The Old City
With its almost medieval charm, the old city of Srinagar has sights, smells and sounds to enchant the most jaded traveller. Its labyrinthine roads and bustling bazaars are a photographer's delight. Traditionally dressed men and women on their way to the city's many mosques and shrines, burnt brick buildings with their rich warm colour, these are some of the old city's moods which linger in the corners of a traveller's mind, long after one leaves Kashmir.
Lending the area its vitality is the presence of the river Jhelum that flows through it. Srinagar has for long been Kashmir's most important commercial town, and when one considers that boats have always been a primary means of conveyance in Kashmir, it is not difficult to see why. In time, the city has formed around the banks of the river. Today, the presence of the river Jhelum has become an integral part of the old city, despite the fact that boats are no longer so extensively used as a means of conveyance. Nine bridges span the River Jhelum, and many, many more tiny ones intersect the network of waterways that flow through the old city.
Hazratbal Mosque is located in a village of the same name on the banks of the Dal. Its pristine white marble elegance is reflected in the waters of the lake.
Hazratbal's special significance is derived from the fact that it houses a hair of the prophet Muhammad. This is displayed to the public on religious occasions, usually accompanied by fairs. Apart from these occasions, Friday prayers are offered at Hazratbal and attended by throngs of people. Hazratbal is remarkable for being the only domed mosque in Srinagar; the others having distinct pagoda like roofs. The shrine – mosque complex is situated on the western shore of the DalLake opposite Nishat Bagh and commands a grand view of the lake and the mountain beyond.
A distant view of Hazratbal
The interior courtyard of Jama Masjid
The Jama Masjid at Nowhatta, in the heart of the old city, is the other important mosque in Srinagar at which thousands of people congregate for the Friday prayers. Of imposing proportions, the mosque is built around a courtyard and is supported by 370 wooden pillars.
The hushed quiet of the mosque counterpoints the bustle of the old bazaars surrounding it. Originally built by Sultan Sikandar in 1400 AD, and enlarged by his son, Zain-ul- Abidin, it is a typical example of Indo-Saracenic architecture. Destroyed thrice by fire and rebuilt each time, the mosque, as it now stands, was repaired during the reign of Maharaja Pratap Singh.
Located in the Zadibal locality of Srinagar to the west side of the Fort, Immabara Zadibal was constructed by Kaji Chek , Minister of Sultan Mohammed Shah (1517-25 AD) around 1518-28 AD. The Immabara got desecrated by fires eleven times right from the period of Sultan Nazuk Shah by Mirza Douglat in 1548 AD till the period of Maharaja Ranbir Sing in 1872 AD. The two-storeyed structure of Imamabara has been in the oriental bricks, Maharaji bricks, over 75 square meter area with sideways floor raisings (Gulam Gardish), central zero level floor (Pokhr), gallery and four gates. Recently, the reconstruction of this historic Immambara has been takenup and is likely to be built on the pattern of Persian architecture.
The sacred temple of Shankaracharya occupies the top of the The sacred temple of Shankaracharya occupies the top of the hills known as Takht-I-Sulaiman in the south-east of Srinagar. The site dates back to 250BC. The philosopher Shankaracharya stayed at this place when he visited Kashmir ten centuries ago to revive Sanatan Dharma.
Situated on the banks of the river Jhelum, between the third and fourth bridge, it is the first mosque ever built in Srinagar. The original one was built in 1395.Shah Hamadan's full name was Mir Sayed Ali Hamadni, the surname being derived from the city of Hamadan in Persia. Shah-i-Hamdan, who came from Persia in the 13th century, was responsible for the spread of Islam in Kashmir. Khanqah-i-Mualla, on the banks of the Jhelum, was the very spot where Shah-i-Hamdan used to offer prayers. After staying in Kashmir for many years, he left for Central Asia via Ladakh.A mosque established by him at Shey (near Leh) attracts devotees from far and wide.The Khanqah is a wooden structure whose chief aesthetic feature is its beautifully carved eaves and hanging bells. The interiors are richly carved and painted, and the antique chandeliers give it an air of opulence.
