fort, is considered second only to Mata Vaishno Devi in terms of mystical power. The present temple was built shortly after the coronation of Maharaja Gulab Singh, in 1822. The existing fort, as well as the Manasabdar's palace inside it, were constructed in 1820 and are major tourist attractions of the city.
Other temples in the city include the Gauri Kund temple, Shudh Mahadev temple, Shiva temple, Peer Khoh Cave temple, Ranbireshwar temple and the Parmandal temple complex.
The most stunning site in Jammu is the Sheesh Mahal. The Pink Hall of the palace now houses the Dogra Art Museum, which has miniature paintings of the various hill schools. The museum also has the hand written Persian manuscripts of the Shahnama and Sikandernama. The palace was once the royal residence of the Dogra kings. Built as a group of buildings around a courtyard, the palace has a commanding view of river Tawi on one side and the city on the other.
The Amar Mahal Palace Museum is a beautiful palace of red sandstone, which stands amidst the most picturesque environs of Jammu. There is beautiful view of the Shivaliks in the north and river Tawi flows to the south adding to the grandeur. This was once the residential palace of Raja Amar Singh but now has been converted into a museum and is looked after by Hari-Tara Charitable trust. The museum has a golden throne made of 120 kg of pure gold.
A treat for those interested in history is the town of Akhnoor, 32 km southwest of Jammu. Standing on the banks of the mighty river Chenab, the town tells the tragic tale of the lovers Sohni and Mahiwal. Also along the riverbank are the majestic ruins of the Indus-Valley Civilization that are of great historical importance and command a beautiful view of the area around.
The Jujjar Kotli Tourist Complex, built on the banks of Jujjar rivulet, is at a distance of 35 km from Jammu. The crystal clear, cool water of Jujjar attracts picnickers in large numbers during the summer. A tourist cafeteria, a bar and a small tourist bungalow are the facilities provided here by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC).
Places Around Jammu
The Mansar Lake, situated 60 km away from Jammu is a beautiful lake fringed by forest-covered hills. Boating facilities are available here. Another attraction here is the Surinsar Mansar Wildlife, named after the two lakes on each corner of it. The sanctuary is spread over an area of 98 sq km and is home to species like the goral, wild boar, barking deer, leopard and a multitude of birds like, black partridge, red jungle fowl, peafowl, gray partridge, green pigeon, blue rock pigeon, Rufus turtle dove etc. Besides these, the forest area also houses some rare species of trees and orchids.
The small town Katra is 50 km away from Jammu and serves as the base camp for those visiting the holy shrine of Mata Vaishnodevi in the Trikuta Hills. The shrine can be reached on foot after traversing a 12 km long well laid footpath. Every year, nearly four million pilgrims pass through Katra on their way to the shrine. Accommodation in all the ranges is available for the pilgrims.
Kud is at a distance of 106 km from Jammu. This popular resort is situated on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, at an altitude of 1,738 meters. An ideal picnic spot, this place has a beautiful climate. Heavy woolens are required in winters while light/medium clothing is required in summers here. It is a very well developed hill station in the Udhampur district.
Patnitop is 112 km from Jammu. This famous hill resort is perched on a beautiful plateau, at an altitude of 2,024 meters across which the Jammu-Srinagar Highway passes. Enveloped by thickly wooded forests, Patnitop offers beautiful picnic spots, peaceful walks and breathtaking views of the mountains and the Chenab basin. In winter, the resort is generally covered with a thick blanket of snow thus providing opportunities for various adventure sports like skiing.
Sanasar is cup shaped meadow surrounded by gigantic conifers, situated at a distance of 119 km from Jammu. The right place for a quite holiday, the meadow has now been developed as a golf course. It also provides facilities for paragliding.
Batote, 125 km from Jammu, is situated at an altitude of 1,560 metres on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and is a popular health resort. Due to the panoramic view of the scenic areas around and the facilities provided for the tourists, this place is a favorite with travelers.