August 25, 2011

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 Ram, Lakshman and Sita. The idol of Lord Ram is in black color. Ram 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 Ram there are shrines of Hanuman and the authors of Ramayan - Valmiki and Tulsidas. Behind the shrine of Ram, 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 Ram
8) Shatrughna - the youngest brother of Lord Ram
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 Ram
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  found facing twoards 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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