Hari Parbat Fort
Hari Parbat Fort, Srinagar
The Mughal emperor's fort crowns the top of Hari Parbat hill. The fort was later developed in 18th century by an Afghan governor, Ata Mohammad Khan. The hill is considered sacred to the Hindus due to the presence of temple of Sharika, which is believed to be a form of goddess Durga or Shakti. The wall around the hill was built by Akbar in 1592-98 AD. The hill is surrounded by almond orchards, which make a lovely sight during April when the trees blossom, heralding the advent of spring in Kashmir.
On the southern side of the Hari Parbat hill is the historic shrine of Makhdoom Sahib, which is visited by people of all faiths.
Chhatti Padshahi Gurudwara
The sixth Sikh guru travelled through Kashmir, stopping to preach occasionally. A gurudwara has been built at the exact site of each of these halts. The most important one among these is Chhatti Padshahi gurudwara, situated near the Kathi Darwaza, in Rainawari, Srinagar, which is held in great reverence by devotees of all faiths.
Dastgir Sahib Shrine
Martand, located atop a plateau, close to the township of Anantnag, has a temple dedicated to Surya, the "Sun God". Built by king Laitaditya Muktapida (7th to 8th century AD), it is a medieval temple with a colonnaded courtyard and the shrine in its centre. The temple complex has 84 columns and offers a commanding view of the valley of Kashmir
The Goddess Ragnya Devi is symbolised as a sacred spring at Tula Mula village, 27 kms from Srinagar. Within the spring is a small marble temple. The devotees of the goddess fast and gather here on the eighth day of the full moon in the month of May when, according to belief, the goddess changes the colour of the spring's waters. The temple-spring complex is affectionately known as Kheer Bhawani because of the thousands of devotees who offer milk and 'kheer' to the sacred spring, which magically changes colours to warn of disaster.
The Awantipur ruins
The Awantipur ruins
Founded by Avantivarman who reigned Kashmir in the 9th century, this ancient township is 29 kms from Srinagar.
The site has two imposing temples, the larger one of Siva - Avantisvara is marked by huge walls, some half a mile beneath the town on the outskirts of village Jaubror. The subsidiary shrines are to the rear corner of the courtyard. The complex has, over the years, lost its grandeur and been reduced to ruins, though it is still visited by the devout. Half a mile up is Avantisvami - Vishnu, a better preserved, though smaller temple.
Parihaspora Budhistic Site
Parihaspora Budhistic Site
Parihaspora is situated on the karewa land 24 kms away from Srinagar on right side of Srinagar-Baramulla road. During first period of Dogra rule it used to be called pargana “Paraspur”. The ruins of Parihaspur Budhist site are presently spread over three karewa , namely: kane shahs ( main stone structure), Govrardhan & Budh karewa. This areas was developed and inhabited by famous King Lalitadita (695-731 AD) and later made it capital of Kashmir. Parihapora is presently known are kane shahr ( city of stones). The ancient ruins are seen at four places namely: Dewar Yekhmanpur, Govardhan karewa (Wudur), Teirgam & Budh karewa. It is observed by the archaeologists that this karewa land carries religious structures and palaces mainly. At the time when Parishapur would bloom as city, River Jhelum ( Vitasta) and River Sindh would meet at Naid Khai area and beyond Nigli Nallah would join to flow down in the Wular Lake ( the largest lake of Asia). Within the limits of this ancient city , the prominent structures which the King raised include: Govardhan, Mukta Keshav, Parhas Keshav, Mahavrah, Raj Vihar etc. The King has also constructed a Fort of iron brick in the city ; however, the remains of this Fort are not seen. In this city Turkish Minister of the King named Chuknan had constructed a Stupa, remains of which are still available.
The devastation of this monumental glorious city has been due to several wars between the kings and the last destruction of the city has been ascribed to Sultan Sikander ( 1379-1413 AD) though till the era of Sangram Raj ( 1003-28 AD) the structure of the Palaces and Temples has been largely in existence. Some historians say that during Kushan era (79-15 BC) Royal Bodh Vihar was constructed here and 3rd Budh Conference of Kashmir is believed to have been held here (79 BC) as evident from the inscriptions of certain stones discovered.
