Famous Temples and Spiritual Places in Jammu & Kashmir

Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu
Deity: Vaishno Devi

Maa Vaishnodevi Temple is India’s second most visited religious shrine, after Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. The temple is dedicated to Mata Rani or Vaishnavi, a manifestation of the Mother Goddess. It is located near the town of Katra, in Udhampur district. Pilgrims walk up to the shrine located high over the Trikuta hill at an altitude of about 5200 ft. Trikuta hill is the base camp for the journey to this shrine.

According to Hindu religion, in the Treta Yuga, when the earth was overburdened by the wicked and tyrannical rule of the demons, the Goddess Vaishnavi was created when Gauri, Lakshmi and Saraswati decided to combine their energies to rid the earth of impending doom. After destroying the demons that were burdening Mother Earth, Goddess Vaishnavi was requested to reside on Earth, so that she may forever keep all evil at bay. She chose to incarnate as a human, named Vaishnavi.

Amarnath Temple, Pahalgam
Deity: Lord Shiva

Amarnath cave temple is a Hindu shrine in Pahalgam and about 141 km from Srinagar, situated at an altitude of 3,888 m. The shrine is considered to be one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism. The cave is surrounded by snowy mountains. The cave itself is covered with snow most of the year except for a short period of time in summer when it is open for pilgrims. Hundreds of thousands of Hindu devotees make an annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave across challenging mountainous terrain.

The yatra (pilgrimage) to Amarnath starts from Chandanwari, 16 kms from Pahalgam, during Sawan (monsoon, July to August). The temple is famous for a ‘Shiva-Lingam’ (a natural formation of ice, in the month of July/August) believed to wax and wane according the moon’s cycle.

The legends say when Lord Shiva was narrating the secret of immortality to his wife Parvati, a pair of mating doves eavesdropped on this conversation and learned the secret. Repeatedly reborn, they are said to have made the cave their eternal abode. Even today, the people claim seeing the pair of doves when they trek to the ice Shivalinga.

Raghunath Temple
Deity: Lord Rama

Raghunath temple, dedicated to Lord Rama is a divine place in the heart of Jammu. The temple has seven shrines and all the seven shrines have gold plated spires.

Raghunath Temple was constructed by the first Dogra ruler Maharaja Gulab Singh in the year 1835 and later his son Maharaja Ranbir Singh got it completed in the year 1860 During Dogra rule. The temple has many gods in its complex of shrines, but the presiding deity is Rama – also known as Raghunath, an Avatar of Vishnu.

Shankaracharya Temple
Deity: Lord Shiva

The Shankaracharya Temple also known as Jyeshteshwara Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is on top of the Shankaracharya Hill on the Zabarwan Range in Srinagar. The temple is at a height of 1,000 feet above the valley floor and overlooks the city of Srinagar. Built on the picturesque location of Gopadari Hill, this Shiva temple stands on a solid rock and consists of an octagonal basement of 13 layers.

The temple may date to 2500 BCE, although the present Hindu structure probably dates to the 9th century CE. People believe that the saint Adi Shankaracharya visited Kashmir revive Sanatan Dharma and has ever since been associated with him as Shankaracharya temple. It is also regarded as sacred by Buddhists.