Physically, the region of Jammu is not homogenous. It is broadly divisible into three discernible zones determined by the
terrain condition and the geo-climatic environment.
The southern-most of these is the ‘Outer Plains’ zone comprising the skirt of level lands in Jammu and Kathua districts which merge into the plains of Punjab. Toward its north and north-east rises the ‘Outer Hills’ zone attaining heights of 2000 to 4000 ft above mean sea level. Basohli, Reasi and better parts of Rajouri district fall in this zone. The landscape here shows open scrubs that gradually thicken from low scrub to taller trees of acacias, rhododendrons, cacti, etc. Above this zone, the terrain becomes acute in incline, the vegetal cover rich and the climatic conditions increasingly salubrious.
Today, the city of Jammu has come to be known as the 'City of Temples'. Innumerable temples and shrines, with glittering 'shikhars' soaring into the sky, dot the city's skyline, creating the ambience of a holy and peaceful city.Amongst the temples in Jammu, the Raghunath Temple (Mandir) takes pride of place being situated right in the heart of the city.
Place to SeeRaghunath 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.
Ranbireshwar Temple: is the other well known Shiva temple in Jammu. Ranbireshwar Temple has its own legend, its devotees and specific days of worship. This famour temple of Lord Shiva is located opposite Jammu & Kashmr Civil Secretariat, on Shalamar Road in Jammu. In Ranbireshwar Temple, there are twelve Shiva 'lingams' of crystal measuring 12" to 18" and galleries with thousands of 'saligrams' fixed on stone slabs.
Panchbakhtar Temple: Panchvaktar (five faces) Mahadev Mandir (temple) occupies a unique place, in Jammu, the city of temples. It is one of the oldest Shivalya in the city. Old tales and oral histories state that Adi Shankryacharya visited this site and stayed there; while some believe that it was discovered much later, during the reign of Raja Mal Dev, in early fourteenth century. The Lingam in this temple is self manifested (Aap Shambu). This temple was also connected with Shri Amarnath Yatra in past and it was a Padayo (camp) for Sadhus visiting the Holy Cave of Shri Amarnathji. The temple of such a rare antiquity, heritage and spiritual importance, is situated in the heart of the city at Panch vaktar Road, Jammu.
Peer Kho Cave Temple: Peer Kho Cave Temple overlooking the Tawi river is another well known Shiva temple in Jammu. 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.
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.
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.
Bahu Fort & Gardens (Bagh-e-Bahu): Situated 5 kms away from the city centre, Bahu Fort stands on a rock face on the left bank of the river Tawi. Perhaps the oldest fort and edifice in the city, it was constructed originally by Raja Bahulochan over 3,000 years ago. The existing fort was more recently improved upon and extended by the Dogra rulers. Inside, there is a temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. An extensive terraced garden, known as Bagh-e-Bahu, has been developed around the fort.
How to ReachBy Air:Jammu Airport is just seven km from Jammu city. Regular flights from Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Srinagar and Leh connect to Jammu.
By Train:The closest railhead is Udhampur Railway Station.
By Road:Jammu has a good network of roads which connects it with major cities of north India. There are buses of various states plying to serve the visitors to Jammu.