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JAMMU –MANSAR


About 62 km from Jammu, Mansar is a beautiful lake sounded by forest-covered hills with its length more than a mile and width half-a-mile. Besides being a popular excursion destination in Jammu, it also has provision for boating for which adequate facilities are provided by the J&K Tourism. The history of mansar and surinsar goes back to the time of Mahabhartata. Babar Vahan, son of Arjun and Ulpi (daughter of king Nag), was ruling this area during Mahabhartata. After the war of the mahabhartata arjun performed "Ashwamegh Yagya" to prove his supriority over the land. The horse (used as sign of power for Ashwamegh Yagya) was captured by Babar Vahan at village 'khoon' nearby village Ramkot on dhar Udhampur road where Arjun was killed by babar vahan. With joy of victory, babar vahan presented the head of Arjun to his mother Ulpi. She told him that he has killed his father. To make arjun alive again, mani from sheshnag was required. Hence babar vahan made a surang through his arrow and formed surangsar which is now named as surinsar. After defeating sheshnag and capturing mani, babar vahan came out at manisar later on known as mansar. Mansar can be reached from Jammu on the National Highway while traveling from Jammu to bordering state of Punjab. You can also reach from Udhampur (A District Headquarters, Udhampur is a town approximately 60 Kilometers away from Jammu on the National Highway while traveling from Jammu to Srinagar) on National Highway 1A.

Mubarak Mandi Palace

The current design of Mubarak Mandi Palace is a culmination of the efforts of the Dogra rulers throughout 150 years. Steeped in history, this grand palace complex once served as the royal residence of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. The architecture of the palace, which is an exemplary confluence of Baroque, Rajasthani, European and Mughal styles, is truly awe-inspiring. Several well-decorated courtyards, old buildings and palatial palaces could be found within the complex. Worth-mentioning among the palaces are Darbar Hall, Gol Ghar, Pink Palace, Nawa Mahal, Rani Charak Palace, Toshakhana Palace, Hawa Mahal and Sheesh Mahal. Bedecked with exquisite glasswork, Sheesh Mahal is the most eye-catching section of the complex.
The galleries and spacious halls in the palaces were used for conducting official ceremonies. Featuring an extensive collection of artefacts and paintings detailing the imperial history of the region, the Dogra Art Museum, located within the Pink Hall, is another major highlight.

Amar Mahal Museum

Constructed by King Raja Amar of Dogra in 1890s, this museum was planned by a French architect and looks like a French chateau with Indian artisans. It was home to the royal family for many years. Made of red sand stone, the palace was turned into a museum with rich collections of paintings, books, inscriptions and sculptures. The Durbar hall of the museum is adorned with family portraits of rulers of Jammu and Kashmir along with magnificent Pahari paintings. The exhibits like throne of Maharaja Hari Singh is made of 120 kg solid gold and a spectacular sight.

Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary

Named after its namesake village near Jammu, Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary is a serene wildlife haven that is home to several endangered animals and avian species. Sprawling across an expanse of 33.24 sq km, this reserve is covered with dense forestation of fir and pine trees.
This wildlife sanctuary boasts of a huge population of pheasants, which are facing extinction in present times. About eight different species of mammals inhabit this forested region, which include leopard, wild boar, grey langur, bharal and rhesus monkey.
Birds like Indian mynah, cheer pheasant, red junglefowl, Indian peafowl, blue rock pigeon and chakor flock here in large numbers, making it a favourite haunt of birdwatchers and ornithologists. With its dense woods and rich wildlife, Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary thrives as a wonderful destination for nature and wildlife enthusiasts.

Peer Kho Cave Temple

Located around 3.5 km away from the heart of Jammu city, is known to be the oldest site in the Shivalik region. Situated on the busy Circular Road, this temple is easily accessible from different corners of the city.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and enshrines a black Swayambhu (naturally-formed) Shiva Lingam. It is believed that Jamvant (the 'King of Bears') – a prominent character in the Ramayana meditated at this spot, which is why it is alternatively known as Jamvant Cave.
There are two natural caves inside this shrine, each having a depth of about 20 to 30 feet. To reach the Shiva Lingam, visitors have to go through a flight of several marble steps from the ground level. Throughout the year, Peer Kho Cave Temple experiences a huge influx of devotees, which increases during the celebration of Shivaratri and other Hindu festivals.

Akhnoor Fort

In the quaint town of Akhnoor, about 28 kilometres away from Jammu city, lies the majestic Akhnoor Fort. The Chenab River, flowing close to the fort, enhances the beauty of the place. Started by Mian Tej Singh in 1762 A.D., the construction of the fort took 40 years to complete.
Built across two floors, this structure features arches and beautiful mural paintings. Besides, the huge walls, bastions, watch-towers, battlements and merlons are quite a sight to behold.

Ziarat Peer Mitha

A revered Islamic shrine, located in the heart of the Jammu city, this place of worship features a twin structure, which is composed of a beautiful mosque and a large tomb. A fine specimen of splendid Mughal architecture style, this edifice boasts of fine carvings and gracefully adorned interiors. Eye-soothing verdure surrounds this grand construction, adding to its aesthetic appeal.
This shrine is dedicated to Baba Ziarat, who was an esteemed Muslim saint. One day, his followers gave him a pinch of sugar (Mitha) as offering, which he accepted. This is from where the place derived its title, which is an amalgamation of the saint's name and the holy offering. Devotees from different places gather here in large numbers to pay homage to the saint. This is one of those worshipping places that can be visited by people of any caste, creed and religion

Dargah Garib Shah

Another shrine, which has its devotees, spread across religions, this one is dedicated to a saint, Garib Shah who preached of humanity and unity.
It is only, but natural, that Dargah, is hence, a site where religions meet and celebrate spirituality, undivided. The are more than one such instances, with a major one being in the fact that the Dargah is run and maintained by a Hindu community.

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