August 28, 2011

Mubarak Mandi Palace, Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu, the capital city of Jammu and Kashmir state of India, is considered as the city of temples. Apart from the famous temples, the city also has some palaces. Mubarak Mandi Palace is one of the palaces which is also considered as an important tourist site in Jammu city.

Mubarak Mandi Palace is around 150 years old. It was the erstwhile palace of Dogra kings of Jammu. The architecture of the palace is a mix of Rajasthani, Mughal and European styles. The palace structure has many buildings used as Government offices today. The pink hall in the palace is now used as a museum.

The museum of Mubarak Mandi palace has two floors full of paintings of royal families and various armour such as bow, guns, canons and swords. Old vessels, ornaments, artifacts and old coins from Jammu kings are also displayed in the museum. The museum also has few stone statues and inscriptions. Some modern paintings depicting Hindu mythology and kings are also present in this palace museum.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Mubarak Mandi Palace
Site Type: Palace, Museum
Location:  Jammu city, Jammu and Kashmir state, India
Highlights: A palace turned museum
Nearest Railway Station: Jammu - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Jammu
How to reach: Train, road or air
Hotel: A lot of hotels are available in Jammu; 
Restaurants: Good restaurants are available in Jammu



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August 27, 2011

Amar Mahal Palace - Jammu and Kashmir


Amar Mahal Palace is one of the important tourist sites in Jammu city of India. This palace, built in European castle style, was planned by a French architect in 1862 AD. However, it was built only after around 30 years for the Dogra king Raja Amar Singh. This palace was converted as a museum in 1975 AD.

Amar Mahal Palace, built in red sandstone with red bricks, has sloping roofs with turrets and tall towers. When it was built in the 19th century AD, it was the tallest building in the entire city of Jammu. Only four rooms in the entire palace are kept opened for displaying exhibits to the public. One room has full of beautiful paintings depicting the mythological story of the king Nala. There is another room in which the ten incarnations of Vishnu (Dasavatar) are depicted using moder arts.

Amar Mahal Palace also houses some unusual modern paintings. Some of the paintings of the notable artists such as M.F.Hussain are also displayed in the museum. The highlight of the museum is the royal throne of Dogra kings. It is made full of gold and is weighing 120 kg.

Amar Mahal Palace is definitely a tourist destination in Jammu to be included in the travel itinerary.

Happy travelling.


Fast Facts:
Site Name: Amar Mahal Palace
Site Type: Palace, Museum
Location:  Jammu city, Jammu and Kashmir state, India
Highlights: A palace turned museum
Nearest Railway Station: Jammu - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Jammu
How to reach: Train, road or air
Hotel: A lot of hotels are available in Jammu; 
Restaurants: Good restaurants are available in Jammu





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August 25, 2011

Ranbireshwar Temple, Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu, the capital city of Jammu and Kashmir state of India, is called as 'the city of temples'. The major tourist attraction in Jammu city is its popular temples such as Raghunathji temple. Ranbireshwar temple, located near the new secretariat, is one of the important temples as well as a popular tourist site in Jammu.
Ranbireshwar is a temple dedicated for Lord Shiva. As it was built by the king of Jammu Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1883 AD, the deity of the temple is called as Ranbireshwar. The statue of Maharaja Ranbir Singh is found in this huge temple complex.

The main temple can be reached by climbing several steps as it is located at high altitude. The idol of Nandi, the divine bull, is located facing the main temple near the statue of Ranbir Singh. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple has the huge idol of Ranbireshwar (Shiv Linga). This 7.5 feet high Shiv Linga is made up of black marble stone. This magnificent idol of Shiv Linga is flanked by ten small sized Shiv Lingas. Behind the main Shiv Linga there is a small crystal Shiv Linga. The metal idols of Shiva, Parvati and Ganesh are also found along with these idols.

