Friday, 22 November 2013

Jammu

Jammu  is one of the three administrative divisions within Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state in India and is the winter capital of the state. 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 India's most popular Hindu shrines, such as Vaishno Devi, Jammu is a major pilgrimage centre for Hindus. The majority of Jammu's 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.

Beauty of Jammu
 

About Jammu

History
 
Beauty of Jammu
 
 
Many historians and locals believe that Jammu was founded by Raja Jambu Lochan in the 14th century BCE. 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, 20 miles (32 km) 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 CE 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 CE, 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 19th 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.  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.

Geography and Climate
Jammu borders Kashmir to the north, Ladakh to the east, and Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to the south. In the west, the Line of Control separates Jammu from Pakistani-Administered Jammu and Kashmir (known as Azad Jammu and Kashmir in Pakistan, and as 'Pakistani-occupied Jammu and Kashmir in India). 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 the Hindi and Urdu languages spoken in much of India and Pakistan.
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.

Language
The state's official language is Urdu. However, the main languages spoken are Kashmiri in the Kashmir Valley, Ladakhi in Ladakh and Dogri in Jammu. Most people can speak Hindi as a second language.
As elsewhere in India, English is fairly widely spoken among the educated classes and those involved in the tourist industry.


Education
Jammu region has a lot of institutes offering higher education. There are 2 medical colleges, 2 dental colleges, 3 engineering colleges, 1 veterinary college and many other government and private colleges. There is also a Central University in Jammu established in 2009.
The list of major higher educational institutes in Jammu Region are:
Mahant Bachittar Singh College of Engineering & Technology (MBSCET) Baliana, JammuAcharya Shri Chander College of Medical Sciences & Hospital, Sidhra, JammuGovernment Medical College and Hospital, Jammu,Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Jammu, R.S.Pura, Jammu,Government College of Engineering & Technology, Jammu,G.G.M. Science College, Jammu,I.C.E.S. College of Engineering & Technology,Maharaja Harisingh Agri Collegiate School.

Overview
Before militancy intensified in 1989, tourism formed an important part of the Kashmiri economy. The tourism economy in the Kashmir valley was worst hit. However, the holy shrines of Jammu and the Buddhist monasteries of Ladakh continue to remain popular pilgrimage and tourism destinations. Every year, thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit holy shrines of Vaishno Devi and Amarnath which has had significant impact on the state's economy.The Vaishno Devi yatra alone contributes Rs. 475 crore to the local economy annually.
Tourism in the Kashmir valley has rebounded in recent years and in 2009, the state became one of the top tourist destinations of India.Gulmarg, one of the most popular ski resort destinations in India, is also home to the world's highest green golf course.However with the decrease in violence in the state has boosted the states economy specifically tourism.

Tourist Places

 
Tourist places of Jammu
 
 
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 tourismin South Asia. Jammu's historic monuments feature a unique blend of Islamic and Hindu architecture styles.
Attractions in Jammu serve the best way to enjoy a memorable vacation in this enchanting resort destination of India which is worth exploring in every aspect. Jammu being the winter capital of the state beckons tired city dwellers to its abode by offering a range of options to stay, relax, and experience the true splendour of nature at its best.
Tourist sites like the 
  Jammu sightseeing tours offer ample retreats and chances for visitors to explore its scenic territories and the region’s surrounding areas but through an authorized and legal tour specialist who can take care of all the legal aspects pertaining to certain regions in Jammu requiring special permits to enter or visit.
Tucked away at the foothills of the majestic Himalayan ranges, Jammu is a land of attractions and places to visit therefore, any Jammu sightseeing tour will allow you to experience its exquisite landscapes and ancient heritage wealth as well as capture these moments in your camera or camcorder to take back home and cherish for life.

Historical Places

Jammu Akhnur Fort
 

Akhnoor Fort
  Akhnoor Fort is situated in the historic town of Akhnoor which is located on the Jammu – Poonch National Highway places at a distance of about 28 kms from Jammu. The Fort stands at a distance of about 4 kms from the main town of Akhnoor at a quiet location.
This beautiful ancient fort of Akhnoor is perched at a height of 301 meters or 988 feet above surface level and formidably stands along the right riverbanks of the mighty Chenab River that originates along the plains at Akhnoor.
Akhnoor Fort is surrounded by the scenic landscapes of the majestic Shivalik Range and the Trikuta Mountain Ranges on its Northern and Eastern sides lending one of the most breathtaking sights to view.
Akhnoor Fort is considered as one of the most beautiful historical places to visit in Jammu. It is also believed that the Pandavas, of the epic Mahabharata, had once stayed in the caves of Akhnoor near the Fort when they were on exile.
This Fort was constructed during the early 19th century and stands along the right bank of the River Chenab therefore commands a stunning view of the Chenab River and its surrounding lush landscapes. The Fort in fact stands on an ancient site that is known to date back to the Harappan period. The Fort also features a two-storey Palace on its southern side with walls facing the large central courtyard depicting arches and murals of an ancient era that once thrived within these walls.
A scenic walk along the well lit park of Akhnoor is a remarkable experience to remember. This small but stunning garden spans along the circumference of the riverbanks of Chenab beginning from Jiya Pota Ghat and stretching up to Parashurama Temple lending one of the most scenic sights to see, especially during nightfall. Other ancient sites of religious significance also dot this town, of which, the famous one is the Parashurama Temple.
Bahu Fort
Bahu Fort is located about 5 kms from the city centre of Jammu. It formidably stands on a rocky hill situated on the left bank of the River Tawi. This Fort is most likely the oldest forts in this region and dates back some 3,000 years ago. Bahu Fort was erected by Raja Bahulochan and was later extended and improved upon by the Dogra Kings. The fort features the Bagh-e-Bahu terraced garden that surrounds the fort including Bagh-e-Bahu Aquarium which is the largest underground aquarium in India.
Perched on a plateau at a height of 325 meters or 1,066 feet above sea level measured from the surface of the panoramic Bahi River, and just opposite the old town of Jammu, the Bahu Fort is a spectacular sight to see and can be reached from the main city of Jammu just 5 kms away.
Bahu Fort is probably one of the most visited tourist attractions in Jammu & Kashmir. It is an iconic heritage structure which is also perhaps considered the oldest in Jammu. This Fort is known to have existed for over 3,000 years since its construction. It is an ancient and historical site in Jammu that was originally built under the instructions of King Bahulochana, who was then the Ruler of Jammu & Kashmir.
Henceforth, post construction and completion, the Bahu Fort has seen quite a number of additions done under the orders of the successive rulers of J&K including the Dogra Kings to further accentuate the grandeur of this majestic and imposing structure.
The original edifice of the Bahu Fort has been remodeled several times and even extended far from what it used to be during its original construction phase. This Fort and the establishment of Jammu as a town is somewhat linked together.
Legend has that one day, Raja Jambu Lochan, who was the brother of Bahu Lochan, went on a hunting trip and he witnessed an intriguing sight of a tiger and a goat drinking water together from the same location of the Tawi River without the goat being attacked by the Tiger. This sight represented a divine intervention and hence, the King declared that his Capital City, which is Jammu as we know today, will be built at that very site. He believed that this site represented the amiable co-existence of animals that will transfer onto his people as well.
Later, his brother Bahu Lochan erected a Fort on a rock face along the same site where the tiger and goat had once drank water amicably due to its favorable direction and named the Fort after him as Bahu Fort.

