Jammu, the Duggar land where the past still has a living presence. A land of grand ancient temples, and beautiful palaces, all nestling in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is said that, on becoming King, the Suryavanshi Jambu Lochan went on a hunt and, crossing the Tawi, found a deer and a tiger drinking water from the same tank. His ministers explained that this meant that the soil of the place was so virtuous that no living creature bore enmity against another.
Raja Jambu Lochan, who lived in the later Vedic period, decided to found his capital , Jambupura, on his soil, on the right bank of the Tawi, overlooking his brother king Bahu's fort. Today the temple of Maha Kali, better known as "Bahu" or "Bawey Wali Mata", located in the Bahu Fort, is considered second only to Mata Vaishno Devi in terms of mystical power. The present temple was built shortly after the coronation of Maharaja Gulab Singh, in 1822. The existing fort, as well as the Manasabdar's palace inside it, was constructed in 1820.
A Temple City
Jammu is justly famous for its temples. Infact, it is known as the city of temples and the every fame of its trends to overshadow its palaces, forts, forests and powerful Ziarats (shrines). If Bahu Mata is the presiding deity of Jammu, the Dargah of Peer Budhan Ali Shah is the other shrine that protects Jammuites.
The other major tourist attraction is the Ragunath Temple Complex. Maharaja Gulab Singh began the construction of the Raghunath Mandir Complex in the crowded downtown Bazaar named after it, in 1851. It was left to his son, Ranbir Singh, to inaugurate it six years later perhaps the most popular temple north of Banaras, it contains representations of almost entire Hindu pantheon, though the emphasis falls on the various incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The complex houses a rich collection of ancient texts and manuscripts.
For those interested in languages one can hear Hindi, Kashmiri, English, Urdu, Punjabi and Dogri spoken in Jammu. The old city of Jammu is perched on a hilltop beside the Tawi River. A new town sprawls away from the hillside and extends for some distance across the other side of the river.
Legend has it that Jamboo Loochen founded the city about three thousand years ago. The Raja was hunting in the area, away from his capital city of Bahu when he came across a lion and a goat drinking from the same pond. The Shivadawala Shrine now stands on this spot in the city. Jammu is known as 'the city of temples' because of its many shrines, with their soaring golden spires or 'Shikhars'.
There are many other shrines and temples around the city and environs that date from earlier years but the recorded history of Jammu begins from the time of the Dogra rulers in the early 19th century. In 1846 the Dogra ruler of Jammu was created Maharaja of an ill-defined Himalayan kingdom, 'to the eastward of the river Indus and westward of the river Ravi', by the treaties of Lahore and Amritsar at the conclusion of the first Sikh war.
It was the lack of definition of this state - the forerunner of Jammu and Kashmir - that caused the continuing disputes with Russia and China over territory. The British created the state as part of a complex political buffer zone between their Indian Empire and China and Russia.
For the Maharaja Gulab Singh, the treaty confirmed for him almost 25 years of fighting and negotiation with the small hill tribes along the northern border of the Sikh Empire, centred on the Punjab. The region remained under Dogra rule until the partition of India in 1947, when Hari Singh, the then Maharaja of Kashmir, decided that it would remain as part of India and the state of Jammu & Kashmir was born.