Jammu India - Holiday Guide to Jammu Travel & Tourism
Jammu, also recognised as the ‘City of Temples’ has so much to offer tourists from adventure seekers to the more relaxed holiday seekers. With a comfortable climate, plenty of accommodation and a rich culture, Jammu is an extraordinary place to visit.
Culture is broad here with many ethnic communities calling Jammu home. Most of the communities follow quite traditional life-styles, however each with its own distinctive culture. The most dominant group are the Dogras who mainly live in the outer hills.
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So start your adventures by spending a good couple of days at the famous hill resort Patnitop. Sitting high on the hill, surrounded by beautiful forests and usually covered in a blanket of snow, Patnitop is the perfect place for relaxed walks and remarkable views. For those keen to get to the slopes, there are gentle slopes perfect for beginners as well as more challenging slopes for the more experienced. Instructors are on hand if you need a lesson or two. You can either make day trips, stay at the Patnitop lodge, or at the many huts that dot the hillside.
If adventure is your cup of tea, take a trekking trip, preferably in summer when all the tracks are open. There are many trekking options available in the Jammu area, most will need trekking equipment, so the best thing to do is to contact the Tourism Department to organise a tour guide. There are great camping sites along the way, nestled in the vast wilderness, so accommodation will almost be as exciting as the trip itself!
Alternatively, go paragliding in Sanasar, 19km from Patnitop. The best time for this is between May and June and then again from September and October.
For a more leisurely few days, head to Mansar which is a stunning lake surrounded by vast forest covered hills. This romantic spot is great for a boating expedition or a casual walk to visit the ancient temples that line the lake’s edge. To get here take the National Highway from Jammu.
Also, make sure you visit the Aquarium Bagh-e-Bahu, being India’s largest underground aquarium. Very popular for tourists, the aquarium consists of several aquarium caves holding freshwater fish and marine water fish. They have many facilities such as a gallery, museum and laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment. The entrance to the aquarium emulates a fishes mouth while the exit a fishes tale. Housing over 400 varieties of fish, it is a big hit for visitors and showcases the wonderful marine life.
For an architectural inclusion, head to the Mubarak Mandi Palace which blends several architectural styles including Fajasthani, Mughal and Baroque elements. It is experiencing restoration but is still worth visiting, though may be worth waiting until their restoration is completed.
For a more cultural experience, visit during the time of the Navratra Festival at Katra usually in September. The whole town gets involved and decorates the streets. You know the festival has begun when it literally rains flowers – helicopters shower the streets. There is something for everyone with the entire culture on show with drama displays, dances and even wrestling competitions! Another festival to keep an eye out for is the Jammu Baisakhi Festival which is celebrated by several performances accompanied by high tech sound and lighting displays. These are only two of many festivals celebrated here so make sure you at least get to see one.
And for the shop-o-holics out there, Jammu offers both traditional and modern shopping opportunities along the street fronts. The famous Raghunath Bazaar is one of the most popular markets amongst tourists while there are great restaurants that offer everything from simple to exotic cuisine. Two places to experience are the KC Residency’s restaurant and the Jammu Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation’s Wazawan and Vegetarian Restaurants for an introduction to the authentic cuisine.
There are many accommodation facilities available with many budget options obtainable. Do be wary that many places are below what most would call a reasonable room, some even known to be windowless, so it can be a good idea to check out the room beforehand. For the more budget accommodation, check around the Vinaik Bazaar, the mid-range accommodation can be found at the KC Residency or at Asia Jammu Tawi, or for something a bit more luxurious stay at Patnitop where there is a range of resorts and hotels.
The climate in Jammu is relatively good year round with summer temperatures ranging from a comfortable 23 to an extreme 43°C while winter temperatures can get very cold from 4°C to a more comfortable 26°C. Therefore the best time to visit is between September and April.
Jammu can be reached by air from Delhi; Jet Airways is one airline that services this flight.