Bhimgarh Fort
Bhimgarh Fort or the Reasi Fort is situated near Reasi about 64 kms northwest of Jammu. Perched on a hillock set at a height of about 150 meters high, this fort offers excellent views of the surrounding region. Bhimgarh Fort was constructed of clay but was later strengthened with stones by one of the heirs of Maharaj Rishipal Rana who was the founder of Reasi. During insurgencies, the royal family would take shelter in this fort. The fort houses varied rooms, an armory, treasury, temple, and a pond.
This formidable Bhimgarh Fort was originally constructed of clay alone and to strengthen its foundation and structure, on one of the successors of Maharaja Rishipal Rana, who was the founder of Reasi town, had the Bhimgarh Fort reconstructed with stone.
The renovation work of Bhimgarh Fort was initially started by Maharaja Gulab Singh, the former Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir way back in 1817. This continued up till 1841 after it was announced completed, and refurbished with stones to fortify the Fort.
Additions were also introduced to Bhimgarh Fort including a new entrance gate and a massive stone wall measuring a meter wide and 50 meters long that encircles the Fort area to further strengthen and fortify the edifice from foreign attacks.
Made of Baluka stones, the Entrance Gate features exquisite Rajasthan carvings while its façade wall features loopholes measuring about 50 meters in length a meter in width. The entrance is also decorated with gigantic statues of Goddess Mahakaali and Lord Hanuman as a symbol of protection and strength to ward from any evil threats and unwarranted invasions.
Bhimgarh Fort, as the name suggest, symbolizes the strength and formidable aspects of Bhim, a central character of the epic Mahabharata era. He was the second of the Pandava brothers who was characterized by his great stature and strength.
The precincts of Bhimgarh Fort feature a medieval temple, a small reservoir, an armory room, a treasury, and a number of varied-sized rooms. After the demise of Maharaja Gulab Singh, the former ruler of J&K, his heirs or successors, Maharaja Ranbir Singh and Maharaja Pratap Singh used this Fort primarily as an armory and treasury repository.
Later, the Armory possessions within the storehouse of Bhimgarh Fort were shifted to Jammu and the present storehouse was ordered to be destroyed by an English Minister to make way for other multipurpose rooms, when Jammu and Kashmir was under the rule of Maharaja Hari Singh.
After the Imperials abandoned the Bhimgarh Fort, it was handed over to the Archaeology Department of Jammu and Kashmir in 1989 as ordered by the State Government of India. Later, Bhimgarh Fort was again renovated under the supervision of the Vaishno Devi Sthapana Board Committee in 1990.
The façade and surrounding extensions of Bhimgarh Fort were revived and restored with the addition of beautiful meandering pathways and lush gardens to support its exterior beauty. After enduring a number of earthquakes in the past, this fort is formidable enough to support its own structure despite the lack of maintenance after its facelift.
Bhimgarh Fort is opened to public visits and is soon becoming one of the most visited, top, and attractive tourist Heritage Destinations in Jammu. It majestically and quietly stands amidst utmost serenity and scenic expansions and is considered as one of the most significant landmarks of the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
Mubarak Mandi Palace Complex 
Mubarak Mandi Palace Complex is probably the oldest building in Jammu that extends its existence way back to 1824. Jammu is in fact, separated by River Tawi with the Old City placed on one side and the New City on the other side while this ancient Palace Complex magnificently displays itself perpendicularly along the edge of a towering cliff within the Old City of Jammu.
The Mubarak Mandi Complex commands a spectacular view of the calm and majestic River Tawi that cascades along one side while the New City of Jammu spreads over the other side of its riverbanks.
Known for its grandeur and beauty, Mubarak Mandi Complex is the heritage pride of Jammu that was once the seat of the Dogra Rulers over the centuries. The Palace complex is also known for its remarkable and exquisite architectural excellence that reveals a perfect blend of extravagant Rajasthan, and Mughal influences.
One of the most stunning sections of the Mubarak Mandi Palace Complex is the Sheesh Mahal that translates to ‘Palace of Mirrors’. Holding true to its name this is an erstwhile Palace Hall completely embedded with mirrors in varied shapes and intrinsic designs. Known today as the Pink Hall, it houses the Dogra Art Museum or Dogra Art Gallery that holds a variety of miniature paintings depicting various Hill Schools while also showcasing the extraordinary history, tradition, and culture of Jammu & Kashmir.
 
Ramnagar Palace
Ramnagar Palace is also referred to as the Purana Mahal in Jammu. It was constructed Maharaja Suchet Singh [AD 1801-44], who reigned over Jammu & Kashmir between 1822 AD and 1844 AD. The Ramnagar Palace Complex is situated in Ramnagar which is about 105 kms from the main town of Jammu.
The Ramnagar Palace Complex is perched at an altitude of 828 meters or 2,716 feet above surface level. It is surrounded by scenic landscapes that mainly comprise of a hilly terrain dressed with roughly 90% of forested area with partial secondary growth of scrubby plants seen in many parts of this region in Jammu.
Ramnagar Palace is quite massive in its size featuring a huge complex fringed with rooms that towers up to three floors. Every few rooms are intercepted by high walls and a watch tower. Each room features a wooden ceiling and walls that are elaborately adorned with stucco work and are painted with exquisite floral patterns.
The Nawa Mahal complex within the precincts of Ramnagar was constructed by Maharaja Ram Singh, who was the son of Maharaja Ranbir Singh of J&K. This Palace features an inner courtyard encircled by rooms comprising of two entrances that face each other.
Ramnagar was in fact the Capital town of Bandralta who was last ruled by Raja Bhupendra Dev. He was overpowered by the Sikh forces in 1821 after which he retired into uncertainty near Ambala, a small town in the State of Haryana, India.