The main shrine also displays some beautiful paintings of Lord Shiva in various forms. Apart from the main shrine, there are other shrines such as Kali, Panchmukh (five faced) Hanuman, Ganesh and Shanmukh (six faced Skanda). There is a small Ganesh idol found along with various small Shiv Linga idols. The yellow colored metal idol of Nandi is also found nearby.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Ranbireshwar Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple, pilgrimage, holy shrine
Location:  Jammu city, Jammu and Kashmir state, India
Highlights: Huge Shiv Linga idol
Nearest Railway Station: Jammu - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Jammu
How to reach: Train, road or air
Hotel: A lot of hotels are available in Jammu; 
Restaurants: Good restaurants are available in Jammu

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Raghunathji Temple, Jammu and Kashmir

Raghunathji temple is one of the important temples of Lord Rama in India. It is located in Jammu city in Jammu and Kashmir state of India. It is one of the biggest temple complexes in North India. This temple has hundreds and hundreds of idols of Hindu deities. Name any Hindu deity, you would definitely find the corresponding idol in this temple. I am not sure if there is any other Hindu temple in India or outside India having such a large number of idols of various deities.

The construction of this huge temple of Raghunathji was started by the former King of Jammu and Kashmir kingdom, Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1835 CE. It was completed by his son Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1860 CE. 

The sanctum enshrines the life size idols of Lord Rama, Lakshman and Sita. The idol of Lord Rama is in black color. Lord Rama is named as Raghunathji in this temple. There is a small roundabout (prakara) around the main shrine of Raghunathji. The wall of this small corridor has the bas relief images of RaHu, Ketu, Shaneeswar, Agni and the representation of four directions.

The outer corridor of the main temple has multiple sub temples. Facing the main shrine of Lord Rama there are shrines of Hanuman and the authors of Ramayan - Valmiki and Tulsidas. Behind the shrine of Rama, the shrine of Vaishno Devi is located.

Apart from the sanctum and the other shrines described above, there are eight sub temples located within this huge temple complex.

Those eight temples are:
1) Krishna Parivar - This temple has the idols of Lord Krishna in various forms as well as the family and relatives of Lord Krishna
2) Brahma
3) Vishnu
4) Satyanarayan
5) Siva - This temple has idols related to Siva and his family
6) Dharmaraja
7) Surya
8) Badrinarayan

All the sub temples have a lot of idols of Gods, Goddesses, saints, kings and Upadevtas. Mythological characters such as Drona, Krupa, Ashwattama, Manu, various kings and saints, different forms of Siva and Vishnu, Kartikeya, Dattareya, Gayatri, Indra, Yama, Vanaras such as Vali and Sugreev, Yama, incarnations (avatars) of Vishnu, Ramayan characters such as Dashrath, Lakshman, Bharat, Vibheeshan, the representations of months, stars, etc. etc. It is very difficult to list down all the deities that are found in this temple.

The entire structure of the temple has full of Pindis - a kind of symbol representing the 33 crore devtas.

This outermost prakara has few more sub temples.
1) Ganesha temple - this temple has big idol of Ganesha; four small Ganesh idols are also present in this temple
2) Matsya - the incarnation of Vishnu as fish
3) Kachchab - the incarnation of Vishnu as tortoise
4) Varaha - the incarnation of Vishnu as boar
5) Narasimha - the incarnation of Vishnu as lion
6) Vamana - the incarnation of Vishnu as dwarf
7) Bharat - the brother of Lord Rama
8) Shatrugna - the youngest brother of Lord Rama
9) Radha and Krishna
10) Lakshmi and Narayan
11) Mahalakshmi - this temple also has the idols of Parvati, Chamundi, Saraswati, Kali and Vaishno Devi
12) Sesha Naryan and Vishnu temple '
13) Shiv Linga and Surya - This temple also has the idols of  Amarnath, Badrinath, Ganesha and Parvati
14) Virat - the idol with multiple arms and faces
15) Hanuman temple facing the main shrine of Rama
16) Gayatri
17) Very big Shiv Linga
18) Dattareya
19) a small Shiv Linga
20) another small Shiv Linga
21) Karaneswar Spastik Linga - The temple has the idols of Parvati and Ganesh and Sivakami-Natraj. Nandi  is  facing the shrine; the highlight of the main Shiv Linga idol is that it was presented from German. This idol is a reflecting stone with the light glowing inside.

Raghnuathji temple of Jammu is a temple which is worth visiting not only in the city but in the entire country. If you  go to J&K, ensure that your travel itinerary has this temple.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Raghunathji Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple, pilgrimage, holy shrine
Location:  Jammu city, Jammu and Kashmir state, India
Highlights: The huge temple having the idols of almost all the Hindu deities
Nearest Railway Station: Jammu - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Jammu
How to reach: Train, road or air
Hotel: A lot of hotels are available in Jammu; 
Restaurants: Good restaurants are available in Jammu

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