Harwan Buddhist Ruins
Harwan Buddhist Ruins date back to 300 AD ,as recorded in the chronicles, and is situated in North-West of Kashmir from eastern side of Shalimar Mughal Garden. The ruins are famous for Kushan period civilization. These ruins were discovered after excavation in the first quarter of 20th Century, i.e. between 1919-1929 AD, by the Archaeological Department. The position of the excavated site reveals that the settlement structures in steps. These ruins are not only unique in India but whole of the World where the habitat and living conditions of Kushan period people are seen. Henrich, an European writer, has stated that Nag Arjun the Budhist was born in the era of Kanshik who had stationed at Harwan and was all powerful..
The ancient name of Harwan was Shadarahadwan meaning woods of six saints. On the tiles discovered from the site the remnants of early civilization are evident. Properly shaped and backed tiles depict the images of such people which look similar to the people of Yarkand or Kashgar and some people are seen wearing Turkish caps and trousers. Two springs are seen closeby which would have been used for drinking water purpose. The artefacts discovered, tiles & stones etc, have been kept in the Ram Nagar Palaces Museum (Udampur-Jammu) by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Burza Hama is situated in the north-west of Kashmir, nearly 24 kms from Shalimar road Srinagar and 16 kms from Naseem Bagh Road Srinagar. It is a karewa with ancient settlement ruins dating back to Neolithic age. Excavation of this site was conducted by the Archaeological Department, Government of India, in 1961. The ancient utensils and other artefacts discovered, signifying the ancient civilization, have been kept in the National Museum, Calcutta (Kolkatta).
Burza Hama ruins are unique and first of its kind in Kashmir and elsewhere in the country and the world. This civilisation has been segregated into four phases by the archaeologists signifying mud settlements, earthen utensils, bone utensils & tools, raw bricks. The fourth & last segment meets with ancient history which is earlier to the Harwan Budhist settlement ruins of Srinagar. On stones tiles some carvings depict Hangul (Kashmir Deer) game shooting with Sun, indicating day time game.
Leh town, Tsemo Gompa, Palace, Jama Masjid. Forts & Palaces: Shey, Bazgo, Stok. Monasteries: Thiksey, Stakna, Hemis, Chemrey, Taktok, Matho, Spituk, Phyang, Likir, Alchi, Rizong, Lamayuru. Passes: Zojila, Khandongla, Changla etc. Valleys: Zanaskar, Dras & Sur (Kargil), Nubra (Leh), Maitreya Buddha statute (Kargil). High altitude lakes: Pangong, Tso Moriri, Lowan etc Tribal communities: Brokpa etec. Festivals dedicated to each Monastery. Highest peaks: Nun & Kun (Kargil).
Shey Palace, the old capital of Ladakh
15 kms south of Leh and to the west bank of river Indus is the royal Palace dating from the 1840s when the invading Dogra Forces deposed the king of Ladakh. The Palace is a rambling building where only a dozen of the 80 rooms are used. The small palace Museum (3 rooms) is worth visiting. The Gonpa was found by Lama Lhawang Lotus in 14th Century, and has some ritual mask dance (Guru Tseschu) held on the 9th and 10th day of the 1st Tibetan Month.
Shey Palace & Monastery
King Deldan Namgial (1620-1640) built Shey Palace in the beginning of the 17th century AD. The main image in the monastery is the 3 storey statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, made of copper gilt, which was made by King Deldan Namgial in the memory of his father Singay Namgial. The statue is the only one of its kind in the region.
Thiksey Gonpa, 20 kms from Leh is the most beautiful of all monasteries in Ladakh and belongs to the Gelukpa order. Sherab Zangpo of stood first build the Gonpa of stakmo. Later the nephew of Sherab Zangpo, Spon Paldan Sherab founded the Thiksey Gonpa on a hill tope to north of Indus river in 1430 AD. There are sacred shrines and many precious objects to be seen. There are eighty monks residing in the Gonpa.