Spiritual Sites
 
Jammu Jai Vaishnodevi Mata Temple
 

The Vaishno Devi Maa Shrine
In Hinduism, Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani and Vaishnavi, is a manifestation of the Mother Goddess. The words "maa" and "mata" are commonly used in India for "mother", and thus are often used in connection with Vaishno Devi.
The Vaishno Devi Maa Shrine as a Shakti Peetha
The shrine is worshiped as a Shakti Peetha which believes its association towards the mythology of Daksha yaga and Sati's self immolation as its origin. Shakti Peethas are shrines enshrined with the presence of Shakti due to the falling of body parts of the corpse of Sati Devi, when Lord Shiva carried it and wandered throughout in sorrow. There are 51 Shakti Peeth linking to the 51 alphabets in Sanskrit.
Vaishno Devi Temple is near the town of Katra, Jammu and Kashmir; in the Reasi district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is one of the most revered places of worship in India. The shrine is at an altitude of 5300 feet and a distance of approximately 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) from Katra.About 8 million pilgrims (yatris) visit the temple every yearand it is the second most visited religious shrine in India, after Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. The Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board maintains the shrine. A rail link from Udhampur to Katra is recently completed to facilitate pilgrimage. The nearest airport is Jammu Airport which has very high flight frequency, and is served by all leading domestic airlines. This place contains three idols of Maha Saraswati, Maha Lakshmi, and Maha Kali, which are all images of Vaishno Devi.
Access
Maa Vaishno Devi temple can be reached from Katra. Katra is a small but bustling town around 45 km. from Jammu. From Katra, after getting the 'Yatra Parchi' (Journey Slip) for darshan, devotees can proceed to the Bhavan.
The way to Bhavan is steep and requires a long walk uphill. Alternatively ponies and palanquins are also available. Helicopter service can also be taken for a large part of the trip. The Trust offers comfortable stay for pilgrims.
Indian Railways will start rail services up to Katra from July 1st 2013. They are in communication with the Jammu and Kashmir Government to integrate permit slips for Vaishno Devi Darshan with the train ticket. The passenger can get permit slips while booking the train ticket.

Purmandal
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.

Raghunath Temple
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 CE. It has one central lingam measuring 2.3 metres (7.5 feet) in height and, twelve Shiva lingams of crystal measuring from 15 cm to 38 cm and galleries with thousands of Shiva lingams fixed on stone slabs.

Shivkhori
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 metres long,one metre wide and two to three metres high and contains a & houses 1.219 metres 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.

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 thousands 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 m from the shrine. But if someone goes by helipcopter, he will be missing many scenic beauties of the nature.

Ranbireshwar Temple: Located on Shalimar Road near the New Secretariat .

Charar-e-Sharief: Chrar-e-Sharief is a shrine revered by both Muslims and Hindus dedicated to Sheikh Nooruddin, who was arguably the greatest mystic-saint of Kashmir.

Martand Sun Temple: The most memorable and beautiful work of King Lalitaditya is the construction of spacious Martand temple, which the emperor got built in honor of the Sun God or Bhaskar.

Sudh Mahadev Temple: Situated in the town of Chanhani in the western part of the Jammu

Peer Baba
This is one of the holy places for Muslim saints. Here, people from all the religions comes in large number to pray, on Thursday.

Nature and Forest

Hill station
 
Jammu Patnitop
 

Patnitop
Patnitop or Patni Top is a hilltop tourist location in Udhampur district in Jammu and Kashmir state of India on National Highway 1A 112 km from Jammu on the way from Udhampur to Srinagar. Situated on a plateau in the Shiwalik belt of the Himalayas, Patnitop sits at an altitude of 2,024 m (6,640 ft). The river Chenab flows in close proximity to this location.
The name 'Patnitop' is a distortion of the original name of the place, "Patan Da Talab" meaning "Pond of the Princess". In olden times a pond existed in the meadows and a certain princess often used to bathe there. Some part of the pond still exists near the local youth hostel. It may be the case that the British had difficulties recording the Indian name correctly in their revenue records. Hence, over the years the name has changed from "Patan Da Talab" to Patnitop.
 The towns of Kud and Batote are nearby. Kud is a very small town where sweet shops make fresh Patissa (a sweet). It may be bought hot and melts in one's mouth. Batote is known as a place for quality rajma or the kidney bean.
Enveloped by thickly wooded Cedar/Deodhar 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 closest winter resort to Jammu and to Udhampur and is second to none in its natural charm, climate, pine forests and lush green cover. J&K Tourism as well as the army have some holiday homes here.
 
Bhaderwah
Bhaderwah is a town and a notified area committee in Doda district in the Indian administered state of Jammu and Kashmir.Bhaderwah valley is predominantly a mountainous town situated 80 km from Batote.
Bhadarwah is located on the foothills of middle Himalayas.The town is endowed with breath-taking natural beauty which is why it is popularly called "mini Kashmir".Apart from having picture perfect scenic beauty due to beautiful forests, there are many small streams flowing through various parts of the town.The Halyan river flows through the main market of the town.
Bhaderwah also known as “Nagon ki bhoomi” means ‘land of Snakes'. The history is very little known to general masses. The Bhaderwah Town ( Nagar Bhaderwah ) was known as Hettary Nagar and prior to that, there were two other towns namely Donga nagar and Udho Nagar. Both the Nagar was situated around villages Mondha which is about 3 km. In the East of present Bhaderwah town.
History tells us that sometime back both the Nagars were flooded due to torrential floods from Himalayan Ranges, and the presence of the big boulders in abundance available in the present era reveal the story of disaster occurred then. Later on, the people of Bhaderwah selected a place for their rehabilitation in Seeri (from word ‘SEER' meaning a vast piece of land), now known as Seeri Bazar, a vast field belonging to a Zamindar (Farmer) and reconstructed their dwellings around it.
The revolutionaries followed him with great Zeal, and killed him in the cave itself. After two months from this incident, the Govt. of Chamba once again raided Bhaderwah. The forces under the command of Shagtu Kotwal fought with the forces of Chamba Raja at Padri Dhar for at least three days wherein the general Nathu Ram of Chamba was badly defeated.
A few days after repulsing the Chamba Force, he managed to present himself before Maharaja Gulab Singh at Jammu for accession of Bhaderwah with the J&K State. The Maharaja Gulab Singh gladly accepted the proposal and the brave General Shagtu Kotwal was awarded with a Jagir (Poperty) in Kailar named Droundi. It occurred during the year of 1902 Bikrami i.e. in about 1854, when the revenue of Rabi Crop was collected by the Chamba Rulers and that of Kharief Crop Revenue by the Jammu and Kashmir Rulers.
DHAKKU and GHURAI, which is religious in inspiration and characteristically devotional in nature. The dance DHAKKU is not a dance of individual participation or of a small group, but a large number of men participate in the dance. Despite of the fact that large numbers of people participate in the dance, a complete synchronization in the hands and feet is seen with elaborate, rythmatic movements and planned steps, backward and forward. Dance is performed in three stages depending upon completion of a particular ‘ TAAL '. First stage is smooth and consistent in movement, which is called ‘DHAKKU'. The second stage called ‘DHORU DHAKKU' where in the movement gets accelerated and in the final stage called ‘LAASTI', climax of the dance is reached and spectators gets into ecstasy. Instruments used; In the course of dance are Dhols, Flute, Bells and historical important instrument ‘NARSINGHS'.
 
