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JAMMU

     Once upon a time when this land was wild, a tiger (it was a tiger) and a lamb rubbed shoulders and drank water from Tawi together. Raja Jambu Lochan, who was witness to this strange spectacle while on a hunting spree, founded the city of Jammu in memory of this exemplary act. The place gained religious significance and grew holier and holier. Temples sprang up all over. One of them, the Raghunath temple, situated at the centre of the town, is the largest temple complex in this part of India. It has massive idols, bigger than man. However, the Goddess at Bawey Wali Mata in the Bahu Fort is most powerful. Elsewhere, on certain days, Hindus can be seen jostling to offer prayers at the Peer Baba's dargah as it is said the Baba drives out all that is bad in life. Peer Budhan Ali Shah, as he was called, was a legendary figure. Peer Mitha is another shrine famous because devotees offer just sugar and sugar only to propitiate the Gods. The linga at Ranbireshwar temple near the new Secretariat is seven and a half feet high: one must see. The shrines have different days considered special for offering prayers to obtain the maximum benefit. There are several gurdwaras as well as churches too. The Bahu Fort bears testimony to the history of Jammu. The flower plants around offer an exotic sight. Amar Singh Palace is another historical sight.

How to reach: Jammu has an airport 8 km from the city centre. There are flights to Delhi, Srinagar and Leh. There is also a major rail head. Jammu is connected to all parts of the country by the National Highway. By road the distance to Delhi is 586 km, Srinagar 305 km, Chandigarh 436 km, Amritsar 243 km, Katra 48 km, Manali 428 km, Patnitop 112 km, Mansar 60 km. The main bus station is 0.5 km from the Tourist Reception Centre. For local transport bus, taxi, minibus and auto are available.
Altitude: 305 mts.
Temperature: Summer max 43 deg C, min 23 deg C, winter max 26 deg C, mini 4 deg C; Rainfall: 107 cm (July to Sept);
Best season:
Sept to April;
Clothing: Summer - light cotton, winter - woollen;
Languages: Dogri, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and English.
Shopping: The main bazaars are Hari market, Vir Marg and Raghunath bazaar. Special to Jammu is walnut (Akhrot) One can also find Dogra jewellery and designer boutiques.
Food: One can always get good, ethic cuisine. Other delicacies are also plenty. Besides, one gets fast food joints. Bars too are there.
Festivals: Lohri (Jan 13), Baisakhi (April 13-14), Bahu Mela (March-April, Sept-Oct), Chaitre Chaudash (March-April), Purmandal Mela (Feb-March), Jhiri Mela (Oct-Nov), Mansar Food & Craft Mela (April 13-15)
Excursion: About 4 km away, there is Peer Khoh, a cave shrine. There is a natural formation of Siv Lingam. Once there, one can undertake a study on the phenomenon. Two km away from the town is Ranbir Canal. A branch of the Chenab, its water is always ice cold. Katra is 50 km away. This small town is the base camp for pilgrims heading for Vaishno Devi temple. Patnitop is a beautiful picnic spot 112 km away. The highway to Srinagar passes by this hill station. Winter sports like skiing are possible. At Sansar, 7 km from Patnitop, there are facilities for golf and paragliding. July-August full moon is significant at Sudh Mahadev, 120 km from Jammu and close to Patnitop. The Devak stream takes its birth here and disappears a few km down. A little before Sudh Mahadev is the legendary spring where Parvati used to take bath before offering prayers at Sudh Mahadev. Mantalai, a few km beyond Sudh Mahadev, is the place where, it is believed, Siva got married to Parvati. Boating facilities are available at Mansar lake, 60 km away. Surinsar lake (42 km), Shiv Khori (100 km), Dera Baba Banda (75 km), Purmandal (40 Km), Krimchi, near Sudh Mahadev and Akhoor (32 km) and Baba Bhansar (65 km) are some other sites.
Adventure sports:
Trekking: Summer is the season. A site can be selected on the
Sudarani-Jungal Gali-Jasar Kote-Sansar route. There are shops at Jammu, Kud and Rajouri which hire trekking equipments.
Skiing: Ski courses are available at Patnitop during January and February. Ski equipments are available at Patnitop and Sansar.
Instructors can also be hired.
Aero-sports: Paragliding can be undertaken at Jammu and Sansar. Equipments are available for hire in Jammu. The best season is May-June and Sept-Oct.
Parasailing and hot-air ballooning can also be tried.
Other sports: There are facilities for usual sports, swimming and fishing. Fishing can be conducted in Tawi river.

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