The adventurous sport activities at the Sanasar villages or rivers surely refreshed our bodies. I was tremendously excited to perform such activities after a long time. The next destination in our list was the Jama Masjid Mosque, which is located in the centre of the old city known by the name of Nowhatta. We were very happy to visit this place because as I have already pointed out that both of us are big fans of historical forts, monuments and buildings.
Jama Masjid Mosque Srinagar | Image Resource : globalvisiontours.com
We knew that it was Sultan Sikandar, who had built the mosque in 1400 AD. His son, Zain ul Abidin also took efforts in extending the mosque. We were very impressed with the uniquely designed courtyard and the beauty of the Indo Saracenic architecture. Nevertheless, we were unable to keep a count of the number of elegantly crafted pillars made of wood.
Jama Masjid | Image Resource : nishaprimetravels.com
The locals told us that there were a total of 370 such pillars. The serenity and the calmness of the ambience inside the mosque were worth noting as well. Despite being surrounded with a number of old markets where vendors were shouting at their full strength, the peace offered inside the mosque was simply awe inspiring.
Jama Masjid Prayers | Image Resource : wikimedia.org
We also came to know that the mosque is flocked by thousands of Islamic followers every Friday in order to offer prayers. The fact that the richness of the mosque is still intact after suffering a host of attacks is really commendable. It has suffered from fire attacks thrice and has been reconstructed every time. It was during the rule of Maharaja Pratap Singh that the last restoration was executed. The holiness of the mosque combined with its constructional magnificence makes it a must-visit tourist spot.
The mosque clearly represents a great architectural specimen, which has been standing tall even after resisting the troubles caused with the passage of time. It is extremely massive and has the requisite space to house over 33,000 people at the same time. It also has a square-shaped garden in the centre. The local people told us that there are times when around one lakh people offered prayers together.
Feeling contented, we walked out of the mosque to our next destination, which was Pari Mahal Srinagar.
Hotel Grand Kashmir | Image Resource : cleartrip.com
Hotel Grand Kashmir : I was so glad that I decided to stay at the Hotel Grand Kashmir. The neat and clean rooms are well set up to create such a comfortable ambiance. The hotel staff is really friendly and the food is really delicious. Since it is located comparatively near to Gulmarg, it’s easily accessible too. I recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Kashmir.
The magnificent exhibits and paintings put on display at the museum was a treat to our eyes. True to our history, India has a rich culture, which is deeply embedded in many things, including the art and architecture. We went back to our hotel as it was already getting dark. On our way to our hotel, we still kept wondering at the manner in which such a large number of ancient and antique books have been preserved in the library. I was also impressed with the special chamber where the belongings of Maharani Tara have been kept.
Meadow of Sanasar | Image Resource : juhi1971.blogspot.com
After travelling for around half an hour in the cab, we finally reached our hotel. But before entering the hotel, we decided to explore the nearby markets and do some shopping. I generally prefer to buy things online as it is extremely simple and easy but the beauty of the surroundings and the exclusiveness of the items forced me to spend some cash in buying things.
We had our dinner at the restaurants inside the hotel and tried out some cuisines which were suggested by the staff members themselves. I must say that they were extremely tasty. After the dinner, my friend wanted to go to sleep but I wanted to spend some time alone. So I bid him goodbye and took a stroll in the lawns of the hotel.
The view of the location in the dark was simply amazing. I returned to my room and check out the photographs that I had captured throughout the day. Some of them really mesmerized me. I had a sound sleep and woke up a bit late in the morning.
Wilderness Adventure Camp at Sanasar | Image Resource : juhi1971.blogspot.com
After having breakfast at the hotel, we went out to execute our tour plans for the second day. We started with Sanasar Jammu which is the name of two small villages namely Sana and Sar, generally pronounced together. The villages are actually named after two small lakes known as Sana and Sat.
Sanasar | Image Resource : sandeepachetan.com
They are situated at a distance of 20 km from Udhampur district along the 1A national highway. Both of us were extremely excited as we got to perform a host of adventurous sport activities. My legs were really itching to visit this place. We also got have some spectacular scenes of the Brammah Massif and other such mountain ranges.