Chadar Trek
Zanskar is located at a very high altitude in Jammu and Kashmir. It is one of the best trekking destinations around the world. In Winter, Zanskar river freezes up, and get converted into an amazing adventures trek called Chadar-The Frozen River Trek.
Khillonmarg is another beautiful senic beauty and a favourate tourist destination . the famour liddar valley is promintnt feature .
The traditional name for the Zanskar Trek is Chadar Trek as the river becomes a snow sheet during winters due to heavy snowfall. It boasts of some of the lowest temperatures making it a challenging trek for the adventurers. The most isolated and inaccessible for nearly eight months in a year due to heavy snowfall resulting in closure of all the access passes; Zanskar has the distinction of being the least interfered with microcosms of Ladakh, and thus one of the last few surviving cultural satellites of Tibet. This geographical isolation together with the esoteric nature of Buddhism practiced here has enabled its ten thousand inhabitants to preserve and perpetuate their cultural identity.

Ranbir Canal,
Ranbir Canal, situated about 2 km from the Jammu city center, is famous for its small garden that serves as a perfect venue for picnics especially during the summer season when temperatures in Jammu can really get high. Despite the high temperatures in summer Ranbir Canal remains icy cold all-year-round. It also features good walkways and offers excellent viewpoints that draw tourists to its site.

Bagh – e – Bahu Aquarium
Bagh – e – Bahu Aquarium in Jammu is known as largest underground aquarium of India and is placed within the Bagh-I-Bahu area of Jammu. Every year, this Aquarium draws a large number of tourists and is a must-visit for any person visiting Jammu. This aquarium also acts as an edutainment centre and awareness centre for school kids and also features a museum.
The Aquarium of Bagh – e – Bahu is situated within the Bagh-I-Bahu area of Jammu. This Aquarium is regarded as the largest underground aquarium in India that lures a large number of tourists every year.
A must-visit in the Travel itinerary of any person visiting Jammu, the Bagh–e–Bahu Aquarium is a top favourite amongst kids who cannot wait for their holidays to come by so that they can enjoy the sights of this aquarium.
Besides students and children, the Aquarium of Bagh – e – Bahu is also a popular tourist destination in Jammu visited by tourists from across the country and abroad as well. This aquarium is the centre of attraction for locals and tourists alike, offering them with the opportunity to indulge amidst the exotic sights of this rather unique aquatic site.
The Bagh–e–Bahu Aquarium is also an edutainment and awareness center offering people and their kids with the chance to learn about the aquatic world and their survival needs. This aquarium and edutainment centre features 24 aquarium caves of which 13 smaller aquarium caves houses a large population of freshwater fish while the 2 larger aquarium caves houses marine water fish. The remaining 9 medium sized aquarium caves contain both freshwater and marine aquatic life.

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.
 
Lakes
 
Jammu Sanasar area near Patnitop
 
 
Sanasar
Sanasar  is the name given to the two small villages of Sana and Sar in Jammu province, Jammu and Kashmir state, India.
Named after small local lakes, Sana and Sar are located 20 km west of Patnitop, Udhampur district on the national highway 1A. At an altitude of 2,050 metres it is the hub for adventure sport activities in the Jammu region. The area is notable for its scenic views of mountain ranges including the Brammah Massif.
A nearby mountain range is called the Shanta Ridge. The Shank Pal Temple is located at the highest point of the Shank Pal ridge, at an altitude of 2,800 metres, a few hours' walk from Sanasar. The 400-year-old temple is dedicated to Nag Shank Pal. No mortar was used to join the stones of the temple.
Shanta Gala is a pass on the Shanta ridge which offers a view of the Panchari valley on the other side of the ridge. The pass leads to the Lander area.


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.
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.


Parks and Gardens

Jammu Park
 
 
The Jammu Gardens are fringed with trees of varied species and in different hues of greens, apart from the well placed bed of flowers, shrubs and plants that are aligned in the authentic and typical Persian style lawns.
Besides the varied species of trees, plants, flowers, and shrubs, the Gardens in Jammu also feature exquisite architecture and imperial couture that defines their existence and fame amongst top Gardens in India. Such fame only reflects the artistic facet of the Mughals and Persians thus endorsing their legacy forever.
Gardens of Jammu
  The Persians, Mughals, as well as the British truly loved their gardens as these were one of those places where they could relax without the stress of court gatherings and courtiers surrounding them
with a line of agendas with respect to the State & Citizen Welfare.
The Gardens in Jammu do feature well defined structures nestled amidst the greenery of the lawns and trees such as the Bagh-Bahu garden to name one while the rest are new additions to the list of Gardens in Jammu. The Flower Garden in particular witnesses a flourish of vibrant colours when they blossom to their fullest during the spring season every year that witnessed a large influx of tourists during its inception stage when it opened to public visitation.
Bagh – Bahu Garden is a terraced-style garden placed on a slope just below the Bahu Fort in Jammu. This Garden depicts a typical Mughal style of design and architecture as seen in many Mughal Gardens in India and also commands a spectacular panoramic view of the city of Jammu, the River Tawi, and Trikuta Hills.
Flower Garden is a new addition to the list of Gardens in Jammu situated at Bhour Camp and features over 20 varieties and species of flowers. This garden is deemed to be one of the primary floriculture centres in Jammu that will assist in generating revenue for the State of Jammu & Kashmir and make it self-sufficient in terms of requirement of seeds for plantation purposes as well.
Rajinder Park is situated at Canal Road in Jammu and was constructed along the Ranbir Canal. The Park was named after Dr. Rajinder Prasad, who is the former and late President of India, a name gladly accepted by the people of Jammu. Rajinder Park was recently cleaned and refurbished, which was funded by the Jammu and Kashmir Bank and since then, it has become one of the favourite tourist spots in Jammu.
 

City centres and attractions

Jammu city
 
 
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 districts 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 centre called "City Square". This shopping centre has all the latest brands and accessories all under one roof, and a 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. 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.
 

