Jammu  (Dogri: , Urdu: , Punjabi: ), also known informally as Duggardesh, is one of the three administrative divisions within Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state in India. The region is not a state per se but a part of the state of Jammu & Kashmir. It consists of the districts of Doda, Kathua, Jammu, Udhampur, Rajouri, Ramban, Reasi, Samba, Kishtwar & Poonch. Most of the land is hilly or mountainous, including the Pir Panjal range which separates it from the Kashmir Valley and part of the Great Himalayas in the eastern districts of Doda and Kishtwar. The principal river is the Chenab.
Jammu city, officially called Jammu-Tawi, is the largest city in Jammu and the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu City is also known as "City of Temples" as it has many temples and shrines, with glittering shikhars soaring into the sky, which dot the city s skyline, creating the ambiance of a holy and peaceful Hindu city.
Home to some of the most popular Hindu shrines, such as Vaishno Devi, Jammu is a pilgrimage tourism destination in India. The majority of Jammu's 5.9 million population practices Hinduism, while Islam and Sikhism enjoy a strong cultural heritage in the region. Due to relatively better infrastructure, Jammu has emerged as the main economic center of the state.
Jammu borders Kashmir to the north, Ladakh to the east, and Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south. In the west, the Line of Control separates Jammu from the Pakistan region called Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Sandwiched between the Vale of Kashmir to the north and the Daman Koh Plains to the south, the Shivalik Range comprises most of the region of Jammu. The Pir Panjal Range, the Trikuta Hills and the low-lying Tawi River basin add beauty and diversity to the terrain of Jammu. The Pir Panjal range separates Jammu from the Kashmir valley.
The majority of people of Jammu are called Dogras and they speak the Dogri language, which is close to Hindi-Urdu.
The climate of the region varies with altitude. In and around Jammu city, the climate is similar to the nearby Punjab region with hot summers, rainy monsoon and mildly cold winters. While Jammu City itself does not experience any snowfall, the higher hills and mountains are snow-capped at least in the winter season. People from all over India come to the Patnitop mountain resort to enjoy the winter snows. The shrine of Vaishno Devi is covered with snow in the winter. The Banihal Pass which links the Jammu region to the Kashmir region often experiences closure in the winter months due to extremely heavy snowfall.
History of Jammu
Jammu region is adjacent to & south-west of Kashmir valley in Indian Jammu & Kashmir. The region consists of the districts of Doda, Kathua, Jammu, Udhampur, Rajouri & Poonch. Lama dance at Jummoo, Many historians and locals believe that Jammu was founded by Raja Jambu Lochan in the 14th century BC. During one of his hunting campaigns, he reached the Tawi River where he saw a goat and a lion drinking water at the same place. Having satisfied their thirst, the animals went their own ways. The Raja was amazed, abandoned the idea of hunting and returned to his companions. Recounting what he had seen, he exclaimed that this place, where a lion and a lamb could drink water side by side, was a place of peace and tranquility. The Raja commanded that a palace be built at this place and a city was founded around it. This city became known as Jambu-Nagar, which then later changed into Jammu. Jambu Lochan was the brother of Raja Bahu Lochan who constructed a fort on the bank of river Tawi. Bahu Fort is a historical place in Jammu.
The city name figures in the ancient book Mahabharata. Excavation near Akhnoor, from Jammu city, provides evidence that Jammu was once part of the Harappan civilisation.
Remains from the Maurya, Kushan, Kushanshahs and Gupta periods have also been found in Jammu. After 480 AD the area was dominated by the Hephthalites and ruled from Kapisa and Kabul. They were succeeded by the Kushano-Hephthalite dynasty from 565 to 670 AD, then by the Shahi from 670 to the early 11th century, when the Shahi were destroyed by the Ghaznavids.
Jammu is also mentioned in accounts of the campaigns of Timur. The area witnessed changes of control following invasions by Mughals and Sikhs, before finally falling under the control of the British. Upon the Partition of India, it became part of India following the Kashmir war.