The next destination in our list was the Amar Mahal Museum Jammu, but before the visit, we had our lunch at a roadside restaurant. The museum is located at a corner of the right side of the famous Tawi River. The driver informed us that there are many temples, forts and palaces in the nearby regions.
Amar Mahal Museum Jammu | Image Resource : carolkiecker.wordpress.com
The museum was originally a palace known as Amar Mahal. The locals informed us that it was constructed with the help of an architect from France because the Raja wanted to build it like a French Chateau. It came into existence during the nineteenth century, thanks to the efforts of a Dogra King known as Raja Amar Singh. It was Dr. Karan Singh who donated the entire Mahal to the Hair Tara charitable trust in order to convert it into a museum. We were really impressed with the collections of the museum.
Amar Mahal Museum and Library | Image Resource : panoramio.com
The massive library, which contained more than 25,000 rare and antique books, was simply hard to miss. It was really like a dream of viewing such a large number of exclusive books at one place. The manner in which the old and antique books were preserved inside the library was very appreciable. There was a throne made of gold and having a weight of around 120 kg.
The Golden Throne | Image Resource : indiancolumbus.blogspot.com
We were so fascinated with the beauty of the throne that we could simply imagine how the original peacock throne would have looked like. There were paintings representing Kangra miniature and Pahari miniature. The art collections of the museum were extremely rare. We came to know from other tourists that the palace acted as the last official residence for the entire Dogra dynasty. We could also spot a host of portraits representing different members of the royal family put up on display.
Amar Mahal Museum | Image Resource : wikimedia.org
From the outskirts of the museum, we could view the Shivalik Ranges on the northern side with the Tawi River flowing in the middle. There was also a famous hotel of great importance known as the Hari Niwas Palace Hotel close to the museum. We also visited the exclusive chamber, where we could find belongings of Maharani Tara Devi such as furniture, photos, decoration of India’s Crown and silver bedspread kept in their original form.
Boating at Dal Lake Srinagar | Image Resource : freedomtravelblog.com
Boating at Dal Lake Srinagar : If you’re in Srinagar then Dal Lake is one lake you shouldn’t miss. Last time I was there I took a boat ride through the lake and experience was amazing. The history behind the lake is fascinating. The peaceful ambiance will help you relax. Houseboats are there to travel this vast water body.
The beauty of the fort and the surrounding place was still etched in my memory. Though I did not want to leave the place immediately, I followed my friend as we had to visit a few other places today; our next destination was the Raghunath Temple.
Raghunath Mandir Jammu | Image Resource : ytimg.com
The entire temple complex is made up of seven different shrines associated with Hinduism, each having its own Sikhara. It holds the credit for being in the list of the largest temple complexes in this part of the country. The entire complex is built on an octagonal shaped raised platform with a height of 1.5 meter.
We came to know from the locals that the credit for the construction of the Raghunath Mandir Jammu is given to Maharaja Ranbir Singh and his father Maharaja Gulab Singh, who belonged to the clan of Jamwal Rajputs.
It has been in existence since the 1860s and acts as a host to a number of shrines with the presiding one being Rama who is considered to be one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu. We could easily spot the influence of the Mughal architecture in the construction of the temple. The complex of the temple was situated in Sui, which is at a distance of 18 km from the main city of Jammu.
There were spiral shaped towers equipped with spires plated with gold. The tower existing above the chief shrine however was constructed in the Sikh style. There were around 300 images well designed representing different deities embedded in the walls surrounding the shrines. We could also find themes representing Krishna, Vishnu, Sita and Ganesha from Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharata and Ramayana in the paintings put on the fifteen panels surrounding the chief shrine. There were some paintings that throw light on the type of weaponry and attire used at the time of the construction of the temple.
Raghunath Mandir | Image Resource : britannica.com
The locals informed us about a sad incident, which took place in 2002 with some suicide bombers attacking the temple with the motive of destroying it with grenades. The resulting firing led to the death of many people. We could easily spot open cattle yards and residential buildings inside the closed space. The interiors of the main inner chamber are completely gold plated. By then, it was time and we had to move on.