Things To Do

Jammu Adventure Sports
 

Trekking
Soft trekking options are available throughout Jammu, and summers are the best time to pack your bags for short adventure treks in Jammu. Apart from that Jammu also has some excellent camping sites. Those interested can rent trekking equipment from one of the many shops in Jammu and Kud, owned by The Tourism Department.
Paragliding
Paragliding is another adventure activity that you can do while you are in Jammu. Sanasar has emerged as a popular paragliding spot over the past few years. Equipment can be rented from the tourist office in Jammu. The best time to go paragliding in Sanasar is in the months of May to June.
Picnic at Jajjar Kotli
Merely 35 Km off Jammu, Jajjar Kotli tourist Complex is situated on the National Highway leading towards Srinagar. Built on the banks of the Jajjar brook, the place is popular among picnickers and family travellers. The crystalline water at Jajjar Kotli attracts many travellers during summer time. Jhajjar also features a tourist cafeteria, a small bar and a cosy bungalow.
Salal Dam and Lake Excursion
Salal Dam and Lake is situated 95 Km off Jammu towards the west of Holy Vashnodevi temple. With an installed capacity of approx.400 mw of electricity, Salal Dam is so far the largest Hydroelectric Project commissioned in Jammu. The 33 km long lake behind the Dam is another attraction that can also be visited with permission from project authorities.

White Water Rafting in Jammu is another outdoor activity that was recently introduced by the Tourism Department of J&K. It allows tourists to enjoy white water rafting at Dera Baba Banda situated within the District of Reasi in Jammu. Do Contact the TRC [Tourist Reception Center] for more information on rules, regulations, requirements and cost.
 
Golfing in Jammu
Apart from the Army Golf Course in Jammu situated at Mira Sabh Satwari, the Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Department has also developed an 18-hole Golf Course which is being established at Sidhra to enable tourists to enjoy Golfing in Jammu. The first phase that comprises of 9 holes of the 18-Hole Golf Course is already completed and this Golf Course is touted to be developed as per international standards with a cost of INR 44 crores.
Therefore, with a number of activities in Jammu, The adventure tourism of Jammu is coming up strongly giving an opportunity for tourists to completely enjoy their vacation amidst the landscapes of Jammu and at the same time also enjoy its adventure activities that comes with a package of unlimited fun and thrill thus, building up your enthusiasm and excitement for your next trip too Jammu.

City Walks
For tourist with the interest in City Walks, Jammu offers an excellent opportunity to enjoy walks through City Chowk, Hari Market, Jain Bazaar, Raghunath Bazar, Raj Tilak Road, and Vir Marg that provides a chance to know the city better and get an insight into its unique culture, tradition and heritage wealth.
 
Festivals of Jammu

Jammu lohri festival
 
 
Lohri (13 January)
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 (September–October)
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.
 
 
Excursion
 
Dal lake
 
 
Srinagar
  The summer capital of the state, set around famous Dal Lake, with its floating houseboats.Srinagar is one of several places that has been called the "Venice of the East" or the "Kashmiri Venice"Lakes around the city include Dal Lake – noted for its houseboats – and Nagin Lake.
Srinagar has some Mughal gardens, forming a part of those laid by the Mughal emperors across the Indian subcontinent. Those of Srinagar and its close vicinity include Chashma Shahi (the royal fountains); Pari Mahal (the palace of the fairies); Nishat Bagh (the garden of spring); Shalimar Bagh; and the Naseem Bagh.

Katra
Katra in the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains and home of the holy Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.Katra or Katra Vaishno Devi, as it is popularly known, is a small town in Udhampur district of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir situated in the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains, where the holy shrine of Vaishno Devi is located. It is located 42 km from the city of Jammu. Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, one of the leading technical universities of India, is also located here.Katra serves as the base camp for pilgrims who visit Vaishno Devi. It has a thriving tourism industry that offers plenty of hotels, guest houses, restaurants, dhabas, fast-food joints that fit all kinds of budgets. Free accommodation is provided by some registered trusts in the form of Sarais for the poor. The number of pilgrims that visit the shrine every year has increased from 1.4 million in 1986 to 8.2 million in 2009. Over the years, a lot has changed, but one should not miss the opportunity to walk through the main bazaar (market) for buying (do not forget/hesitate to negotiate a bit) souvenirs, dryfruits, woolen garments, hosiery, leather jackets, etc.
To reach Vaishno Devi temple the pilgrims have to register at the Katra before starting the trek.
 
Poonch
  Poonch, also spelled as ‘Punch’ is a district of Poonch in Jammu & Kashmir that remains divided between India and Pakistan with the ‘Azad Kashmir territory’ situated on the Pakistani side and the main part of Poonch retained as a part of J&K.
 It is enveloped with majestic snow-capped mountains and dotted with crystal clear blue lakes and meandering streams, abounding with the best quality of fruits orchards, blossoming flowers, forest lands, and ancient historical monuments, making this place apt for a perfect excursion trip from Jammu [246 kms northwest] and vacation getaway from the scorching summer heat of the plains.
Noori Chammb can be associated with the legendary Mughal Empress Noor Jahan owing to its scenic beauty personifying the beauty of Noor Jahan. This place is situated near Behram Galla in the Tehsil of Surankote, which is placed at a distance of about 45 kms from the main town of Poonch. The waterfall and streams exhibits a dense cloud of vapours that engulfs the entire area giving it an almost surreal effect and worth the experience. Queen Noor Jahan, the wife of Emperor Jahangir, was often known to have stayed here for relaxation and to bathe in the pristine waters of Noori Chammb, while on her way to Kashmir. The remnant of a large mirror is seen near this waterfall,l which Noor Jahan had often used for dressing up and putting on her make-up, after a relaxing bath.

Poonch Fort
Poonch Fort is another formidable tourist site in Poonch that depicts the ancient heritage of Jammu & Kashmir. The well structured foundation of this historic fort situated in the capital of the erstwhile Poonch Riyasat is currently the headquarters of the abridged District of Poonch. This Fort was erected by Sultan Adbul Razaq Khan during the year 1713 AD, but, its original construction work can be accredited to his son, Sultan Rustam Khan, who was known as a great admirer of architecture and after whom, the town of Poonch was named as Rustam Nagar, in his honour. The Poonch Fort was originally planned as a composite structure to reinforce and strengthen the security of the town and house the Royal Palace as well.
Poonch Fort depicts the architectural style that is typical of the Mughal influence despite the fact that the quality of construction did not manage to achieve its state of perfection when compared to the better known exquisite style of the famed Mughal architecture.
The present shape and style of Pooch Fort can be accredited to Raja Moti Singh, who ruled Kashmir between 1850 and 1892 AD. He engaged a famous European Architect to design the façade block of this Fort and the quality of work is evident with the appearance of the fort imitating a Palatial Structure depicting exquisite designs that dominates the entire region of Poonch.
During the reign of Raja Baldev Singh, Poonch Fort was converted into a Secretariat building of Jammu & Kashmir and the Palace of the Royal family was moved to Moti Mahal. After J&K State ascended as the Indian Union, Poonch Fort was used as an accommodation site for employees of the district offices.