Once a seat of the Dogra Rajput dynasty, Jammu came under the control of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji in the 19 century and became a part of the Sikh Empire. Maharaja Ranjit Singh soon appointed Gulab Singh Ji the ruler of Jammu. After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Punjab, The Sikh Empire was defeated by the British after Maharaja Duleep Singh was taken by the British to England under the orders of The Company. Not having the resources to occupy the hills immediately after annexing parts of Punjab, the British recognised Maharaja Gulab Singh, the strongest ruler north of the Sutlej River, as ruler of Jammu and Kashmir. But for this he had to pay a sum of Rs. 75 Lakhs in cash this payment being legal as the Maharaja was a former vassal of the Sikh Empire and was partly responsible for its treaty obligations. Maharaja Gulab Singh is thus credited as the founder of Jammu and Kashmir.
During the partition of India the ruler was Maharaja Hari Singh and he along with all the other princes was given the choice according to the instruments of partition of India in 1947, to freely accede to either India or Pakistan, or to remain independent. the princes were however advised to accede to the contiguous dominion, taking into consideration the geographical and ethnic issues.
Ethnically, Jammu is largely Dogra, which group constitutes approximately 67% of the population. There is also a sizeable population of Punjabi descent, most of them being Hindus and Sikhs.
Jammu is the only region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that has a Hindu majority population 65% of Jammu's population practice Hinduism, 30% practice Islam and most of the remainder are Sikhs. Most of Jammu's Hindus are Dogras, Kashmiri Pandits, migrants from Kotli and Mirpur and Punjabi Hindus. The Hindus mostly live in and around the Jammu city and Udhampur. Many Sikhs are migrants from Pakistani Controlled Kashmir (from areas like Muzaffarabad and Punch sector areas occupied by Pakistan during 1947).
People of Jammu speak mostly Dogri, Poonchi, Gojri, Kotli, Mirpuri, Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu.
Hindus of Jammu region are subdivided into various ethnic groups, and of them Brahmins and Rajputs are the predominant ones. According to the 1941 census, 30% of them were Brahmin, 27% Rajput, 15% Thakkar, 4% Jat and 8% Khatri.
The Muslims of the region form the majority in the districts of Rajouri, Poonch, Doda & Kishtwar (the rest being Hindu majority). The Muslims ethnic groups are Dogra, Gujjar & Bakerwal who are ethno-linguistically different from the Kashmiri Muslims. Most Muslims of the Jammu region do not share the Kashmiri Muslims views of secession from India, either.
The Jammu region is also temporary home to about 1,00,000 Kashmiri Hindus (Pandits) who have been living in refugee camps after being driven out of the Kashmir Valley by Islamic extremists in 1990 at the onset of the Kashmir conflict. The camps are close to Jammu city.
Jammu Division consists of ten districts:
During the Maharaja's time before the Independence and Partition of India (and of Jammu & Kashmir), the following districts were also part of Jammu region: Bhimber, Kotli, Mirpur, Poonch (Western parts), Haveli, Bagh and Sudhnati. Today these districts are a part of Pakistan-controlled Azad Jammu & Kashmir, but are claimed by India.
The major political parties in the region are the Congress, the BJP, the National Conference, the Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party and the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party. Some Hindus of Jammu, including the local BJP have been advocating the separation of Jammu region from Kashmir and its inclusion as a distinct state into the Indian Union, citing largely Kashmir-centric policies in the existing state and neglect of the Jammu region.
Places of interest
Jammu is known for its landscape, ancient temples, Hindu shrines, Mubarak Mandi Palace, Amar Mahal Palace (a castle type) now a Museum, gardens and forts. Hindu holy shrines of Amarnath (which actually lies in Kashmir) and Vaishno Devi attracts tens of thousands of Hindu devotees every year. Jammu's beautiful natural landscape has made it one of the most favoured destinations for adventure tourism in South Asia. Jammu's historic monuments feature a unique blend of Islamic and Hindu architecture styles.
Purmandal, also known as Chhota Kashi, is located 35 km from Jammu city. An ancient holy place, it has several temples of Shiva and other deities. On Shivratri, the town wears a festive look and for three days as people celebrate the marriage of Lord Shiva to Goddess Parvati.