Shankaracharya Hill Temple Srinagar | Image Resource : mit.edu
Shankaracharya Hill Temple Srinagar : Just a beautiful temple set around breathtaking views. I climbed the 200 steps to the top of the temple and the view was just unexplainable. The feel of this place has of be experienced. It’s divine and rich history will bind your soul to this temple. The forest around are quite fascinating and the view of Dal Lake from the top is surely out of this world.
I had a sound sleep in the comfortable bed at the hotel until my friend called me to plan our itinerary early the next day. We freshened up, had breakfast in the hotel and left for the tour of the nearby tourist spots. The itinerary prepared included the list of the places we had to visit and they were the prominent ones; the first name in the list was the Bahu Fort Jammu. It was located very close to the hotel and we reached there in a few minutes. I am an ardent lover of history and love to explore the ancient remaining and buildings.
Bahu Fort | Image Resource : kashmirvoice.org
Luckily, my friend was equally interested about such ancient forts and monuments and told me many things about the Bahu Fort Jammu. It was actually built around 3,000 years ago by Raja Bahulochan but has been revamped in the 19th century by the Dogra rulers. It is considered to be a religious place by the local people who think that it has connections with the Hindu Goddess Maa Kali. Many locals also call it the Bave Kali Mata Temple.
Bahu Fort Jammu | Image Resource : globalvisiontours.com
We came to know that the fort is associated with a legend linked with Bahu Lochan and his brother Raja Jambu Lochan. It is said that the younger one had seen something miraculous that a tiger and a goat were drinking water from the same Tawi River without any kind of war between them. It is believed that it was this scene that had motivated the Raja to establish this fort as a site of peaceful coexistence.
One can easily see the Tawi River on the left side of the Bahu Fort Jammu, which is situated on a raised plateau. I was extremely happy with the idea of the forest in the surroundings being converted into a well-organized park known as Bagh e Bahu.
Jammu Bahu Fort | Image Resource : journeymart.com
We also visited the park and found that it was built in line with the idea of Mughal gardens generally found in Delhi, Agra and other such places. We enjoyed seeing a clear view of the entire city from the garden. The place was filled with many other tourists who were also exploring the fascinating features of the garden.
Aharbal Waterfall in Kashmir | Image Resource : blogspot.com
Aharbal Waterfall in Kashmir : If you’re adventurous and love nature, there isn’t a way you wouldn’t stop at these falls. The crystal clear water is a pure sight of beauty. The local people’s warm welcome made me stay long enough to click various amazing photos. A peaceful picnic spot set in Pulwama, indeed worth visiting while passing through Srinagar valley.
Being an audit officer by profession, I have to deal with plenty of complex monetary matters throughout the year. As it is the case, if you think that my life is completely boring and free of any kind of adventurous activities, you are wrong. I am an avid lover of travelling and never miss out any opportunity to have fun with my friends. I have been to a plethora of camping trips and trekking and love to expand my knowledge about different things.
Patna Junction | Image Resource : indiarailinfo.com
I am also a big fan of different types of gadgets, bikes and cars and love to play TPS/FPS games in my leisure time. It had been a long time since I had been to some exciting place and so I asked my friends if they had any intention to travel. Luckily, one of them was planning a trip to Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover, I had a long weekend and so decided to accompany her during the journey.
Archna Express | Image Resource : indiarailinfo.com
We had booked tickets with the Archna Express, which would take us directly from Patna to Jammu Tawi. The Patna Jammu route was about to be a pretty long one and so we bought some books and magazines. I had also kept all my gadgets charged so that I could make the most of the free time that I would get during the journey.
We boarded Archna Express at 7.20 pm and immediately settled down in the comfort of the First class AC coach. Since we were meeting after a long time, we had plenty to chat about our lives. After having dinner and chatting for a while, I climbed on the upper bunk and went for some sleep as it was already 11 pm. But before I dozed off finally at around 1 am, I made sure that I spent some time with my gadgets.
Jammu Tawi | Image Resource : wikimedia.org
The entire Patna Jammu route was completely clear of any hurdles and the train proceeded at its full pace. I was extremely excited that I would be exploring a place, which is considered to be a heaven on earth. We woke up early in the morning with the sound of the vendors and reached Jammu Tawi at 10.25.