Popular Places to Visit in Kathua
Kathua is a district of Jammu & Kashmir, located at a distance of about 88 km from Jammu. Legend has it that about 2000 years ago, Jodh Singh of the Andotra Dynasty, who was a famous Rajput King, settled here along with his three sons. All the three sons founded three small towns namely, Taraf Manjali, Taraf Tajwal, and Taraf Bhajwal. Together these three towns were known as Kathai by local people, and eventually, Kathai became Kathua. The district is considered as one of the most beautiful regions of the state and is known for various tourist attractions and spiritual centres. Bani, Panyalag Chandel, Sarthal, Duggan and Bansal are some of the famous tourist spots in the district. The valley of Bani is situated amidst nature and is known for its thick forests, numerous waterfalls, and beautiful meadows. The traditional temples namely, Dhoula Wali Mata and Jodia Di Mata are situated in Bani. Mata Sundrikote, Mata Bala Sundri, Airwan Temple, and Asha Purani Mandir are the popular temples located in Kathua. Peer Chattershah and Gurudwara Singh Sabha are some other religious sites present here. Basohli, Bhaddu, Hiranagar, Billawar are the famous towns located in the district.
Bani, a beautiful small valley, and the most prominent attraction in the Kathua District. This valley remains covered with ice, and that is why it has been given the title of ‘Mini Kashmir of Kathua’. Bani is situated at an elevation of around 4200 ft. Above sea level in the town of Bani along the Sewa River. Upon reaching the valley, travellers would discover several waterfalls, thick forests, noisy streams and beautiful meadows. Trekkers from Chamba, Bhaderwah and other destinations use this place as their base camp.
Airwan Temple, an ancient temple dedicated to Hindu Lord Shiva, is situated 15 km away from Kathua in Airwan Village. The history of this temple dates back to 4th century, and it is said that the legendary King of Ujjain, Vikramaditya had constructed this temple. The village of Airwan derives its name from the Ravi River. Numerous springs are present here where devotees take a dip in offering their prayers.The people who are unable to go to Haridwar to submerge the ashes of the dead can do it here in Gupt Ganga. Devotees throng the temple during the occasion of Baisakhi and Shivaratri that are celebrated every year.
Asha Purani Mandir
Asha Purani Mandir, popular as the Prachin Mandir, is located in the centre of Kathua City. Built in 1949 by ex-minister of the state, Shri Bhagat Chajju Ram, the temple is dedicated to Hindu Goddess Durga. The height of Mandir Bhawan (temple building) is 30 ft, and the statue of the goddess is 10 ft. high, which is positioned on the top of the temple’s building. According to the mythology, the temple is situated on the spot where the ashes of Goddess Durga were dropped by the Sudarshan chakra, a spinning disk-like weapon of Hindu God of Preservation, Vishnu. Since then, the temple is called the Asha Purani Temple. Tourists in a large number visit this temple every year to seek blessings from the presiding deity.
Chandel, situated at a distance of about 10 km from Bani, is a small but attractive valley. This valley has a spring, which is called Chandeli. Small orchards of walnuts, apple and almonds can be found in this valley.
Basohli, situated at an elevation of 1876 ft above sea level is a small town in Kathua District. Located on the banks of the Ravi River, this town was established in 1635 by the King or Raja Bhopat Pal. Tourists from all over the country visit this town to view the wonderful old stone carved idols and small paintings, which are also known as Basohli Paintings.
Bhaddu, a small town, is considered to be the place of a grand historical importance in Billawar Tehsil. The town having 36 villages was once a seat of Imperial Power. The area is located on the banks of the Bhinni Stream, which is a tributary of River Ujh. The successors of the royal family of the town are known as Bhadwal Rajputs.