Vaishno Devi shrine
Main article : Vaishno Devi The Vaishno Devi shrine attracts millions of Hindu devotees every year
The town of Katra, which is close to Jammu, contains the Vaishno Devi shrine. Nestling on top of the Trikuta Hills at a height of 1700 m is the sacred cave shrine of Vaishno Devi, the mother goddess. At a distance of 48 km from Jammu, the cave is 30 m long and just 1.5 m high. At the end of the cave are shrines dedicated to the three forms of the mother goddess Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasarasvati. Pilgrims start trekking to the cave temple, which is 13 km from Katra, enter in small groups through a narrow opening and walk through ice-cold waters to reach the shrines. According to legend, the mother goddess hid in the cave while escaping a demon whom she ultimately killed.
Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary
Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary, called and best known for wonderful species of pheasants, has been established in an area of thick forests teeming with wild life. It is renowned natural habitat for a significant population of pheasants. Among the other avifauna are Indian mynah, Blue Rock Pigeon, Indian Peafowl, Red Junglefowl, Cheer Pheasant and chakor.
Spread over an area of 34 km2, the sanctuary is rich in fauna and provides refuge to a wide variety of mammals. The main species are leopard, wild boar, rhesus monkey, bharal and grey langur.
Main article : Mansar Lake Mansar Lake
Situated 62 km from Jammu, Mansar Lake is a beautiful lake fringed by forest-covered hills, over a mile in length by half-a-mile in width. Besides being a popular excursion destination in Jammu, it is also a holy site, sharing the legend and sanctity of Lake Mansarovar.
On the eastern bank of Mansar Lake there is a shrine dedicated to Sheshnag, a mythological snake with six heads. The shrine comprises a big boulder on which are placed a number of iron chains perhaps representing the small serpents waiting on the tutelary deity of the Sheshnag. Newlyweds consider it auspicious to perform three circumambulations (Parikarma) around the lake to seek the blessings of Sheshnag.
Two ancient temples of Umapati Mahadev and Narsimha and a temple of Durga are situated in the vicinity of the Mansar Lake, which are visited by devotees in large numbers. People take a holy dip in the water of the lake on festive occasions. Certain communities of Hindus perform the Mundan ceremony (first hair cut) of their male children here.
Mansar Lake also has boating facilities provided by the Tourism Department. which is not fully maintained by the tourism department and no one likes to visit this place.
With all religions belief and heritage behind the Mansar Lake is also picking up its fame among the tourists with all its flora and fauna. The lake has cemented path all around with required illumination, with projected view decks to observe seasonal birds, tortoise and fishes of different species. There is a wild life sanctuary housing jungle life including Spotted Deer and Neelgai and water birds such as Cranes and Ducks. One can also witness the traditional and typical distinct life style of Gujjar and Backarwals wearing ethnic costumes, living in open Kullhas in the hills around Mansar Lake.
The Mansar Lake road joins to another important road that directly links Pathankot to Udhampur. Udhampur is a town of strategic importance, on National Highway No. 1A. The shortcut road from Mansar or Samba to Udhampur by-pass the Jammu town. Surinsar Lake, a smaller lake that is linked to Mansar, is 24 km from Jammu via the by-pass road.
Main article : Bahu Fort
Bahu Fort, which also serves as a religious temple, is situated about 5 km from Jammu city on a rock face on the left bank of the river Tawi. This is perhaps the oldest fort and edifice in Jammu city. Constructed originally by Raja Bahulochan over 300 years ago, the fort was improved and rebuilt by Dogra rulers. Inside the fort, there is a temple dedicated to the Goddess Kali, popularly known as Bave Wali Mata, the presiding deity of Jammu. Every Tuesday and Sunday pilgrims throng this temple and partake in "Tawi flowing worship". Today the fort is surrounded with a beautiful terraced garden which is a favourite picnic spot of the city folk.
Bagh-E-Bahu located on the banks of Tawi river, is a Mughal-age garden. It gives a nice view of the old city and Tawi river. Bagh itself is very beautiful. There is a small cafeteria on one side of the garden.
