Glimmering Old Jammu City

Time is both merciless and bountiful and it is in no one’s prowess to influence its flow which cannot be even measured or precisely sensed by us through any of our body organs. Yes, but we can attempt to measure its flow objectively by making references to the actualization of cosmic phenomena around us.
Jammu city, the original one, still has glimpses of its sheen and radiance which agreeably cannot be felt by everyone unless one was having a craving for knowing history, glimpses and symbols of the past which we call -the time bygone and associated memories. We must possess a beholder’s eye to see the beauty and the grandeur of the old city rather than feel pessimistic about the behaviour of time that changes and keeps on changing much to our dislike . If one visits Raghunath Bazar in the heart of the old city , one gets a feeling of the charms of Chandni Chowk where you get wedding sarees, choicest and fashionable footwear , mouth watering snacks , dhabas and eating shops and those of medicines of all branches, shawls, suits, leather goods and the like – all in a small bazaar which has earned the heritage status.
Moving left , one can find a slight departure from the composition of the Raghunath Bazar in the area called the Residency Road which comparatively is less congested but houses important departments like Tourism , the JKTDC hotel , modern air conditioned hotels , shopping complex, busy shops etc . Until a few years ago, private buses to Srinagar used to proceed from here early in the morning and devotees responding to the ringing of bells and conch shell sounds from the Raghunath Mandir would be seen walking in early wee hours barefooted all in spiritual fervour to pay obeisance at the famous Mandir which is visited by devotees from across the country in hundreds everyday without any change.
Take for example, the wholesale Kanak Mandi , the definition of what is meant to be busy and “mind your own business” is manifest here from the shop owners to suppliers discussing terms of trade and commerce, to vehicles unloading the merchandise, to the labour carrying the items into the shops or the go downs while one can have the glimpse of narrow long lanes which remain comparatively cool even during the scorching heat, all due to the magnificent art of architecture, masonry and workmanship. Mubarak Mandi complex , the Royal residence of the Dogra Maharajas which was the centre of power for decades, the pride of Jammu , its rich architecture and the grace which is the heritage complex , housed until recently the Secretariat could safely be called the kernel of Jammu old city. Though presently under repairs , renovation and conservation , people throng the complex area for morning and evening strolls more for an attachment than for a mere walk. Hari Niwas Palace to where Maharaja Hari Singh shifted around 1930 is in itself an unparalleled piece of not only the architecture but unique in its location and layout. The excellent and graceful brickwork still sings the songs of its splendour and richness in majesty. Can we afford to get a replica of it anywhere in and around Jammu with the same exquisite taste ? How many roads, mohallas, localities , areas with famous cultural and heritage symbols , buildings, temples etc can be made a mention of, looks not that simple.
Increase in population, vehicles becoming inalienable parts of our routine life, changes in tastes, carving for spacious dwellings , lawns, expanding commerce and tremendous spurt in traffic have all led many people move from the old city towards newer areas and colonies but that never diminishes or dilutes the splendid grace , beauty, sheen and magical attraction possessed by the old city which will always remain reminding all of us that “Old is really Gold that never rusts.” The State administration nod to take all possible measures to restore the prestine glory of the historical Old City.