GENERAL TOURISM IN JAMMU Katra: 50 kms from Jammu. This small town serves as the base camp for visiting the famous shrine of Vaishnodeviji in the Trikuta Hills. The shrine is approachable on foot along a 12 kms long well laid foot-path. Every year, nearly 4 million pilgrims pass through Katra on their way to Vaishnodeviji. Accommodation is available in Tourist Bungalows, Yatrika and a number of private hotels, beside pilgrims’ sarais’. Patnitop: 104 kms from Jammu. This famous hill resort is perched on a beautiful plateau, at an altitude of 2024 metres across which the Jammu-Srinagar Highway passes. Enveloped by thickly wooded forests, Patnitop offers beautiful picnic spots, peaceful walks and breathtaking views of the mountainscape of the Chenab basin. In winter, the resort is generally covered with a thick mantle of snow thus providing opportunities for various snow games including skiing. It is the best developed tourist spot of Jammu and is second to none in its natural charm, climate, pine forests and lush green cover. Sanasar: 119 kms from Jammu and only 17 kms from Patnitop, Sanasar is cup shaped meadow surrounded by gigantic conifers. A place for a quite holiday, the meadow has now been developed as a golf course. It also provides opportunities for para-gliding Batote: 125 kms from Jammu Situated at an altitudéof 1560 metres on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway, this resort straddles the forested slopes of the Patnitop mountain range, overlooking the spectacular lie of the Chenab gorge. This place is a very well developed tourist resort with lots of commercial activity and facilities. Mantalai: Situated a few kilometers further away from Shud Mahadev, Mantalai is surrounded by lush deodar forests, at an altitude of over 2000 metres. It is believed that Lord Shiva had got married to the Goddess Parvati here Mansar Lake: 60 kms. A beautiful lake of District Samba, fringed by forest-covered hills. Boating facilities are available on the spot. Every year around Baisakhi, a food and crafts festival is organised here by J&K Tourism. Akhnoor: 32 Kms. south west of Jammu situated on the banks of mighty Chenab river is the historic town of Akhnoor. This town is associated with the legend of Soni-Mahiwal. Ruins of the Indus-Valley Civilization are to be seen along the river bank commanding a panoramic view all around. Dogra Art Gallery: This is located in the erstwhile Pink Hall of the old Mubarak Mandi Palace Complex. This museum houses 800 rare and exquisite paintings from different schools of paintings viz: Basohli, Jammu and Kangra. Gold painted bow and arrow of Shah Jehan and a number carpentry tools make an important section of the display. The museum also has Shahnama and Sikandernama hand written manuscripts in Persian. PILGRIM TOURISM JAMMU Raghunath Temple: Situated in the centre of the city and sunounded by a group of other temples, this temple, dedicated to Lord Rama is outstanding and unique in Northern India. 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 1860 AD. The inner walls of the main temple are covered with gold sheets 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 Peer Khoh: A cave shrine lo on the circular road, 3.5 kms from the heart of the town. There is a Shiva Lingam formed naturally in the cave; neither its antiquity nor its cause is known. And legend has it that the cave leads underground to many other cave shrines and even out of the country Peer Baba: On the back side of the Civil Airport is famous Dargah of the Muslim saint, Peer Budhan Shah. On Thursdays, Hindu and Sikh devotees vastly outnumber their Muslim brethren at the shrine Idgah: The city has a number of historic idgahs. Of them Ziarat Baba Buddan Shah is located in the outskirts of Jammu city at a distance of about 8 kms towards the aerodrome at Satwari. This ziarat is very popular among all sections of society and is being visited by large number of people throughout the year. Baba Buddan Shah was borne at Talwandi in Punjab and it is said that another shrine of this Peer is located at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab. Other idgahs are Ziarat Baba Roshan Shah Wali near Gumat Bazar, Ziarat Peer Mitha near Peer mitha bazar. Another idgah is Panch-Peer. Gurudwara: The city has a number of historic gurudwaras. Of them Gurudwara Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji is situated in Upper Bazar near Mubarak Mandi complex. The Gurudwara has a three ft.long white coloured marble statue of Guru Nanak Dev Ji kept in a separate room. Maharaja Partap Singh is said to have installed the statue.Other (Jurudwara’s are Gurudwara Ashram Digiana.The splendid Gurudwara complex is located in between Gandhi Nagar and Nanak Nagar localities of Jammu. Another Gurudwara is Talli Sahib near Tallab Tub and Gurudwara Kalgidhar near Rehari localities Of Jammu. Church: The city has a number of historic churches. Of them Protestant church on Wazarat road is the oldest Church in the city of temples. Other Churches are Roman Catholic Church near Jewel Chowk and Presentation Church of Virgin Mary. Another Church is St. Mary Church on G.L.Dogra road. Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine: Located at a height of 5300 feet on holy Trikuta Hills. The holy cave shrine of Mata Vasihnodevi Ji is one of the most popular Shrines of the country. The Goddess Vaishnodevi’s abode is in a 100 feet long cave with a narrow opening. The holy Ganga’s cold and crystal clear water washes the lotus feetof the mata’s ‘Pindian’. There are three natural pindies of Maha Saraswati, Maha Lakshmi and Mahakali which represent creative, preservative and destructive aspects of the divine energy. It is an ancient shrine whose reference is found in the Vedas and other ancient scriptures. Previously the Shrine had only one natural entry cave, but now two more exit caves have been constructed. This shrine is 13 kms away from Katra town Shahdara Sharief: It is the shrine of Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah in the lap of mountains. The shrine commonly known as Shahdara Sharief is a popular tourist spot in Rajouri district. There was a pir named Ghulam Shah who was born in Syed Family at village Saidian Rawalpindi (now in pakistan). Ghulam Shah made Shadara his abode for the rest of his life. Over a period of time, this shrine has grown into symbol of communal harmony as Hindus, Muslims and Skihs visit this place in large numbers, offer prayers and seek blessings of the Pir. Buddha Amarnath: In the north east of Poonch Town is situated an ancient temple of Lord Shiva on the left bank of Pulsata stream. The area is, known as Rajpura Mandi, two kms above Mandi village. This is a unique Shiva Temple which is located on the foot hill and not on the hill top and secondly the Shivling of white stone is not self-made. The stream which flows near it, is the Loran stream but it is believed by the locals that Ravan’s grandfather Pulasta Rishi performed his tapasya and thus is known as Pulsata stream. This shrine is older than of Amarnathji of Kashmir. Thousands of people visit on Raksha Bandhan. Before partition, many people used to visit this shrine from areas now occupied by Pakistan Nangali Sahib: Nangali Sahib Gurudwara is situated on the left bank of Drungli Nallah. This Gurudwara was established by Sant Bhai Mela Singh who is said to have visited this shrine in 1810 A.D. when he was on his way to conquer Kashmir. This place has got great religious importance and attachment to devotees. Thousands of pilgrims of all religions throughout the country come to this place every year. Bahu Fort / Temple: 5 kms from Jammu city. Situated on a rock face on the left bank of the river Tawi, this is perhaps the oldest fort and edifice in the city. Constructed originally by Raja Bahulochan over 3,000 years ago, the existing Fort was more recently improved and built by Dogra rulers. There is a temple dedicated to Goddess Kali inside the fort popularly known as Bave wall Mata. The fort overlooks river placidly down the Jammu city. Every Tuesday and Sunday pilgrims throng this temple. Bave Wali Mata is the presiding deity of Jammu. One can really imagine on looking at the fort, the wars fought, the invasions prevented and even the grandeur of the Royal families. KASHMIR DIVISION Set like a jewelled crown on the map of India, Kashmir is many faceted diamond, changing character with the seasons - always extravagantly beautiful. Three Himalayan ranges, Karakoram, Zanaskar and Pir Panjal - snow capped, majestic, frame the landscape from northwest to northeast. They are the birthplace of great rivers which flow through the Kashmir valley.RajTaringini the chronology of the Kashmir Kings written by Kaihana eulogises the beauty of Kashmir as follows: “Kasmira Parvati Paroksh; Tat Swami ch Maheswara’. Meaning Kashmir is as beautiful as Goddess Parvati manifest; and its owner is Cord Shiva Himself” And the Mughal Emperor exclaimed “Gar Firdous Bar-ru-e-Zamin Ast; Hamin Asto, Hamin Asto, Hamin Ast. Meaning if there is paradise on this earth: This is it, this is it, and this is it. Srinagar is at once a collection of images: a son-et- lumiere that tells the story of the love of the Mughal emperors for this paradise vale; deep green rice fields and river bridges of gardens in bloom and lakes rimmed by houseboats; at once summer capital of the state, business centre and holiday resort. The river Jhelum, the Dal and the Nagin lakes dominate Srinagar and its life and activities. Here lush wild gardens of lotus and water lily flower amidst bustling lanes by the lakeside spread the gardens of the Mughals in patterned beauty.
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