By Vageesha Mishra
Greetings, folks! Hope you’re doing well. So I’m starting to write about travel and experiences from the places I have visited, stayed or vacationed. It’s mind boggling to realise how many of these have found a place in my heart and would always remain a part of me.
This post is about a beautiful city that geographically lies below the much talked about paradise on earth, Kashmir and often hence stays overlooked, Jammu, the city of temples.
Here’s a list of things I had learnt of the place, some of which are already known while others are straight out of my heart.
City of Temples
If you’re spiritual and are on a trip to Vaishno Devi Mata darshan, then I would like to say that you’d be passing a city that has so many temples that it is referred to as City of Temples.
Apart from Raghunath Temple, Bawe Wali Mata Mandir in Bahu Fort and Har Ki Paudi (yes you heard that right! Not talking about Haridwar here!), there are many other temples in Jammu, some going thousands of years back. Often they hold interesting legends or tales along with the heart-wrenching ones of how they’d been coping with insurgency.
City of peace
It brings me immense pain to see frequent ceasefire violations, terror attacks and infiltration bids in the state. Although Kashmir had been more sensitive in this regard than other areas unfortunately, there has been a rise in these disturbances in Kashmir as well as areas closer to Jammu in last few years.
So much so that it seems like the entire state is grappling with a more severe terror situation, insurgency and social unrest. It’s like going several steps back in reaching peace in the state.
What I’m trying to say here is that during my span of stay in Jammu and as told by the locals, Jammu remained mostly peaceful, much to the surprise of a lot of people who were apprehensive of staying there on account of safety concerns.
And once that assurance set in them, they found a simple yet beautiful city that was waiting for them to discover. Since it is a pilgrim destination, a sense of festivity stays around the city through out the year. There is no dullness.
And yet while strolling through the streets bustling with life or going places or just sitting idle, you’d find a different kind of peace that calms your heart and boosts inner happiness.
City of heart
The best part about Jammu to me was the people. Most people there were innocent, kind, humble and helping. Spending time with them helped me become more polite and kind. My first post here about a stranger helping me find my lost wallet when I had given up hope was from Jammu.
Food, food and food!
Don’t you love when the rajma (kidney beans) melts in your mouth along with rice that eases bursting of its flavour? Yeah me too buddy!
Well you’d always be in luck when it comes to food in general and rajma chawal in specific in Jammu. Once you’ve had a taste of rajma with locally grown Basmati rice, you’d be craving it for life. I still haven’t had a better rajma chawal than Jammu’s.
Same with chole (chickpeas). Whether you eat it with bhature, kulche, rice or atop samosa, kachori or papadi, (basically anything!) and it would awaken your inner food demons!
Other than the usual menus found in a city, Jammu has a wide range of mouth watering street food along with variety of Kashmiri and Dogri cuisine.
Glass cases mounted in a corner of the shops holding walnuts in a heap is one of the most common sight around Jammu markets. A rich variety of dry fruits of superior quality are found in Jammu other than those available around India. The prices vary as per type.
Likewise the best of genuine saffron can be found there. Though expensive, just a pinch of it would be enough to enhance the taste and aroma of the dish.
Blood red ripe apples, oranges, pineapples etc, shawls, blankets, carpets, perfumes and wooden stuff among others adorn the markets. It would be a worthy investment to splurge on them.
Raghunath bazaar is best for this purpose especially if you’re looking for variety and more options to try from.
Much to see
For many Jammu is a gateway to other hill stations but if you like travelling, you’d find many appealing places to visit in Jammu. For example, standing on Tawi River bridge or looking down at the illuminated Jammu city and placidly flowing Tawi River from the compound of Hari Niwas Palace heritage hotel at night is nothing short of a complete bliss. And if it’s breezy, wee! What more to ask for!
Is it colder than Delhi, Amritsar?
A question, I frequently got. Actually no. The drop in temperature in winters is less than Delhi. So suppose if Delhi is 14°C, Jammu would be 16°C.
Winters arrive early and stay longer there with frequent drizzlings and sometimes showers.
PS – most of these pictures are taken by my friends or from the web as I discovered my love for photography only recently. Also, I would describe in detail some of the tourist destinations in Jammu in some other post.
Hope you have a good day!