The Kali Mata Mandir was constructed 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.
About The Temple
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. Every day 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.
About the Deity
The temple is dedicated to goddess Maha Kali who is Jammu’s presiding deity.
Legend and stories
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 dream and 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.
The Navratra festival arranged at the Mahakali temple was an occasion of great festivity and fun for the locals. They would cross the Tawi River and climb up to the temple to worship the goddesses and seek their blessings. On their way, they could find wooden toys; make up items, sweets as well as household items. In fact, during those days, it seemed as if the huge ground in front of the Bahu Fort came to life with the temporary stalls especially arranged for the Navratra festival.
Best time to visit
A pleasant and cool climate greets visitors all year around. But, it can get extremely hot during summers and very cold during the winter months. Ideally the best time to visit Jammu is between October and April. Twice a year, during the Navaratras in March or April and September or October, the temple erupts in festivities celebrating the Hindu festival, "Bahu Mela". The festival attracts a huge number of pilgrims and visitors to both the fort and the shrine inside the fort’s premises. During this time, special stalls selling flowers, coconuts, sweets, incense and red cloth open up to make offerings to the temple’s deity. Tuesdays and Sundays are considered to be even more auspicious days for worship at the temple.
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.
Maha Kali Mandir,
Jammu ,Jammu & Kashmir, India.
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- Relief from diseases
- Purchase of vehicles
- Gain Knowledge
Jayantii Manggalaa Kaalii Bhadrakaalii Kapaalinii Durgaa Shivaa Kssamaa Dhaatrii Svaahaa Svadhaa Namostu Te
Meaning -We salute the Devi Kali, who is always victorious and always auspicious, we offer salutations to Bhadrakali Devi who wears a skull garland, we salute Shiva's consort and the embodiment of self-control and supports all beings, Devi Durga, who is Swaha as well as Swadha. We offer our salutations to you.
Om Maha Kalyai Ca Vidmahe Smasana Vasinyai Ca Dhimahi Tanno Kali Prachodayat
Meaning -Om the great Goddess Kali who stays in the ocean of life and burial grounds, we focus our energies on you, may you grant us our wishes and bless us
Kaalika Kalahey Gorey Paathuthvaam Parameshwari Mandapey Thathra Mathangi Thatha Sowmya Swayamwarey
Meaning -Let the ever charming, mother of the universe, protect us and stay in this mandap and bestow her blessing on us as mother Mathangi.
Katyayani Mahamaye Mahayoginyadheeshwari Nandgopsutam Devipatim Me Kuru Te Namah
Meaning -Oh Goddess Katyayani, the great vigour of the Lord, the owner of great magical power and the mighty one who controls all, please make the son of Nanda Maharaj my husband. I offer my salutations to you.