Babor Temple in Jammu: An architectural delight
Ancient Babor Temple
The beautiful temple of Babor is located in Jammu precisely on the east of Jammu-Srinagar road. It is located at a distance of 72 km from Jammu-Srinagar road. People of the region are loyal followers of Lord Shiva. The five partially ruined temples in the region is the main attraction for tourists coming from different parts of India. These beautiful temples have intricately carved figures of god. The carving and sculpting of statutes of gods and goddesses have been done minutely with a lot of detailing. Even the slabs and beams have been beautifully carved and decorated. There are other sculptures and statutes like elephant and lions head carved on the pillars of the temple. The roof of the temple also shows great architectural excellence.
The statute of Goddess Ganga is the most exquisite of all the statutes in the Babor temple. All the ancient temples of Babor have rich and tasteful sculptures, which are exclusively decorated, in the temple. The entire construction of the temple was completed without using any binding material, which adds to the uniqueness of the temple. Large number of tourist comes to Jammu to pay tribute to Lord Shiva in this temple. Every year the temple sees huge influx of tourists who come here for pilgrimage and also to spend an exotic vacation in the Himalayan ranges.
About Ancient Babor Temple
All the year round the temple complex of Babor is brimming with devotees belonging to different religions. The temple complex of Babor is a wondrous creation of the ancient kings. The beautiful temple of Babor with lot of grandeur is located amongst the picturesque surrounding of Kashmir. Tourists can enjoy the scenic view of the valleys and the beautiful hillocks of the Himalayas from the temple.
Going for pilgrimage to Jammu is a wonderful trip for every pilgrim in some perspective. The intricate artwork found in the temple depicts excellence of architectural work in the ancient times. The temples of Babor are renowned all over India for their outstanding beauty and elegance. Therefore not only Hindus but also Muslims coming to the region visit the Babor temple to appreciate the artwork of the temple.
The construction of Babor temple dates back to 10th and 11th century. According to historians the temple complex of Babor is a six stone temple in modern size. Raja Babharvan and his regime constructed the complex of Babor temple. This beautiful temple is a replica of Greeko-Roman influence. The captivating temple of Babor, which was built in the 11th century, recorded the visit of Kirtidhara in Rajtarangini. Kalhana gave the detailed exposition of the visit. Kirtidhara was a ruler of Babhapura, which is now known as Babor. It was in the year of 1087 to 88 A.D. when the rulers of eight principalities of the adjoining areas were invited to Srinagar.
During winters their suzerain Kalasa invited them. As such it is a popular belief of the people of the region that the temple of Martand in Kashmir has inspired Kirtidhara to build the exclusive complex of temples in Babor. Other localites of the region have also revealed certain tales that these temples belong to the times of Mahabharata. During those times a powerful state had Babor as its capital. King Baboruvahan was the ruler of this powerful state and also a grandson of the Pandu brothers. In spite of the ambiguous past of the ancient temples of Babor, it is still a great attraction for tourists coming to this region.
Getting There and Around
Extensive roads and railways connect Jammu to the rest of India. The ticket of train and flight to Jammu is very moderately priced. Therefore large numbers of tourists come here to pay tribute every year to Lord Shiva.
• By Rail- Pilgrims can reach Jammu through the Jammu Railhead. To visit the temple tourists normally hire vehicles, which are available in abundance outside the railway station. The temple is located at a distance of 72 km from Jammu. It takes around 2 hours to reach the Babor Temple depending on the traffic conditions. Various trains available in the region are:
o Himsagar Express
o Jammu Tawi Express
o Navyug Express
o Andaman Express
• By Road- Many state-run and privately owned deluxe buses run through Jammu connecting it to the rest of India. These overnight deluxe buses are very convenient to travel. They stop at various food joints for the refreshment of the pilgrims.
• By Air- There are three important airports in the region at Jammu, Srinagar and Ladakh. These are located in convenient points. The easy accessibility of the place and the availability of different modes of transport in the region have made it a very popular destination for tourists.
Large number of fairs and festivals are celebrated in the region. People in the region decorate the temple in a festive manner. Pilgrims and the local people celebrate festivals with great pomp and show. As such the temple became renowned and people from different parts of India come here to celebrate different festivals. As Babor temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva therefore Maha Shivratri is celebrated with lot of joy and enthusiasm. The manner in which the festival is celebrated has attracted many followers of Lord Shiva to the temple every year.
The word Maha Shivratri literally means “the night of Shiva”. The festival is usually celebrated in the months of February and March in the 13th or 14th day. Maha Shivratri is regarded to be a day when Lord Shiva got married to Goddess Parvati. Therefore this festival is celebrated to honour Lord Shiva. The festival is celebrated for three days in the beautiful temple of Babor, which is decorated like a bride. Tourists come to the temple to participate in the magnificent procession of honouring Lord Shiva through Pujas and Aarti. The local people of the region organise dance shows to celebrate the festival in a joyous manner. There are overnight processions, which are entirely dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Various myths and legends are associated with every temple of Jammu. Similarly even the temple complex of Babor is enveloped with myths and legends. Historians have extracted texts from Puranic Literature to understand the legends associated with the temple. However the ancient texts and manuscripts regarding the Babor temple are of immense historical significance for the Historians. Kirtidhara was a very devoted follower of Lord Shiva, which made him, lay down the foundation of Babor temple, which was solely dedicated to Lord Shiva. Much later statutes of other Gods and Goddesses were also placed within the temple. People of the region believe that the temple has divine and supernatural powers gifted by Lord Shiva itself.
Every year pilgrims come to visit the temple to seek blessings of Lord Shiva and also to pay tribute to him. It is also a popular belief of the local people that people offering puja and arti to Lord Shiva in this temple get rid of their diseases and are showered with wealth and prosperity. A logical mind might doubt these folklores but the immense faith of the people gives some ground to the legend. Therefore pilgrims in crores come to the temple each year to seek blessings of Lord Shiva and to please him with their offerings. The water of the lake surrounding the temple is said to be having healing powers.
Best Time to Visit
There is influx of tourists in Kashmir valley throughout the year. The attraction of the place is such that chilling winters also could not avert the tourists from coming to Kashmir. However the best time to visit the temple is of course in the month of March when the festival of Maha Shivratri is held. Apart from that tourists love to frequent the place from March to October as the weather condition in the region is very inviting and pleasant. There are three seasons in Kashmir namely spring, summer and winter. Tourists normally prefer spring and summer to visit the place to enjoy the cool and soothing breezes of the valley. During the winter season the entire place is cloaked in white snow. Tourists come here during this time to enjoy skiing and other winter sports.