45 kms from Leh on the west bank of the Indus the monastery belongs to Drugpa Order built on a green hillside surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery. It is the biggest and wealthiest monastery in Ladakh and is a must for visitor. The monastery was founded by the 1st incarnation of Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso in 1630 AD, who was invited to Ladakh by the king Singay Namgyal and was offered a religious estate throughout the region.
Chemday monastery is situated 40 kms east of Leh, the monastery is located on the mountain side and was founded 365 years ago by Lama Tagsang Raschen with the Dharma Raja Singey Namgial acting as patron. There is a sacred image of Padmaasambhava to be seen. It is one storey in height. There are furthermore many shrines.
The monastery of Takthok is situated in the village Sakti at a distance of 50 kms from Leh. Before the monastery was founded there was a meditation cave of a Mahasiddha called Kunga Phuntsog. Since the roof and walls of the monastery are all made of rock it was given that name Takthok (rock-roof)
8 Kms from Leh the monastery standing on a conical hill with 3 chapels was founded in the 11the century by Od-Ide the elder brother of Lha Lama Changchub Od. When Rinchen Zangpo, the translator came to that place, he said that an exemplary religious community would arise there and so that monastery was called Spithub (Exemplary). That time it belonged to the Kadampa School. Then during the life time of Dharmaraja takspa Bum-Lde Lama Lhawang Lotus restored the monastery and the stainless ordcer of Tsongkhapa was introduced and it has remained intact as such up till date. The Principal statue is that of the lord Buddha. Within this statue there is a sacred statue image of Amitayus about a finger length in height, presented to Takspa Bum-Lde by the great Tsongkhapa.
Likir lies at distance of 62 kms west of Leh. During the time of Lhachen Gyalpo, the fifth king of Ladakh, a religious estate, and the land on which to build the monastery, was offered to Lama Duwang Chosje, a great champion of meditation. The Lama blessed the site and in 1065 the monastery was built. The monastery was encircled by the bodies of the great serpent spirits, the Naga-rajas (Nanda & Taksako) and so its name became widely renowned as Likir (The Naga encircled).
Although there are many temples, caves and stupas built in Ladakh by Rinchen Zangpo, famously called Translator, Alchi Choskor is largest and most famous of all of them. Alchi is situated a distance of 67 kms west of Leh, founded by Rinchen Zangpo, in 1000 AD. The main image is that of Vairocana but there can also be seen the five Buddha Families together with their attendant deities. The paintings are not like the Tibetan Style but rather they are according to the Indian tradition. In order to build these temples, Rinchen Zangpo, the translator is said to have brought various biographers with him from Kashmir.
Lamayuru Monastery is situated 125 kms west of Leh. In the 11th century the Mahasiddha Naropa came to this place and the cave where he resided and meditated is still to be seen today. Then Rinchen Zangpo, the translator came to build many temples and stupas and so the teaching of the Kadampa School came to flourish greatly there. There after for many years the monastery was administered by the Zhwa-mar-pa (Red Hats), after which the Dharmaraja Jamyang Namgial offered it to Chosje Danma, when he had invited him to Ladakh.
Jama Masjid Leh
Budha Statue Maitreya
Mubarak Mandi Complex
Mubarak Mandi also called the Royal Dogra palaces have a history of more than 150 years. A very beautiful architecture, blended with Baroque, Mugal, Rajasthani and European style, attracts the tourists in large number to this spot. The most striking sections of the complex are Sheesh Maha, Rani Charak Mahal, the old Army Head Quarter, the Foreign Office and the Grey Hall where the Maharaja used to hold his Darbar. The Mubarak Mandi Complex includes the famous Dogra Art Gallery situated in the erstwhile Pink Hall. The museum is a treasure house of miniature paintings from the traditional Hill Schools of art especially the Jammu School of Art, Kangra School of Art and Basohli School of Art. The collection includes hundreds of rare pictures, a gold bow and arrow of the Mughal king Shah Jehan and also hand written Persian manuscripts of Shahnama and Sikandernama. This complex, surrounds a beautiful courtyard and a fabulous garden.
