Bagh-E-Bahu

baghiWith extensive gardens, the Bagh-e-Bahu has been developed around the ramparts of the ancient Bahu fort and is a popular excursion and picnic spot for both the local people and for visitors. The Bahu fort is about five kilometers from the city and lies on a high rock bank close to the river Tawi. It is believed that the original fortifications were erected by Bahu some 3,000 years ago. Extensive reconstruction of the fort was done by the Dogra rulers of Jammu and gardens in the Mughal style were also developed but the work on the Bagh-e-Bahu as it exists today, really began in the 1980s. Along slopes that lie below the fort, the gardens have been created on terraces with large water-bodies interspersed with fountains. These are flanked by flower-beds and trees. A large lake like water body has also been created in the gardens. The view is of the river, the city and the Trikuta hills.

The latest addition to the Bagh-e-Bahu is an awareness center and aquarium that may well be one of the largest on the Indian sub-continent. This is over 220 meters in length. The entrance is shaped like the mouth of a fish, and the exit, like a tail. The aquarium has twenty-four caverns that are divided into those that hold fresh-water and marine-water fish. A public gallery, a museum, a laboratory and a conference hall are also within this section of the Bagh.

Within the fort, there is the ancient dedicated to the goddess Kali locally called Bawey Wali Mata. She is considered to be the presiding deity of Jammu and with whose blessings the town was established and prospered. Tuesdays and Sundays are held especially sacred and the temple is thronged with worshipers. The temple is at times referred to as the Mahamaya temple and was extensively renovated in the nineteenth century just after Gulab Singh took over as the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir.