Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir)
History: Many historians and locals believe that Jammu was founded by Raja Jamboolochan in 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. The king was impressed and decided to set up a town after his name, Jamboo. With the passage of time, the name was corrupted and became "Jammu". The Winter Capital of Jammu and Kashmir state, Jammu is located on a bluff of the Shivalik Range, overlooking the northern plains. The main site of interest is the Amar Mahal, once the residence of the maharajas, and today a museum with artifacts relating to the region's culture and history. Jammu is also the base for the pilgrimage to the cave shrine of the goddess Vaishno Devi in the Trikuta mountains, 50 km (31 miles) away.
Jammu Quick facts
Jammu Geography and Climate
Geography: Jammu is located at 32.73° N 74.87° E. It has an average elevation of 327 metres (1072 feet). Jammu is one of the three regions comprising India's northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu borders Kashmir, the disputed part of the state, to the north, Ladakh to the east, Himachal Pradesh to the south.
Best time to visit Jammu
The best time to visit Jammu is between November and March, when the weather becomes pleasant. Summers are unbearably hot. The best time to go Jammu and Kashmir for trekking is during summers (April-August), when all the routes are open, though some routes are also open during winters.
Jammu and Kashmir has been famous for its natural beauty since time immemorial and has been aptly described as "heaven on earth". It has two capitals- Jammu, the winter capital and Srinagar, the summer capital. The state is almost mountainous with stretches of valleys and some mountain lakes. Jammu is famous for its landscape, ancient temples, Hindu shrines, gardens and forts. Hindu holy shrines of Amarnath and Vaishno Devi attracts thousands of Hindu devotees every year. Jammu's beautiful natural landscape has made it one of the most famous destinations for adventure tourism in South Asia.
Jammu Near Getaways
Jhajjar Kotli : Jhajjar Kotli, 35 kms from Jammu on the Jammu-Srinagar road is a picnic spot next to the Jhajjar stream. Surrounded by dense forests, it has a café with bar and residential facilities. At a height of 2,000 metres is the shrine of Mantalai. According to Hindu Mythology, Lord Shiva married goddess Parvati at this spot.
Jammu is located on a bluff of the Shivalik Range, overlooking the northern plains. It is approximately 600 km away from the National Capital, New Delhi and is linked with a National Highway, railway and airport.
How to reach Jammu by Road
Jammu serves as a great connecting point for Kashmir be it by air, road or rail. The Jammu & Kashmir Tourist Reception Centre, Vir Marg (Ph:0191-546851) runs a regular bus service in the town. A national highway connects the city to the rest of the country. The Bus stand in Jammu is in the old town, off the Srinagar road. Delhi is 586 kms away, while Amritsar is at 243 kms and Srinagar 305 kms. Katra, the base town before the climb up to the Vaishno Devi shrine, is 48 kms away.
How to reach Jammu by Rail
The Jammu Tawi station (General Inquiry and Reservation -Ph:431085,431407,131) is in the new town across Tawi River. Trains come in from Delhi, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Guwahati, Kanyakumari and Calcutta.
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How to reach Jammu by Air
Jammu's airport is connected by air to New Delhi, Srinagar and Leh by the national domestic carrier as also by some private airlines. The Satwari airport is 6 km from town and one can hire a taxi to get to the city centre.
Jammu Festivals and culture
Lohri (13 January) This much-awaited festival in the Jammu province marks the culmination of the cold season and is celebrated through out the state with great excitement. In the province of Kashmir the special feature that marks the festival of Lohri is the Chajja dance. The young crowds in this state prepare 'Chajjas' with colored bits of paper and then dance on the street to the rhythm of drumbeats.
The state has a very rich history and a distinct culture where people of all faiths live in perfect harmony. Jammu and Kashmir has three distinct components - Hindu majority Jammu, Buddhist dominated Ladakh in the North and predominantly Muslim populated Valley, besides what is under Pakistan occupation. Jammu was home to various communities like the Dogras, the Sikhs and the Hindus who were all united. People of Jammu mostly speak Dogri, Kotli, Mirpuri, Hindi,Punjabi, and Urdu. A visti to 'Dogra Art Museum' is a must as it showcases Jammu's art and culture.
Jammu Religious Places
Jammu is one of the most famous pilgrimage tourism destinations in India. Vaishno Devi shrine : The shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi is one of the most visited pilgrim sites in India. Situated at a height of 5,300 ft., the site is located inside a cave in a hill. The Vaishno Devi shrine is nestled in the Trikuta Mountain. This cave temple is at a distance of 61 kms from Jammu and the last 13 kms of the way have to be negotiated on foot by the devotees. The total length of the holy Cave is about ninety eight feet and there are images of three deities viz. the Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati.
Jammu's historic monuments feature an unique blend of Islamic and Hindu architecture styles.
Jammu Entertainment and Night Life
Jammu's beautiful natural landscape has made it one of the most famous destinations for adventure tourism in South Asia. (Long term trek) The Amarnath Yatra and Gulmarg-Ferozepur Nala are the most trekked sites. A trek that is popular among both the trekkers and the pilgrims is the Amarnath trek that takes one to the sacred cave of Lord Amarnath. The time for Amarnath yatra can be modified, depending upon how much does one want to travel. Gulmarg makes an excellent base for trekking in the northern Pir Panjal Range. Gulmarg to Ferozepur Nala makes a memorable trek.
Nightlife does not exist much in Jammu. There are a few small hotels and guesthouses at Gulmarg ski resort, but it is a quiet, undeveloped, isolated resort and nightlife is almost non-existent.
Kidding around Jammu
Jhajjar Kotli : Jhajjar Kotli, 35 kms from Jammu on the Jammu-Srinagar road is a picnic spot next to the Jhajjar stream. Surrounded by dense forests, it has a café with bar and residential facilities.
Jammu is a shopper's paradise. Pashmina is synonymous with the state, you touch it to feel the softness of a feather, a look at it will reveal the colours of a rainbow. Pashmina shawls not only reveal the magic of craftsmanship but stand as a testimony to the rich heritage and culture of the state. Fine pashmina shawls and the woollen pherans (long robes worn by men and women) with crewelwork embroidery are a good buy. Kashmiri woodcarvings are also worth picking up. The main shopping areas are at Raghunath Bazaar, Hari Bazaar and Upper Gummat. At the Cottage Emporium it is possible to buy handicrafts from different states.
Famous To Eat at Jammu
The famed Kashmiri cuisine can be savoured at some restaurants. Some excellent north Indian food as well as Chinese (the Indian version!) cuisine and fast food is available all over. Some restaurants also have an evening entertainment programme, while some have a beautiful night view of the lights on the trek route up to Vaishno Devi.
Jammu Museum and Hill Stations
Dogra Art Museum: Sheesh Mahal, which used to be the royal residence of the Dogra kings, houses the Dogra Art Museum, which has handwritten Persian manuscripts of the Shahnama and Sikandernama. This place not only offers a beautiful view of the river Tawi but also showcases Jammu's art and culture. Gulmarg Hill Station : Gulmarg is located in the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir. At an amazing altitude of 2730 meters above sea level the hill resort has a gently sloping topography. Gulmarg is 57km southwest from the capital city of Srinagar and is close to the Indo-Pakistan border. Originally called 'Gaurimarg' by shepherds, its present name was given in the 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah, who was impressed by the sight of its green slopes embellished with wild flowers. Gulmarg or the 'Meadow of Flowers' is a lovely blooming sight where an opulence of flora displays various colours with the changing seasons.
Gardens and Parks at Jammu
Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary : Located at a distance of about 28 km from Jammu city, the Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary has received its name from the nearby Nandini village. It has an area of 33.24-sq-kms and is surrounded by rich stock of Flora and Fauna. There are about eight mammal species in the whole sanctuary area. The main species are ,Leopard, Wildboar, Rhesus Monkey, Garal, Grey Langur, etc. The common birds found over here are, Indian Mynah, Blue Rock Pigeon, Peafowl, Red Jungle Fowl, Chir Pheasants, Chakor, etc. A visit to the Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary will certainly not disappoint any nature or wild life lover.
Lake at Jammu
Mansar Lake: Situated 62 km from Jammu, Mansar 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.
Jammu Travel Tips
If you are taking the trek up to the cave shrine of Vaishno Devi, make sure to carry waterproof clothing and clean drinking water. Carry prescriptions and medicines. Private cars can be hired from the travel agents, hotels and the taxi association. Banks and Money Changers: * State Bank of India, Hari Market. * Bank of India, Vir Marg. * J&K Bank Ltd., Town Hall.
Jammu Tourist Offices
J & K Tourism Development Corporation Tourist Reception Centre Vir Marg Ph: 0191 - 577756, 579554; Fax: 0191 ? 546412
Must do at Jammu
Amarnath caves and surrounding areas: The area is under the control of the Indian Army due to terrorism threats and hence prior permission is needed from the government before making the pilgrimage. There were a number of terrorist attacks in the recent past and dozens of pilgrims die every year.