Girgan Dhok
  Girgan Dhok, also referred to as the Valley of Seven Lakes is situated about 70 kms from Poonch. Tourists would often never miss the opportunity to visit this lovely town blessed with seven stunning and pristine high-altitude lakes called as Bhagsar, Kaldachnisar, Katorasar, Nandansar, Neelsar, Sukhsar; all cocooned at the height of 12,000 feet, within the Buffliaz belt. Of these 7 Lakes, Nandansar is considered as one of the biggest lakes situated near Girgan Dhok that measures about a mile in length and half a mile in width. These mesmerizing Lakes exhibit their unique and distinct charm encapsulating the heart of all visitors, to be remembered for a lifetime.


Mandi
Mandi is another small but scenic village set amidst a narrow valley, entrapped by steep and lush hills. This village is situated near the confluence of Gagri and Pulsta Streams and features the famed Temple of Swami Buddha Amar Nath Ji. Placed about 20 kms from the town of Poonch, Mandi depicts a cool and pleasant climate making it a favourable tourist place to visit, during summer.
Loran is a small village situated about 35 kms from the town of Poonch and nestles at the foothills of Pir Panjal Mountain range. Loran is a tourist spot that features the pristine Loran Nallah cascading through this quintessential village making it absolutely enchanting to view. Loran was the Capital of Poonch whilst under the Hindu Rulers up to the year 1542 AD, known then as Loran-Kote. Today, you will notice the remains of the Lohar-Kote Fort, known once as the Gateway of Kashmir.
Nandi Shool is a spectacular waterfall situated about 12 kms from Loran and about 6 Kms from Sultan Pathri. The Waterfall is fed by a stream that gushes from ranges of Pir Panchal and cascades down a glacier, plunging from a height of about 150 feet. A tourist hut was established neat Nandishool by the Rural Development Department of J&K.

Surankote
Surankote, a small scenic village nestling on the banks of the mighty Suran River is indeed a charming valley. This tourist site is popularly referred to as the ‘Pahalgam of Poonch’ as it is surrounded by lofty mountain peaks that are often snow-surmounted during the winters imitating the scenic look of Pahalgam. During 1036 AD, Surankote features a large Kote Fort which is presently referred to as the Surankote Fort.

Behramgala
Behramgala is perched at the foothills of Rattan Peak perched at a height of 8,600 feet and situated on the ancient Mughal Road of Poonch about 40 kms from the main town of Poonch. Behramgala is, in fact, a small highland surrounded by high mountain ranges and dense forest lands in close proximity to the confluence of Parnai and Thata Pani Streams thus, further accentuating its scenic and natural charm.

Dehra-Gali
Dehra-Gali is situated about 45 kms from the town of Poonch and is known as an attractive tourist attraction owing to its salubrious weather, dense forest areas, and a cooling fresh breeze that emanates from the enchanting surrounding hills perched at a height of about 6300 feet above MSL.
Poonch is not only a town blessed with scenic tourist attractions, but also features a site of religious significance. Behramgala is one such religious site in Poonch that often lures a large influx of pilgrims and devotees to its abode. People visit to pay their obeisance at the various religious places in Poonch that includes the famous Buddha Amarnath Mandi, Battalkote, Gurudwara Deri Sahib, Gurudwara Nangali Sahib, Ziarat Sain Illahi Bakhsh Sahib, and much more to be explored.


Gulmarg
Gulmarg is well known for its amazing natural beauty and it is counted as one of the unique tourist destinations in the world. Gulmarg is surrounded by dense forest. This place is famous for its golf hikes and beautiful highland golf course. The natural beauty accompanied with clean fresh air and a beautiful environment highlights Gulmarg as a major tourist destination.

Sonmarg
The way to reach Sonmarg or the Meadow of the gold is from the sindh valley. This valley also shows more amazing facet in kashmir. Sonmarg is located at an altitude of around 2730 meters from the sea level; it has Snow Mountains as its backdrop against the sky.
 

Baba Bhaironnath
There is another trek (1.5 km) from Vaishno Devi temple for Baba Bhaironnath. It is said that the pilgrimage is not complete until you visit this temple at last. The scenery throughout the trek is picturesque.
Environment-friendly auto rickshaws and helicopter services also have started now-a-days to make the journey a pleasant one.

Leh
Leh the jumping off point for treks and adventures around Ladakh.Leh is located in the Indus river valley at a crossroads of the old trading routes from Kashgar, Tibet, and Kashmir. Its importance as a trading town slowed down with the partition of British India, and ended with the closure of the border in 1962 during the Sino-Indian war. Since opening to tourists in 1974, it has become a bustling tourist town, with large numbers of Kashmiri traders. Since 2000, domestic (Indian) tourists have started visiting Ladakh, with a dramatic increase in 2010 after the movie 3 Idiots.
It's a small town, easy to get most places by foot. The old town is a compact area of mud brick houses and narrow lanes directly to the east of Main Bazar. Changspa is the agricultural "suburb" northwest of the center, with many guesthouses.
The main Bazaar's elevation is 3505 meters , so take it easy on your first few days there or risk possible altitude sickness. Even experienced high altitude travellers (Andes) might have some trouble.
 
Pahalgam
Pahalgam is a town and a Municipal committee in Anantnag district in India's northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a popular tourist destination, and every year, many tourists visit Pahalgam.This world famous hill station is 45 km. from the District Head Quarter at Anantnag and located on the banks of Lidder River at an altitude of 7200 ft. from sea level. Pahalgam is one among the five tehsils of Anantnag district and tehsil head quarters are located in the main town of Pahalgam. It was once a tourist attraction and a favourite place for shooting of Bollywood films,and is still a health resort. Besides tourist huts, several hotels in private sector have come up here and these hotels provide modern facilities to their guests. A number of treks in this region also begin from Pahalgam, as the 35 km trail traverses through pinewoods to the spectacular Kolahoi Glacier.
Pahalgam is also associated with the annual Amarnath Yatra.

