Jammu & Kashmir Maha Kali Mandir
Located in the Bahu Fort, the Maha Kali Mandir is second to Mata Vaishno Devi when it comes to spiritual power. The temple was constructed in 1822; post the coronation of Maharaja Gulab Singh. One of the important temples in the Reasi town, this temple is located in the heart of the city. With time, the Maha Kali temple has gained immense importance because of the staunch belief of the devotees in Kalika Mata.
Even today there are no clear evidences about who was the first to construct the Maha Kali Mandir. Some opine that the temple was constructed in the 8th century by King Bahu Lochan while others believe that Amir Timur attacked the Bahu Town and the Maha Kali Mandir during 1398-99 AD.
The Main Shrines in Maha Kali Temple
Located approximately 5 kms from the main city, the temple is also known as the Bawe Mata Temple. The main shrine hosts the idol of Goddess Kali, in her usual vicious style with her tongue hanging out. Besides, the temple is also home to other shrines as well as idols including Narasimha, Ganesh, Shiv Linga Ram-Lakshman-Sita-Hanuman, Radha Krishna, Panchmukh Hanuman, and Vaishno Devi. You’ll also find an individual shrine where the three prominent deities Saraswati, Lakshmi and Kali are found together. Noted as one among the oldest “shaktipeeths” of North India, here Goddess Kali is worshipped in the form of a “shila” in the Bahu Fort.
Navratra Festival in The Maha Kali Mandir
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 for worshipping 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.
Common Rituals in Maha Kali Mandir
Even today, the ritual of animal sacrifice is executed in the temple. On your visit here, you’ll be able to find the signs as well as symbols for this practice. Usually the local pilgrims come to pay their homage every Sunday and Tuesday, as a result, the temple remains too crowded on these days.
How to Reach
Jammu and Kashmir has three prominent airports at Ladakh, Jammu and Srinagar. The nearest airport to Maha Kali Temple is Jammu Airport that is well connected to Delhi as well as other major cities of the country.
Jammu Tawai is the nearest railway station from where you can reach Maha Kali Temple. The railway station is connected to the major cities and towns of the country. Once you arrive at the station, you can hire cabs to reach the desired direction.
You can take the National Highway 1A that is connected to Punjab and runs through Jammu. Besides, you can also avail state transport buses that run through majority of the cities and towns in north India. Besides, Ladakh is also well connected to Manali and Srinagar by road networks.
Best Time to Visit
Jammu enjoys a cool and pleasant climate for most of the year. The best time to visit this tourist destination is during the months of September to April. Festive seasons like Lohri, Ramnavami and Diwali are also considered to be good choices for planning a tour to Jammu.