On the by-pass 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 a commanding view of the city.
Opposite the Bahu Fort, overlooking the River Tawi is a temple dedicated to Mahamaya of Dogra decent, who lost her life fourteen centuries ago fighting foreign invaders. The present temple of Bawey Wali Mata was built shortly after the coronation of Maharaja Gulab Singh, in 1822. It is also known as the temple of Mahakali and the goddess is considered second only to Mata Vaishno Devi in terms of mystical power.
Main article: Raghunath Temple
Amongst the temples in Jammu, the Raghunath Temple takes pride of place being situated right in the heart of the city. This temple is situated at the city center and was built in 1857. Work on the temple was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh, founder of the Kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir, in 1835 AD and was completed by his son Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1860 AD. The inner walls of the main temple are covered with gold sheet on three sides. There are many galleries with lakhs of saligrams. The surrounding Temples are dedicated to various Gods and Goddesses connected with the epic Ramayana. This temple consists of seven shrines, each with a tower of its own. It is the largest temple complex in northern India. Though 130 years old, the complex is remarkable for sacred scriptures, one of the richest collections of ancient texts and manuscripts in its library. Its arches, surface and niches are undoubtedly influenced by Mughal architecture while the interiors of the temple are plated with gold. The main sanctuary is dedicated to Lord Vishnu's eighth incarnation and Dogras' patron deity, the Rama. It also houses a Sanskrit Library containing rare Sanskrit manuscripts.
Peer Kho Cave
Alongside the same Tawi river are the Peer Kho Cave temple, the Panchbakhtar temple and the Ranbireshwar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva with their own legends and specific days of worship. Peer Kho cave is located on the bank of river Tawi and it is widely believed that Ramayan character Jamvant (the bear god) meditated in this cave. The Ranbireshwar Temple has twelve Shiva lingams of crystal measuring 12" to 18" and galleries with thousands of saligrams fixed on stone slabs. Located on the Shalimar Road near the New Secretariat, and built by Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1883 AD. It has one central lingam measuring seven and a half feet height (2.3 m) and twelve Shiva lingams of crystal measuring from 15 cm to 38 cm and galleries with thousands of Shiva lingams fixed on stone slabs.
Main article : Shivkhori
The Shivkhori cave
The cave shrine of Shivkhori, situated in District Reasi of Jammu and Kashmir state, depicts the natural formation of shivlingum. It is one of the most venerated cave shrines of Lord Shiva in the region. The Holy cave is approximately 200 mts long,one metre wide and two to three metres high and contains a & houses 4feet high Svayambhu Lingum, according to mythology this lingum is never ending. The first entrance of the cave is so wide that 300 devotees can be accommodated at a time. Its cavern is spacious to accommodate large number of people. The inner chamber of the cave is smaller. The cave is full of natural impression and images of various Hindu Deities and full of divine feelings. That is why Shivkhori is known as "Home of Gods". The route from Jammu to Shiv Khori is full of beautiful and picturesque mountains, waterfalls and lakes.
A 3-day Shiv Khori mela takes places annually on Maha Shivratri and thousands of pilgrims from different parts of the state and outside visit this cave shrine to seek blessings of Lord Shiva. Maha Shivratri festival is usually held in the month of February or during first week of March every year. Keeping in view the increasing rush of pilgrims to the holy cave shrine, the Shiv Khori Shrine Board has taken up a number of steps to develop this spot in a bid to provide more and more facilities to the devotees, like construction of Shrine Guest House at a cost of Rs.19 lakh at village Ransoo, the base camp of yatra, Reception Centre and Pony shed at an estimated cost of Rs.79.59 lakh, tile work of entire 3-km long track is nearing completion, plantation of ornamental and medicinal plants on track and development of parks etc. Other arrangements like electrification of the cave with modern techniques, provision of oxygen and electric generators, exhaust fans, construction of shelter sheds for yatris with toilet facilities near the cave site, 15 shelter sheds en route Ransoo to cave shrine, railing from the base camp to cave, additional facility of 15,000/EfnrKing water reservoir, proper sanitation, provision of 25 KV capacity electric transformer, clock room, starting of permanent bus services from Katra, Udhampur and Jammu, Police post and Dispensary and a STD PCO are under active consideration of the Shiv Khori Shrine Development Board.