Chandanwari
Chandanwari (2,895 m), 16 km from Pahalgam, is the starting point of the yatra that takes place every year in the month of Sawan (July to August). The road from Pahalgam to Chandanwari is on fairly flat terrain and can be undertaken by car. From Chandanwari onwards the track becomes much steeper, and is accessible on foot or by pony. About 11 km from Chandanwari is the mountain lake of Sheshnag (3,574 m), after which, 13 km away is the last stop, Panchtarni. The Amarnath cave is 6 km away from there. During the month of Sawan, an ice stalagmite forms a natural Shivling in the Amarnath cave.
 

Shopping

 
Shopping at Srinagar
 

The main shopping areas in Jammu, traditionally known as bazaars are – Vir Marg, Raghunath Bazaar, and Hari Market. These are the best places to shop in Jammu as they well- known for Kashmiri handicrafts, traditional Dogra jewellery and various dry fruits like walnuts and almonds.

For purchasing authentic Kashmiri handicrafts you can visit the J&K Government Arts Emporium where you will find some excellent quality pashmina shawls and beautiful hand knotted carpets made of wool and silk.
Jammu, despite the general military and police related atmosphere is a very lively city at night; people have to live, to go shopping, have a tea with friends. . . etc. . . . The streets are very busy at evening and night, and, if the atmosphere was a bit weird.
 The shops decorated with hundreds of baskets of different shapes, sizes and colours, and the keepers were rather surprised to see a European looking at their wares. There are a number of cloth shops, not the real Kashmir wool.There are a lot of shops selling dry fruits, where the keepers propose to taste their products ,  variety of local production  and  you also have a glimpse at local life,  the entrance of a small temple, where worshippers enter, leaving their shoes.
Here the main bazaars – Vir Marg, Raghunath Bazaar and Hari Market – are famous for Kashmiri handicrafts, traditional Dogra jewellery and various dry fruits, chiefly walnuts (‘akhrot’) and almonds. Jammu is also known for the superlative quality of its ‘basmati’ rice, ‘rajma’ (red beans), ‘ampapar’ (dried and candied mango peel), ‘anardana’ (dried pomegranate seeds) and ‘barfi’ (milk sweets).
Important: In and around Jammnu the local shopkeepers call you to show a product like Chingu blanket scheme sponsored by J&K tourism wherein you will receive a few gifts including bed sheet, blanket, shawl, carpet.  The internet is flooded by this fake scheme so be sure not to caught in to their clutches as these are not J & K government sponsored product at all and they are making a fool of the visitors.

 What To Eat

Jammu dishes
 
 
Foodies’ paradise eating out in Jammu is all about enjoying the scrumptious cuisines that are spicy and mouth-watering. Especially for non-vegetarians, Jammu has a long list of delicious dishes including dum biriyani seekh kebab, tandoori chicken and the Kandhari rogan josh.

Morel Palov, Shiri Pulav, Mitha Bhat, Maani, Madra, Oria, Khameera, Katha Meat(Sour Mutton), Shasha (raw mango chatni), Kasrod and Timru-di-Chatni are some the traditional cuisines of Jammu. Phirni is a popular dessert prepared in Jammu.

Most of the popular places to eat in Jammu are on Residency Road including the popular Falak Revolving Restaurant that offers a fine dining experience along with a live music to dance away your blues. Falak Restaurant is renowned for its sumptuous non-vegetarian dishes along with the local Kashmiri cuisines.

If you want to savour some of the authentic Kashmiri cuisines then you may visit the J&K TDC's Wazawan & Vegetarian Restaurant. 


Kalaadi
 
Specially made in the Ramnagar region of Jammu is best and famous all over the state.

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.

Kahwa – the traditional green tea is a must-try here and is served in most of the restaurants offering Kashmiri cuisines.

CuisineJammu 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 specialty of Jammu is Kalaadi which is processed cheese.
There are many good eateries in Jammu. At the higher end are "the Imperial Grill" famous for its service and excellent food along with the Bar 'Legends", Falak at KC Residency, 'The Earthen Oven' in Fortune, Chinese and Indian restaurants at Hotel Asia, and Hari Niwas Palace Hotel. For medium budget and fast food KC Plaza and Premier can be tried. For the lovers of non vegetarian cuisine Paras Ram di Hatti is a must visit place.Imperial Grill is in Bahu Plaza whereas Fortune is on the way to KC Residency and KC Plaza on Residency Road, Asia Hotel is near Gandhi Nagar and Paras Ram dhaba is near Panjtirthi in old city. Hotel Ashok and Hari Niwas Palace Hotel are at the far end of Jammu near Amar Mahal museum.
Annapurna, Opp Jammu Station (Next to Nescafe). Huge Utensils to store food and next to bus stand makes it ideal for travellers going in and out of Jammu.

 

How To reach

 The state of Jammu and Kashmir is located in the extreme north of India. It makes for one of the most visited states in the country and about four million Indian tourists visit the state every year. Presence of the sacred Vaishno Devi Temple in the state is the factor driving most of the people to the state. The political turmoil in the state doesn't prevent the tourists from making their way to one of the most beautiful states in the country.

By Air

The state has four airports, namely:
  • Jammu Airport (Domestic)
  • Kargil Airport (Defense)
  • Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh (Domestic)
  • Srinagar Airport (International).
Major airlines like Indian Airlines, Jet Airways operate regular flights to these airports.

By Train

The most important railway station in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is the Jammu Tawi Station which receives trains from all the major Indian cities. Following are some of the trains that one can take to Jammu and Kashmir from major cities in India.
The Kashmir Railway is a railway line being built in India to connect the state of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the country. The Project officially coded USBRL (Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Railway Link) starts from the city of Udhampur, 55 kilometres (34 mi) north of Jammu, and travels for 290 kilometres (180 mi) to the city of Baramulla on the northwestern edge of the Kashmir Valley. The route crosses major earthquake zones, and is subjected to extreme temperatures of cold and heat, as well as inhospitable terrain, making it an extremely challenging engineering project.

By Road

The state has a good road network connecting important neighbourhood states and cities like Delhi, Amritsar, Ambala, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Pathankot, Shimla and Manali. National Highway 1A is the national highway connecting various cities of Jammu to each other and to the rest of India. One can also take JKSRTC (Jammu Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation) buses to travel within the state and the nearby states.

Travel within Jammu and Kashmir The buses operated by JKSRTC connects most points around the state. Some terrains of the state are not that easily accessible, for such areas 4wd jeeps are quicker, but a little more expensive option. Private jeeps are also available to travel within the state.

