If there is heaven on earth, it is believed to be in the land of the Kinners and Gandharvas, that is, Jammu and Kashmir. These two states have had a glorious history of being a hub of culture and spiritual learning in the entire world. Five pilgrimage sites are worthy of being visited in Jammu and Kashmir.
Vaishno Devi and Bawe Wali Mata Mandir
The most visited shrine in Jammu is the temple of Mata Vaishno Devi. Pilgrims from not only North India but from other parts of India also visit the mountain-top cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi. Another famous temple in Jammu is the Kali Devi Temple known as Bawe Wali Mata Mandir located in the namesake village. It attracts maximum devotees on Tuesdays. Many devotees volunteer in the temple premises to serve free food and other essentials to the pilgrims.
It is located a few kilometers to the Jammu bus stand, airport, and railway station. Raghunath temple is a Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Ram and the 33 crore deities of the Hindu pantheon. The construction of this temple was commissioned by a local king, Maharaja Gulab Singh, in 1835. However, it was his son Maharaja Ranbir Singh who completed the construction of the shrine in 1860. There is tight security in the temple and mobile phones are not allowed.
The place where Shankaracharya, the great philosopher, revivalist, and saint stayed when he visited Kashmir was turned into a holy temple by local kings. It is located at a hilltop in Srinagar. This temple houses a Shiva Lingam. Visitors have to climb about 243 steps to access the temple and another 8-10 steps to reach the temple hall. The army personnel stays on guard at the temple gates, and none is allowed to enter the premises after 5 PM. The temple top offers gorgeous views of the surrounding Srinagar Valley.
This is one of the holiest cave shrines of Lord Shiva in India and the trek to this site is equally arduous. The Amarnath yatra begins every year in May-June. The general route is through Chandanwadi (16 km from Pahalgam) and via Pissu, Sheshnag and Panchtarni. The yatra concludes at Amarnath Gufa (cave) situated on the Amarnath Mountain. It is important to plan for this pilgrimage at least a year in advance.
It is located in the centre of Srinagar, in Nowhatta, and is a special mosque. It is believed to be 600 years old. The mosque was made by Sultan Sikandar Shah Kashmiri Shahmiri in the year 1394 as ordered by Mir Mohammad Hamadani. The look of Jamia Masjid is on the lines of Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. The masjid appears quite similar to the Buddhist pagodas. It is also the largest mosque in Kashmir.