Recently, the management and development of the Shiv Khori has been taken over by Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board who is looking after VaishnoDevi pilgrimage.
Main article : Machail Mata Machail Mata]] Machail Mata The Chandi Maa temple is located in the village Machel, Distt Kishtwar, Jammu Region. The place is about 290KM from Jammu. During 'Chhadi Yatra', thousands of people visit the shrine.The pilgrimage happens in the month of August only every year. The shrine was visited in 1981 by Thakur Kulveer Singh of Bhaderwah, Jammu region. From 1987 onwards, Thakur Kulveer SIngh started 'Chhadi Yatra'that happens every year and thousnads of people visit the shrine every year during 'Chhadi Yatra'. To reach the shrine, lot of travel agents arrange buses from Jammu, Udhampur, Ramnagar, Bhaderwah. One can also hire a cab as well. It takes approximately 10 hours by road from Jammu to Gulabgarh. The Gulabgarh is the base camp. From Gulabgarh, the foot journey starts, that is 32 km. Usually people take 2 days to reach the shrine by foot. On the way there are many villages, where one can stay in the night.but the chaddi takes three daye to reach machel. Many people organises roadside 'langers' (free food points) on the way to the Gulabgarh. Government of Jammu & Kashmir also arranges basic amenities for the pilgrims. Other mean of reaching the shrine is by helicopter from Jammu and Gulabgarh. The helipad is only 100 mtr from the shrine. But if someone goes by helipcopter, he will be missing many scenic beauties of the nature.
City Centers And Attractions
One of the major attractions of Jammu, it is a revolving restaurant named Falak located on the top of the hotel KC Residency. Ragunath Bazar is the main tourist and shopping center of the city. The locality of Gandhi Nagar, hosts the market areas of Gole Market, Apsara Road. On any pleasant evening you can take a stroll in Green Belt Park alongside the magnificent bungalows that adorn Green Belt Road. Rajinder Park, which is located on Canal Road, is a new development. This park is situated between two canals and features a large fountain which is lit up at night. A Children's Area is located next to the park.
The city has finally got its own shopping mall called "City Square". The mall has all the latest brands and accessories all under one roof, and an excellent food court. Also a beautiful complex and a new age commercial hub by the name of Bahu-Plaza in Trikuta Nagar area is a major hang out spot for youngsters and young professionals. Most of the corporate sector & all the Mobile Phone companies like Airtel, BSNL, Vodafone, Aircel,Reliance and Tata Indicom are based in Bahu Plaza complex. After opening up of the K.C. Cineplex, the first multiplex in the city, the city has also got another multiplex in the form of the old Indira theatre being converted to K.C. Central.
Jammu is known for its Chocolate Barfi, Sund panjeeri,Patisa and its exotic local food Rajma (with rice) is one of the speciality dishes of Jammu. Another speciality of Jammu is Kalaadi which is processed cheese.
Dogri food specialties include Ambal, Khatta Meat, Kulthein di Dal, Dal Patt, Maa da Madra, Rajma, and Auriya. Pickles typical of Jammu are made of Kasrod, Girgle, Mango with Saunf, Zimikand, Tyaoo, Seyoo, and Potatoes. Auriya is a dish made with Potatoes. During weddings it is typical to make Kayoor, and Sund.
Jammu folks love their chaats specially Gol Gappas, Kachaalo, Gulgule, Rajma Kulche, Nutri Kulche etc.
Festivals of Jammu
Lohri (13 January)
Lohri bonfire This festival heralds the onset of spring and is also known as Makar Sankranti. The whole region wears a festive look on this day.
Thousands take a dip in the holy river, called Havan Yagnas, and candles light up nearly every house and temple in Jammu. In the rural areas, it is customary for young boys to go around asking for gifts from newly-weds and parents of new-borns.