The Fort was built during the early 19th century and commands a towering view along the right bank of the Chenab. The present fort was probably started in 1762 AD at the behest of Raja Tegh Singh, as an autonomous principle state. A devastating famine is said to have broken in the country during this time. In order to provide work to his famishing people Raj Tegh Singh started the construction of Akhnoor Fort and Palace on banks of the Chenab River. He supplied food to the workers for 2 years and thus saved the principality. His son Alam Singh completed the Akhnoor fort in 1802. On the eastern side, there are steps leading down to the River Chenab. Though constructed in the 18th century, most of the steps are in a good state of preservation. The ghat served as the important spot for performance of religious sites by the people of the region. The turrets or Burj are still intact is called the Kishore Singh Burj after Maharaja Gulab Singh's father who was a close associate of Guru Gobind Singh the 10th Sikh Guru. There are traces of paintings on the walls of the rooms of the fort.
The ancient Bahu Fort in Jammu is believed to be originally built by Raja Bahu Lochan some 3,000 years ago. It was refurbished by the Dogra rulers in the 19th century. The fort is a religious place, and within its precincts is a temple dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Kali, the presiding deity of Jammu. The temple is known locally as the "Bave Wali Mata temple”. Just beneath the fort is the terraced Bagh-e-Bahu garden laid in the style of Mughal gardens which affords panoramic view of the Jammu city
Ambaran also locally known as Pambaran is a village of Akhnoor tehsil, Jammu district is said to have been founded by Amba Jagdev Pawar a scion of Pawar dynasty of Dhar Ujjain and seems to have been the original capital of Akhnoor. It was named Ambari after the family diety Amba, one of the names of Goddess Durga. The name got changed gradually into Ambaran. Ambaran is the eighth place in the world, where relics of Buddha have been found in a stupa. Historians are of the opinion that the place might have been an important centre of Buddhism between the 1st and 7th century B.C. A cultural sequence of four historical periods has already been unravelled at Ambaran. It is believed to be the only early Buddhist site in Jammu region. Excavations have unearthed terracotta figures,small sculptures, pottery and brunt brick structures dating back to pre Kushan and post Gupta period
The foundation of historical Poonch Fort was laid by Raja Adbul Razaq Khan in 1713 A.D. The actual construction work was started by his illustrious son Raja Rustam Khan who was a great lover of architecture and after whose name Poonch was earlier known as Rustam Nagar. The architectural style of the Fort had distinct Mughal influence.During the Sikh rule (1819-1846), the central block of the building was added which bears the distinct influence of Sikh architectural style. Fort building in his present style and shape owes to the benevolence of Raja Moti Singh (1850-1892) who engaged an European architect to design the front block of the Fort. The work done was so superb that the appearance of the fort changed into a Palace of exquisite beauty which dominates the entire town of Poonch.It was during Raja Baldev Singh's time that the fort building complex was converted into a secretariat of the kingdom after shifting the Palace to Moti Mahal.
Chingus Fort, Rajouri
Chingus Fort, Rajouri
This ancient Chingus Sarai dating back to 16th century AD was used by Mughal rulers as a transit camp during their annual entourage to Kashmir. Chingus derives its name from the Persian word ‘chingus’ which means “ intestines” Mughal sarai of Chingus is historically renowned for containing mortal remains of Mughal emperor Jehangir who died enroute from Kashmir to Delhi in Oct- 1627 A.D.Noor Jehan, the empress in order to avoid war of succession, buried intestines and other abdominal parts in the precincts of this sarai to embalm and protect this body from decay and made this dead body sit on an elephant as if he were alive.Chingus Sarai, a well planned building of typical Mughal architecture of the times, has two apartments viz residential complex and open yard with separate gateways which are also connected to each other internally. The residential complex is built within walled enclosure and contains arched cells with opening towards the courtryyard. In construction of the building random rubbles and large pebbles besides lakharuri bricks have been used in lime surkhi mortar.
Bhimgarh Fort, Reasi
Bhimgarh Fort, also known as the Reasi Fort, is a historic monument is situated on a hillock overlooking the town. The members of the royal family used to reside in this fort. In 1817, the fort was renovated by Maharaja Gulab Singh.The main entry gate of the Bhimgarh Fort is constructed by Baluka stones. This stone is engraved with Rajasthani carving. Inside the fort, one can find a statue of the Goddess Mahakali and of God Hanuman. The nearby garden to the fort adds beauty to the fort.
