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Jammu: Where the Pilgrimage Begins

Ranbireshwar Temple at Jammu
Ranbireshwar Temple at Jammu
Raghunath Temple and Raghunath Bazaar
Raghunath Temple and Raghunath Bazaar
Raghunath Temple entrance
Raghunath Temple entrance
Raghunath Temple is the most revered temple in Jammu
Raghunath Temple is the most revered temple in Jammu
Ranbireshwar Temple in Jammu City
Ranbireshwar Temple in Jammu City
Har-Ki-Paori Mandir on the banks of Tawi River in Jammu
Har-Ki-Paori Mandir on the banks of Tawi River in Jammu

There were two striking things about Jammu City: lots of dry fruit shops and temples. It is also the largest city reachable by train and a major stopover place before the road meanders upward towards the mountains.

In June and July, tourists and pilgrims headed for Srinagar or towards Amarnath Yatra rush into the city in big numbers. The unfavorable hot weather hardly makes the stay pleasant, but it does not stop many pilgrims from visiting temples around the city. In fact, Jammu city is where pilgrims begin their journey.

There are many smaller temples scattered through out the city. The more popular ones in the city are Raghunath Temple and Ranbireshwar Temple. The Raghunath Temple is guarded like an army headquarter. No cameras or electronic items are allowed inside the temple. Security was further tightened when a bomb blast took place in the temple. The atmosphere was tense even on a normal day. Being the most visited place also means a lot of chaos and a big headache regarding security. The temple also offers accommodation for pilgrims around the temple premise at a discounted rate. Ranbireshwar Temple is an orange building, not overly attractive but remarkable only for its size. It is few minutes walk from the revered Raghunath Temple.

Another remarkable temple is the Har-Ki-Paori Mandir on the banks of the Tawi River. The temple can be seen across from the other side of the river. Giant statues of Gods towered over the temple. The temple takes no form or shape and looks more like a messed-up toy. Pilgrims cooled themselves in the Tawi River and the sight of it was nothing less colorful than anything else.

Jammu and Kashmir being a tense state restricts visitors from taking photographs at most tourist’s places and temples. Be sure to ask permission before pointing your camera; else you could end up in trouble.

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