|Amongst the temples in Jammu, the Raghunath Temple (Mandir) takes pride of place being situated right in the heart of the city.
Raghunath Temple: 130 years old it is the largest temple complex in northern India. The temple work started by Maharaja Gulab Singh, founder of the Kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir in 1835 AD was completed by his son Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1860 AD.
Situated at the city center the inner walls of the main temple are covered with gold sheet on three sides while the interiors of the temple are plated with gold. There are many galleries of saligrams. The Temple is dedicated to various Gods and Goddesses connected with the epic Ramayana which make it a rare site to behold. The temple consists of seven shrines, each with a tower of its own. The main sanctuary is dedicated to Lord Vishnu’s eighth incarnation the Rama.
Bave Wali Mata (Goddess Mahakali):
The Bahu fort today serves as a religious temple is situated on the left bank of the river Tawi. This is perhaps the oldest fort constructed originally by Raja Bahulochan over 3,000 years ago. The temple inside is dedicated to the Goddess Kali popularly known as Bave wali Mata.
Bave Wali Mata is the presiding deity of Jammu . Tuesday and Sunday are special days for worship for the devotees. Fort is surrounded by a beautiful terraced garden.
The famous temple of Bawey Wali Mata inside the Bahu Fort is also known as the temple of Mahakali Goddess and is considered second only to Mata Vaishno Devi.
Mahamaya Temple and City Forest:
On the bypass Road, behind Bahu Fort, the city forest surrounds the ancient Mahamaya temple overlooking the river Tawi. A small garden surrounded by acres of woods provides the best view of the city.
The Peer Kho cave temple overlooking the Tawi river, the Panchbakhtar Temple and the Ranbireshwar Temple are the other well known Shiva temples in Jammu. Each has its own legend, its devotees and specific days of worship.
In Ranbireshwar Temple, there are twelve Shiva ‘lingams’ of crystal measuring 12″ to 18″ and galleries with thousands of ‘saligrams’ fixed on stone slabs. Other important temples in Jammu are the Lakshmi Narayan temple, Duda Dhari temple and the Panj Mandir in Gandhi Nagar.
About 62 km from Jammu, Mansar is a beautiful lake sounded by forest-covered hills with its length more than a mile and width half-a-mile. Besides being a popular excursion destination in Jammu, it also has provision for boating for which adequate facilities are provided by the J&K Tourism.
Mansar is a holy site as well, sharing the legend and sanctity of Lake Mansarovar. There are ancient temples on the lake side, which are often visited by devotees in large numbers. Some Hindus from the region perform Mundan (First hair cut) ceremony of the male baby here.
Mansar can be reached from Jammu on the National Highway while traveling from Jammu to bordering state of Punjab. You can also reach from Udhampur (A District Headquarters, Udhampur is a town approximately 60 Kilometers away from Jammu on the National Highway while traveling from Jammu to Srinagar) on National Highway 1A.
The holy cave shrine of Vaishno devi is situated in a beautiful recess of the Trikuta Mountains forming a part of the lower Himalayas at an altitude of over 5000 feet. In the cave there are images of three deities viz. the Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati. For the devotees it is a journey to peace and solace. For nature lovers it is an excursion amidst breathtaking scenic beauty.
Amar Mahal Palace Museum:
Amar Mahal building was planned in 1862 by a French architect, based on the lines of a French Chateau heavily influenced by the Queen Anne style. As a result one can’t deny the overwhelmingly European “feel” of the place. This palace was the residence of the Royal Family, Maharani Tara Devi, wife of late Maharaja Hari Singh. Situated atop a hill at the northern end of the city, the Amar Mahal Museum offers a commanding view of the river Tawi and the Shivalik ranges towards the north.
Stones have been used to decorate the walls as it stands out against the red bricks. The top floor has a bay window while the first floor has French windows and a small balcony. Three sides of the building have a long corridor covered by a sloping corrugated tin roof resting on a wooden framework and the coupled columns supporting the wooden framework. One can even find triangular projections typical of classical Greek architecture supported by ornate false columns over some of the windows.