Transportation within
  • Buses are operated by J&K SRTC to most points around the state. They offer package tour to Gulmarg, Shonmarg, Yusmarg, Ular lake, City tour, etc. There is Tourist information center, where one get the tickets plus info.
  • 4wd jeeps are quicker, a little more expensive and reach more locations. Private hire jeeps are also available.
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Where To Stay

Jammu famous buildings
 


Jammu has its own fair share of places to stay. Accommodation options in Jammu include deluxe, standard and budget hotels. You will easily find affordable and comfortable establishments in this region. Under deluxe category for a regal stay you can stay at Hari Niwas Palace or if you want to have more modern deluxe accommodation you can opt to check-in Hotel Fortune Inn Riviera Jammu.

Hari Niwas Palace 3 Star | Luxury Hotel

 Hari Niwas Palace is a heritage property offering luxury and comfort in plenty. Once the royal abode of Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu & Kashmir, it is now a heritage hotel offering old-world charm and modern comfort. The warm hospitality along with excellent facilities and services and luxurious accommodation offered by this hotel will surely make your holidays pleasurable.

Hotel Jammu Ashok 3 Star |Premium Hotel

   Hotel Jammu Ashok is a wonderful premium accommodation offering a comfortable stay amidst peaceful and lovely surroundings. It is set on the first elevation of the Himalayan Range, at the doorstep to the celestial valley of Kashmir. Catering to the needs of modern travelers, it offers a host of modern facilities and services. It is ideal for leisure seekers as well as business travelers. It serves as a convenient base for pilgrimage to the famous shrine of Mata Vashno Devi.
 
Hotel Vardaan 2 Star | Regular Hotel
Hotel Vardaan is a budget hotel offering a range of good facilities and services for your comfortable stay. Occupying an ideal location in the heart of the city, the hotel is easily accessible from the city attractions.
 
Budget
 If you want to spend a little less on your stay and cannot compromise on good service check out Hotel Asia. This mid-range hotel will provide you with all modern amenities.

The options for budget travellers include Hotel Vardaan, Jehlum Resort, Jewels Hotel, Hotel Premier Jammu, Hotel India Pride and Hotel Royal Parks. Jammu is a major stopover for pilgrims who visit the shrine of Vaishno Devi therefore, you will also find many lodges and guesthouses.

There are lots of Dhams or Guest house inside temple complex or outside the railway station.  The ones opp station are mamaged by Vaishno Devi Shrine Board - Vaishnavi, Saraswati and one more Dham under construction.  Lots of buses run away from Jammu Railway Station to Katra or General Bus Stand so the ones around Jammu Station would admit only families with woman and children. Group of Boys and Girls get good options in Katra by above budget.
 

Jammu and Kashmir Travel Tips

While travelling to Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), it is important to know about the region and what is considered appropriate to do and not to do during your stay.
Jammu & Kashmir Travel Tips is essential information for all visitors to ensure that your stay is memorable and safe as a priority. While J&K is gaining tremendous popularity as a tourist destination, it is also important for visitors to be well informed about the Do’s and Don’ts during your vacation or weekend getaway in Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Do's and Don'ts in Jammu & Kashmir

  • Ensure to gain basic knowledge of Jammu & Kashmir which is vital to add a hassle-free vacation in J&K.
  • Despite it sounding adventurous to just drop in Jammu & Kashmir, it is highly recommended to always plan your travel well in advance and book your trip from an authorized Travel Agency.
  • Once your trip to J&K is booked, do inform your family members or friends about your travel itinerary as it comes handy during any emergencies.
  • Do check the weather conditions before booking your trip to J&K and especially if it is a peak season or off-peak season to enjoy any discounts on your travel, sightseeing and hotel deals.
  • Ensure to carry along your passport and keep it safe at all times to avoid any uncomfortable situation during your stay in Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Contact your Embassy immediately in case you land up in legal hassle.
  • Ensure that no one touches your luggage or hand bag after you exit the Airport or Railway Station and always keep it with you only.
  • Contact the Airport travel help desk for any advice and information about your trip to J&K instead of asking people as they are aplenty touts hanging around these places.
  • Always keep your cash and credit cards safely within your person and completely avoid interacting with anyone who is a stranger and who is unknown to you personally.
  • It is not essential to carry along too much of cash as J&K is well equipped with Banks and ATMs.
  • Always hire a pre-paid cab from the Airport or Railway Station to get to your destination or hotel.
  • Ensure to contact your Travel Tour Operator for any sightseeing tour or trekking experience around Jammu & Kashmir and do not venture on your own to unknown or known territory as it is not safe.
  • Do not get into any sort of schemes or agreements or anything else offered to your other than the authorized and genuine Tour Operators.
  • It is imperative to get a waterproof laminated card of your details such as your complete name, physical address, blood group or any medical needs and information in case of any emergency.
  • Avoid any arguments and misbehaving with anyone in J&K especially women and be respectful to all.
  • In case of any unfavourable or bad experiences, approach your nearest Police Station and inform the Police about the incident.
  • Always carry along a map of J&K and all the places you plan to visit.
  • Always book a genuine travel and tour package from a government authorized Travel Agency and a licensed guide for any sightseeing and trekking tour as well.
  • Show Respect to the region and ensure that your attire is of khaki, olive green, or brown colour and that it merges well with the surroundings to avoid any disturbances to the wildlife habitat during your visit to the J&K National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
  • When visiting a religious place in Jammu & Kashmir, ensure to wear appropriate attire and do take off your shoes before entering the Temple or Mosque.
  • Bring along warm clothing especially during the winter season and in case you are planning to trek to the highland regions of J&K or staying near the lakes of Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Do carry your prescribed medication along with the Doctor’s prescription, a Travel Essential Kit, and Toiletry Kit especially if you are planning for a camping and trekking expedition around J&K.
  • Do not entertain and encourage beggars and do not travel at odd hours during your stay in Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Ensure to cross-check your Hotel Bill before making a payment.
  • Avoid driving in J&K without a legal Driver’s License.
  • Avoid eating at street stalls if you have a sensitive stomach.
  • It is imperative to note that Kashmir is a Muslim city; therefore, it is advisable to avoid eating pork in the local premises due to Islamic rules and belief and to be sensitive to the Islamic customs and traditions and ensure that your attire / clothing is appropriate and not revealing throughout your stay in Jammu & Kashmir.
Though it is important to keep such information handy, do remember that Jammu & Kashmir is a stunning holiday destination which is also popularly known by many as ‘Paradise on Earth’ and ‘Switzerland of Asia’. This region may have its flaws but it surely entices all holidaymakers and honeymoon couples to its abode to enjoy its picturesque environments and incredible sky-kissed and snow-capped Himalayan mountain ranges that will touch your heart and soul.
Jammu & Kashmir is considered as one of the sought after holiday destinations in India that witnesses plenty of visitors annually. It offers a safe retreat and a fun-filled holiday experience to all visitors and will beckon you to come back again for another visit.

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