Kali Mata Mandir is built within the premises of Bahu Fort, which overlooks the mighty Tawi River. The surrounding forest area has been converted into a beautiful park known as the “Bagh-e-Bahu”. Influenced by the Mughal gardens, the park provides a fantastic view of Jammu city.
A newly constructed aquarium is also an added tourist attraction. The fort was built by Raja Bahulochan around 3000 years ago. The temple is dedicated to goddess Maha Kali who is Jammu’s presiding deity.
The temple is considered to be second only to the Mata Vaishnodevi temple. A number of devotees make a beeline to Jammu each year to soak in the spiritual aura of the region. Built using white marble on a raised platform about 3.9 feet high, this temple has an idol of goddess Maha Kali in black stone. This is a small temple from within so only a few devotees can enter at time.
Animal sacrifice was widely practiced in the past, but nowadays temple priest perform a few rituals and sprinkles holy water over a sheep or goat before setting it free as a symbolic rendition of the sacrifice. This ritual is known as Shilly Charana. Devotees offer a sweet pudding known as Kadah to the goddess after their wishes have been fulfilled by her.
Everyday at dawn many local girls visit the temple. They are worshipped by the pilgrims and devotees as Kanjaks and offer them money, bangles, sweets and pieces of clothing known as chunnis. The people of Jammu have a staunch belief that goddess Kali who resides in this temple protects Jammu from Pakistani air attacks.
The temple premises are home to a big group of Rhesus monkeys, supposed to be the largest group in Jammu and Kashmir state. Cameras, sunglasses, food, hats should be kept away from their sight as they are notorious for snatching away such things from visitors.
Legend and History of Kali Mata Mandir
The temple is believed to have been built during 8th century in 1822 a little after the Maharaja Gulab Singh came to power. As per local folklore, it is believed that around 300 years ago, goddess Maha Kali appeared in Pandit Jagat Ram Sharma’s dreamand spoke about her appearance in the form of a Pindi or stone buried on the hill top. Shortly after that a stone was found and a temple was built on the hill. The black stone that is symbolic of the goddess is said to have been got from Ayodhya by the kings belonging to the Solar dynasty, Raja Bahu Lochan and Raja Jambu Lochan much before the temple was constructed.
How to reach Bawe Wali Mata Jammu
The closest airport to the temple is the Jammu airport which is around 13.5 km away from the temple. Almost all airlines operate regular flights to Jammu from major cities like Delhi, Srinagar, Chandigarh and Leh.
Jammu Tawi is the major railway station in Jammu and the closest one to the temple. There are regular train services from the major cities of India like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Trivandrum. The temple is located at a distance of about 5.5 km from the railway station.
Jammu is well connected with an extensive bus and taxi network. Private tourist buses ply to and fro between Jammu and the major Indian cities like Delhi, Manali, Amritsar, Shimla and Ludhiana. Taxis can be hired from Jammu city to reach the temple which is around 5km away from the centre of Jammu city.