Ramnagar Palace, Udhampur
Situated 24 kms from Udhampur is the Purna Mahal built by Raja Suchet Singh (AD 1801-1844). The palace is a fairly big complex of rooms rising to three storeys having high walls and watch towers at regular intervals. The walls of the rooms are decorated with stucco work and painted with floral designs. The wooden ceilings are also decorated.Nawa Mahal complex was built by Raja Ram Singh, son of Raja Ranbir Singh. It comprises an inner courtyard surrounded by rooms with two entrances facing each other.The Sheesh Mahal complex was built by Raja Ram Singh (AD 1801-1844). It comprises two forecourts having Burjis at corners. To the left of the entrance are Darbar Hall, Sheesh Mahal and Rang Mahal. The Darbar hall has scenes of mural paintings depicting themes from the Ramayana, Bhagwata and other Puranas, besides battle scenes connected with Raja Suchet Singh. Adjoining the Darbar hall is Sheesh Mahal with its walls decorated with fine glass work arranged in various designs and later lithographs. The walls of Rang Mahal adjoining Sheesh Mahal are decorated with mirrors and mural paintings arranged in panels depicting scenes of Nayikas, Raginis and Krishna-lila, besides hunting and court scenes..
Ruins of the old palaces in Basohli
Cradle of the world renowned Pahari School of painting, Basohli is 125 kms from Jammu. These paintings have found pride of place in international museum and art galleries. There are ruins of the prodigious palace of the old Rajas of the area.In olden times the monumental complex of buildings, towns and balconies was called the “Wonder of Hills”. European traveler Mr. G.T.Vigne in the mid-nineteenth century wrote of it as the very finest building of its sort, that he had seen in the east.
Establishing ancient character of the town there are some small temples overgrown with moss. A very interesting thing is that down below among the rocks on the bank of the river Ravi there are a number of small caves. A comparatively much bigger cave containing a huge sculpture is the bas- relief, which particularly attracts the attention. The statue is of Raja Bupat Paul Of Basholi but some attribute it to Vishwa Karma the well known ancient engineer. There are also some sculptures on the rock out side..
Amar Mahal Place
Amar Mahal Place
Another architectural gem is the Amar Mahal Palace located near the Mubarak Mandi complex. Built like a French Chateau on a hill overlooking the river Tawi, is a beautiful palace of red sand stone which stands amidst most picturesque horizons of Jammu. Once the residential palace of Raja Amar Singh, the palace has been converted into a museum and is looked after by Hari-Tara Charitable Trust. The museum has the golden throne on which Maharaja used to sit, which is made up of 120 kg pure gold. The museum has a gallery of paintings and a library in which about 25,000 books on various subjects and disciplines have been presented.
About 74 kms from Jammu via Udhampur are the famous Krimchi temple ruins characteristics of the early medieval temple architecture. The carvings on the ancient temple provide ample testimony, of the perfection in craftsmanship archived by people in such hilly and remote areas of Jammu and Kashmir. The period when the temples at Krimchi were built is not precisely known but a local legend has it that ‘Pandvas’ put the temples. There are four ancient stone shrines and a Shivdavala at Krimchi. Sculptures found in Krimchi Show magnificent achievements in stone modeling. In the vicinity of Krimchi, the Devak shrines of Udhampur constitute an important pilgrim spot.
Ancient Temple, Babor Temples
Ancient Temple, Babor Temples
About 75 Kms to the east of Jammu city, ‘Babor’ is a place for archeologists, historians, and tourists who want to see some thing striking in the art of temple architecture and sculpture. The Babor temples, of which only five are now standing in ruined state while many others have completely crumbled down, are marked by exquisitely sculpted walls and statues besides elaborate minute carvings, huge monolithic fluted pillars with lions or elephants, heads on entabulators a marvelously ornamented capital gigantic roof slabs and beams all fixed without any building material and pillared halls and aisle. Babor maestros have shown consistently high caliber and their art is surely the ocean of long lasting tradition.