A special dance called the Chajja is held on the occasion of Lohri. It makes a striking picture to see boys along with their 'Chajjas' elaborately decorated with coloured paper and flowers dance on the street in a procession. The whole atmosphere of Jammu comes alive with pulsating drumbeats.
Baisakhi ( 13 or 14 April)
The name Baisakhi is taken from the first month of the Vikram calendar. Every year, on the first day of Vaisakh, the people of Jammu, celebrate Baisakhi. Also known as the "harvest festival" it is considered auspicious especially for marriages. Devotees who take a ritual dip every year, throng the rivers, canals and ponds. Many people go to the Nagbani temple to witness the grand New Year celebration.
The occasion is marked by numerous fairs and people come in thousands to celebrate the beginning of the New Year and watch the Bhangra dance of Punjab. For the Sikhs of Jammu, Baisakhi is the day their tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh, formed the Khalsa sect in 1699. The Gurdwaras are full of people who come to listen to kirtans, offer prayers and feast on the prasad from the common kitchen ('langar').
Bahu Mela (March April and September October)
A major festival is held at the Kali Temple in Bahu Fort twice a year.
Chaitre Chaudash (March April)
Chaitre Chaudash is celebrated at Uttar Behni and Purmandal, about 25 km and 28 from Jammu respectively. Uttar Behni gets its name from the fact that the Devak river (locally also known as Gupt Ganga) flows here in the northerly direction.
Purmandal Mela (February March)
Purmandal is 39 km from Jammu city. On Shivratri the town wears a festive look for three days as people celebrate the marriage of Lord Shiva to Goddess Parvati. The people of Jammu also come out in their colourful best to celebrate Shivratri at Peer Khoh Cave Temple, the Ranbireshwar Temple and the Panjbhaktar Temple. In fact, if one visits Jammu during Shivratri, one finds a celebration going on almost everywhere.
Jhiri Mela (October November)
An annual fair is held in the name of Baba Jitu, a simple and honest farmer who preferred to kill himself rather than submit to the unjust demands of the local landlord to part with his crop. He killed himself in the village of Jhiri, 14 km from Jammu. A legend has grown around the Baba and his followers congregate at Jhiri on the appointed day from every corner of North India; they revere him for his compassion, courage and honesty.
Navratri Festival (Sept Oct)
Though the yatra to the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi is a round-the-year event, a pilgrimage undertaken during the Navratras is considered the most auspicious. In order to showcase and highlight the regional culture, heritage and traditions of the area during this period, the State Tourism Department has instituted the Navratri Festival as an annual event to be held during September/October for the nine auspicious days of the Navratras. A large number of tourists pay their obeisance to the deity during this period. This festival showcases the religious traditions as well as the popular culture of the region among the millions of pilgrims who visit the Vaishnodeviji Shrine during this period.
Urs (all year round)
The Urs (or ziarats) is a typical Kashmiri festival. The Urs are held annually at the shrines of Muslim saints on their death anniversaries. There is a saying " It snows when the Urs of Meesha Sahib is held, it is windy when the Urs of Batamol Sahib takes place, it rains on the occasion of the Urs of Bahauddin". The Urs festivals are popular despite the rigours of weather.
- Acharya Shri Chander College of Medical Sciences & Hospital
- Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry, R.S.Pura
- Government College of Engineering & Technology, Jammu
- G.G.M. Science College, Jammu
- Government Medical College and Hospital, Jammu
- I.C.E.S. College of Engineering & Technology
- Mahant Bachittar Singh College of Engineering & Technology (MBSCET) Baliana, Jammu
- Maharaja Harisingh Agri Collegiate School
- Model Institute of Engineering and Technology (M.I.E.T), Kot Bhalwal, Jammu
- Sainik School, Nagrota
- Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology Jammu
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University Katra, Kakrial
- Sri Pratap Memorial Rajput College of Commerce, B.B.A, B.C.A.
- University of Jammu
- Hutchinson, J. & J. PH Vogel (1933). History of the Panjab Hill States, Vol. I. 1st edition: Govt. Printing, Pujab, Lahore, 1933. Reprint 2000. Department of Language and Culture, Himachal Pradesh. Chapter XIV Jammu State, pp. 514 563..
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