Heritage identity of Jammu city

In most parts of the world including in India, an undercurrent of identifying, preserving and sustaining heritage has assumed the proportion of a silent movement. How do we recognise and in what comparison, historical , cultural, tangible and intangible forms of our heritage can have varying parameters and yardsticks but approximation and similarity can definitely be there in respect of attachment and fondness coupled with a desire to sustain the same. Sustaining may be broadened in its substance and may include restoration and replenishment works to bring the same somewhat nearer to the form and shape it existed in its pristine and prime time. Heritage lovers can find a lot in the city of Jammu in its urban form . Let us not render exclusiveness to all types of heritages to villages, caves, deep forests, forts and remnants of the finds from excavations alone, it can be found and in plenty in the urban parts which most probably “progressed” to urbanity and elegance of modern cities from the mundane(ness) of the rustics of the deep countryside. Jammu city is in no dearth of its unique and valuable identity and a look of taste and fascination can find a lot to value and feel proud of.
With this prelude , Jammu city can be looked at from the peculiarity of the richness of varied cultural heritage , take it identity heritage, living heritage and various rituals and practices apart from other standing symbols of heritage mostly historical and geographical bequeathed from the ups and downs of the historical events and the nature itself respectively. Culture spreads and is identified also in the pattern of the dwellings , heritage buildings , religious structures , language with different dialects, cuisine and food habits and tastes, folk music especially enjoyed on marriage ceremonies and other cultural events. Celebrating of chosen festivals and associated fun and frolic constitute the traditional glimpses of the rich heritage. Jammu city has all that in abundance.
The old city is reminiscent of a peculiar design and position with narrow long lanes covered by residential buildings , usually two to three storied that provide a uniquely planned cover from scorching rays of the sun during the prime summer season which, of course, is missing in modern colonies built up in open non congested places. If it is said that the congestion of the dwelling patterns of the old city provided a unique and valuable identity , a closeness among the people , it will not be any overstatement. The identity of the city of Jammu as compared to most of the cities of other States is singularly conspicuous of religious structures and other monuments of old masonry of local tasteful dexterity, watching which is a feast to the eyes with a longing to have more of such structures erected with the same sized bricks and the mortar, then used. Palaces , Forts like the famous, revered and most frequently visited by the people known as Bahu Fort lend a tasteful narrative to the local heritage and looking at the city from this side unfolds before us the River Tawi flowing with the Shivalik hills in the backdrop and a fascinating topography of the city depicting like a splendid painting on a canvas.
We have Mubarak Mandi Palace right in the heart of the old city with a volume of varied heritage , that of the structure building containing historical valuable items and relics, the grandeur of its workmanship having a distinctive feature of the cultural landscape etc overlooking River Tawi .There are numerous symbols and points of distinct identities mentioning of whom, one by one, in the limited space is difficult but the antithesis of varied hues and challenges to the sustainability of rich heritage are numerous , chief among them being the sloping curve of the otherwise increased taste and love for such symbols of our heritage as blindly fast and unplanned urbanisation, is rendering the apparent importance and the glory of such heritage to oblivion. Irrespective of Jammu Master plan and claims of promoting tourism to have the cultural historical religious and tangible heritage as the focal point , much remains to be done on the ground.
The need of the hour is to unlock Jammu City’s vast cultural heritage potential for development and identify and address the challenges of linking cultural heritage with economic growth. It is worth noting that cultural heritage of Jammu city and for that matter of any city blessed with such heritage, is a long term investment with good assured returns if policies and vision programmes are formulated in that direction. Agreed, Government has got to do a lot but involvement of cultural, social, religious, philanthropic and other organisations too have to contribute a lot especially towards awareness of the importance of the cultural heritage, particularly among the members of the younger generation.


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