Amar Mahal has Art Galleries that promote Indian art and artists. These Galleries present a splendorous picture in informal surroundings and has collection of paintings that range over different styles including Kangra style of Indian miniatures paintings. The collection includes works of some of the renowned artists like M.F. Hussain, J.Swaminathan, G. R. Santosh, Bikash Battacharjee, Ram Kumar, Laxman Pai and many others.
Nala Damayanti Gallery displays a set of forty-seven exquisite paintings made in the world famous style of Indian miniature painting that came up in the late eighteenth century, known as Kangra Ki Kalam visually narrates the love of Nala and Damayanti and stops at Damayanti’s Svayamvara (wedding ceremony). Dash-Avatar Gallery has oil paintings based on the unique theme of reincarnations of Lord Vishnu, the Hindu deity revered as the preserver of life. The paintings depict the incarnation of Vishnu chronologically as described in the Vishnu Purana (a Hindu religious text). Contemporary Art Gallery houses the works of art by the eminent contemporary artists of India .
The Amar Mahal Museum is open form 10 a.m to 12 noon & 3 p.m to 5 p.m (winter); 5 p.m to 7 p.m. (summer); Sundays: 10 a.m to 12 noon. Closed on state holidays and Mondays
This holy cave is nearly a kilometre long and houses a 4 ft high, naturally formed ‘Shivling’. It is considered second only to the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi in religious importance. There are stalactites and stalagmites dripping milky limestone water. Situated at a distance of about 130 kms from Jammu and about 80 kms from Katra, Shiv Khori hosts a major fair during the ‘Shivratri’ festival every year.
Shiv Khori Festival :
Shiv Khori Festival is being celebrated on the eve of Maha Shivratri from February 22nd to 24th, 2009. Lakhs of pilgrims from different parts of the country visit this Cave Shrine to seek blessings of Lord Shiva.
The Holy Cave of Shiv Khori Shrine:
Dedicated to the Lord Shiva, the Shiv Khori Shrine is situated on a hillock in Ransoo village of Tehsil Reasi of the Udhampur District in Jammu region of the Jammu & Kashmir state. Vehicles go up to village Ransoo, surrounded by lush green mountains. Pilgrims have to traverse about 3 kms track from Ransoo by foot. The Shiv Khori Shrine can be approached by road from Katra, Udhampur and Jammu. The Road Distance of Village Ransoo is approximately 130 Kilometers from Jammu and approximately 80 Kilometers from Katra (the base camp of Mata Vaishno Deviji)
In view of the increasing number of pilgrims during the Maha Shivratri Mela, the Shiv Khori Shrine Board has taken up a number of steps to provide more and more facilities to the devotees. The state government administration takes up this task every year to ensure the smooth conduct of the Yatra. The administration keeps a regular check on the langers operating during the festival days for ensuring better eating facilities to the pilgrims and proper security arrangements for the pilgrims coming to take part in Shiv Khori
About 112 kms from Jammu, the famous hill resort of Patnitop is perched on a beautiful plateau, at an altitude of 2024 m, across which the Jammu-Srinagar highway passes. Enveloped by thickly wooded forests, Patnitop offers beautiful picnic spots, peaceful walks and breathtaking views of the valley of the Chenab basin and the Pir Panjal range beyond. In winter (mid Dec. to mid Feb.), the resort is generally covered with snow, thus providing opportunities for arious winter sports including amateur skiing.
Further ahead, at a distance of about 19 Kms from Patnitop, is Sanasar (2079 m), a satellite resort of Patnitop, with a cup-shaped meadow surrounded by gigantic conifers. A place for a quiet holiday, the meadow has now been developed as a golf course.
Surinsar Lake is approximately 24 km from Jammu. The lake is a beautiful and peaceful site to watch. Surrounded by forests covered hilly terrains, the lake is a famous tourist spot.
According to one Hindu mythology the origination of the lake is related to the legendary warrior from Mahabharata, Arjuna. It is believed that Arjuna shot an arrow into the Mansar land and the arrow pierced the earth and came out through at a place where Surinsar Lake is.
Jammu Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation has made accommodation at this place for a comfortable stay.