Raghunath Temples city
Situated in the heart of the Jammu city and surrounded by a group of other temples, this temple, dedicated to Lord Rama, is outstanding and unique in northern India. Work on its construction was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh, founder of the principality of Jammu and Kashmir, in 1835 AD and was completed by his son, Maharaja Ranbir Singh, in 1860 AD.
Sanctum Sanctorum of Lord Rama, Sita & Lakshman
Located on Shalimar Road near the New Secretariat and built by Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1883 AD, this historic temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has one central 'lingam' measuring seven-and-a-half ft in height, twelve Shiva 'lingams' of crystal measuring from 15" to 38" and galleries with thousands of others carved on stone slabs.
This temple is considered one of the oldest in Jammu and is linked to the visit to Jammu of the Shankaracharya in the ninth century A.D., when he was on way to Kashmir. It is considered sacred because of the self-originated Shivalinga(Svayambhuva Siva Linga).
On the bypass Road, behind Bahu Fort, the city forest surrounds the ancient Mahamaya temple overlooking the river Tawi dedicated to Mahamaya, a Dogra Queen who lost her life fourteen centuries ago fighting foreign invaders.
Purmandal located at a distance of 40 kms from Jammu is a temple complex devoted to Lord Shiva. Also known as Chhota Kashi it is located on the banks of the Devak the underground river. At a distance of 4 kms from Purmandal is the village of Uttar Behni called so as the river Devak takes a northward turn something rare for rivers in the Himalayan foothills. There are a century old temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.
This highly revered Shiva temple (1225 meters) is located at a distance of 42 Kms from Patnitop and 112 Kms from Jammu. Legend has it that after bathing at a spring called Gouri Kund, just short of Sudh Mahadev, the Goddess Parvati would worship the shivling here that is believed to be at least 3000 years old. The temple also houses a black marble statue of Lord Shiva and Parvati. A trishul (trident) of Lord Shiva is also preserved here. Pilgrims in large number visit the shrine on the full moon night of Sawan (July-August) to participate in the festival to worship Lord Shiva. The mystical underground stream Devak believed to be as sacred as the Ganges originates at Sudh Mahadev and disappears among the rocks some distance downstream. Accommodation is available in Tourist Sarai managed by JKTDC and Dharamshala managed by the Dharamarth Trust.
A few kilometers further ahead of Sudh Mahadev is Mantalai (1450 meters) surrounded by lush deodar forests. As per legend, it is the place where Lord Shiva got married to Goddess Parvati. Besides the Shiv Temple here, one can also visit the complex created by Swami Dhirendra Brhamchari which includes a tree shaped house, an air strip, a hostel and a number of other unfinished projects. An excursion through the woods of Naina Devi 5 Kms from Mantalai provides excellent views of the mountainous landscape all round
Kali Mata Mandir
While returning to Jammu one can visit the Kali Mata Mandir, located next to a waterfall near Manthal, 40 Kms from Jammu. A highly revered location for travellers driving on the National Highway, it provides a cool and refreshing stopover point for the traveller especially during the summer season.
Peer Khoh is a cave shrine located on the Circular Road, 3.5 kms from the heart of the town. There is a naturally formed Shiva lingam in the cave which is quite mysterious as neither its antiquity nor its cause are known. Legend has it that the cave leads underground to many other cave shrines.
Katra & Mata Vaishno Devi:
The Katra town is located 52 Kms from Jammu.It is one of the most popular pilgrim destinations for Hindus the world over as it is the base camp for the pilgrimage to the Holy shrine of Shri Mata Vaishnodevi ji in the famed Trikuta Mountains in the Shivalik Range. Visited by nearly 8 million pilgrims the Holy cave of Mata Vaishno Devi is at a distance of 13 kms from Katra. Katra can be approached by the pilgrims from Jammu Railway Station as well as the Jammu airport by taxies, private buses and buses run by the State Road Transport Corporation. Helicopter Services also operate between Jammu to Katra and Katra to Sanjhi Chhat daily. It takes upto 1 ½ hours of driving through the lower Shivalik hills to reach Katra from Jammu.
