Kali Mata Mandir – Bawe Wali Mata Temple in Jammu
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 the time. Animal sacrifice was widely practiced in the past, but nowadays temple priest performs 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.
Fort is surrounded by a beautiful terraced garden.The famous temple of Bawey Wali Mata inside the Bahu Fort is also known as the temple of Mahakali Goddess and is considered second only to Mata Vaishno Devi. The famous temple of Bawey Wali Mata inside the Bahu Fort attracts pilgrims every Tuesday and Sunday who come here to worship the presiding deity of Jammu.One can really imagine, on looking at the fort; the wars fought, the invasions prevented and even the grandeur of the Royal families. Today the fort is surrounded by beautiful terraced gardens, which is a favorite picnic spot for the city folk. It has waterfalls, flowers, and big trees.