About 50 kms from Reasi and 78 kms from Katra, is one of the most venerated cave-shrines of Lord Shiva in the region. This holy cave is nearly 100 metres long ending into a huge hall, and houses a 4 foot high Svayambhu lingam which constantly bathes in a milky limestone fluid dripping from a tiny stalactite jutting down from the ceiling. The cave is formed in the shape of lord Shiva’s damroo i.e. wider at the two ends and narrow at the centre. The presence of naturally formed figurines of the deities adds to the religious significance of the Holy Cave.
A major 3 day fair is held here on Shivratri day every year during which tens of thousands of pilgrims visit the Shrine. Visited by over 4.50 lac pilgrims making it one the most revered pilgrimage spots of Jammu.
Buddha Amarnath Shrine:
Buddha Amarnath, located amongst picturesque surroundings in the border district of Poonch in Jammu region is a shrine of Lord Shiva, considered to be second only to the Shrine of Shri Amarnathji in its religious significance. An annual 10-day yatra to this Shrine takes place from Jammu during the month of August-September every year. The yatra concludes on the occasion of Shravan Purnmashi(Raksha Bandhan day) when the Holy Mace( Chari Mubarak) is taken in a procession, symbolically leading the yatra, from Poonch town to the Buddha Amarnath Shrine.
Nau-Pindian: About 3 kms further down the Katra-Reasi Road, on the banks of a pretty rivulet is the shrine of Nau Pindian. The Shrine houses naturally formed nine pindies symbolizing nine avtars of Mahashakti where visitors stop to pay obeisance.
Chingus: The famous Chingus Sarai designed in the Mughal archectural style located about 2,000 feet above sea level and on the right bank of nallah and just on the Jammu-Poonch highway is a spot of historical interest. The entrails of the Mughal emperor Jahangir were buried inside this Sarai when he passed away while returning from Kashmir. It is around 35 Kms. from Rajouri.
The shrine of Shahdra-Sharief in Rajouri district, 177 kms from Jammu, is one of the most popular Muslim shrines of Jammu region, visited by thousand of devotees every day.
Built in the 19th century on a beautiful hillock in Thanna Mandi area, 29 kms from Rajouri town, it has great historical significance in the context of the origin of the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
Durgah’ of Peer Budhan Ali Shah
It is said that if the Bawey Wali Mata is the presiding deity of Jammu, the ‘durgah’ of Peer Budhan Ali Shah or Peer Baba as it is known, is the shrine that protects the people of this city from mishaps and evil spirits.
Peer Mitha is another famous Muslim shrine in Jammu. Peer Mitha was a contemporary of Ajaib Dev and Ghareeb Nath - both saints were famous for their prophecies and miracles.
‘Mitha’ means ‘the sweet one’, for the Peer would accept nothing more than a pinch of sugar in offering from his devotees.
Dera Baba Banda:
The Gurudwara of Dera Baba Banda 25 kms from Katra, located on the banks of River Chenab, is named after Baba Banda Bairagi who was Guru Govind Singh’s favourite “Saint-soldier”. The Gurudwara is famous for its rich wall paintings and the 48 feet high “Nishan Sahib” made of Deodar wood which was erected by the Baba himself. Other gurudwaras in Jammu are: Sunder Singh Gurudwara, Gurudwara Road, Tali Sahib Gurudwara, Talab Tillo,Maharani Chand Kaur Gurudwara, below Gumat, Gurudwara Singh Sabha, Nanak Nagar, Kalgidhar Gurudwara, Rehari, Singh Sabha Gurudwara, Raghunath Bazaar.
Other places of worship
St. Marry's Garrison Church
- Garrison Church, Satwari.
- St. Paul’s Church, Wazarat Road, Jammu.
- St. Peter’s Church, Christian Colony, Jammu.
- Jamia Masjid, Talab Khatikan.
- Jamia Masjid, Ustad Mohalla.
- Jamia Masjid, Gole Market.
- Ibrahim Masjid, Wazarat Road.
Jamia Mosque Jammu