Samba district of Jammu region, is not only famous as land of Rajput warriors, but also a home to centuries old religious places which has fetched the area immense tourism potential.
The ancient temples such as temples of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, and ‘Chotta Kashi’, ‘Gupt Ganga’ also called ‘Uttarvehini’ are very little known to the people. Moreover the district is a home to several revered shrines that attract visitors in large numbers each year.
Due to intense efforts and different initiatives taken by the government these places are becoming an attraction for the people across the country with visitors from various places thronging different areas of Samba district.
“We have formed committees by involving local people to promote and develop all these ancient religious places besides places having immense tourism potential in Samba,” Rajesh Raina, a senior officer of the Tourism Department, told Rising Kashmir.
Purmandal in Samba is one of the most sacred religious places in the UT. It is situated on the banks of the Devak River ‘Gupt Ganga’, also known as ‘Chotta Kashi’. It has many centuries old Shiva temples around imbibing immense religious significance religious . It is surrounded by the Shivalik Hills that possess a natural beauty.
‘Uttarvehini’ is another religious place situated on the banks of holy River Devika. Located at a distance of 5 kms from Purmandal, it houses centuries old temples of Lord Shiva.
People immerse the mortal remains of their near ones in the holy River Devika (Gupt Ganga) near Purmandal. This is considered like immersing the mortal remains in the holy River Ganga as per the Hindu mythology.
Similarly, Shri Narsingh Dev Ji Temple, an ancient temple of Lord Vishnu is situated at distance of only 300 meters from National Highway at Ghagwal just near the Samba town, it also attracts thousands of pilgrims during Navratras and other occasions and is a major tourist attraction of the area.
Just three kms prior to Samba Town, there is a world famous Chichi Mata temple alongside the National Highway.
According to the Hindu mythology, the place, where the present day Chichi Mata temple exists, the goddess Sati's smallest finger (Chichi finger) fell off after she sacrificed herself in Yagya.
The shrine of Baba Chamliyal near the International Border (IB) in Samba, is a glowing example of secularism and inter-religious harmony. It is located at a distance of around 40 Kms from Jammu and around 17 kms from Samba town.
It is situated on the IB with Pakistan where a festival is organised every year in the memory of Baba Dalip Singh Manhas (Baba Chamliyal).
The Shrine is also revered by the Pakistanis who, through their frontier guards offer “Chaadar” at the shrine and in turn collect Shakkar (sacred clay of the shrine area) and Sharbat (water of the shrine’s well) which people believe to have healing powers against serious skin ailments.
Similarly, Peer Kapila the Gadhi of NathSect serving Lord Shiva is just 4 kms from Baba Sidh Goriya and towards Chamliyal. An old abode of Lord Shiva in the form of temple is situated in the ashram.
Another famous religious place in Samba is the holy shrine of Baba Sidh Goriya. It is 35 kms from Jammu in Samba at Swankha area. The Shrine is in the memory of Baba SidhgoriannathJi, follower of Guru GorakhnathJi. Each year Lakhs of devotees visit the shrine and offer prayers , especially during the Mela.
Apart from this, the Samba District has produced many gallant soldiers including the recipient of the first gallantry award of Independent India, Brigadier Rajinder Singh, MVC.
Historically, Samba has been known for its 22 Mandies which were established by Raja Suchet Singh to whom the District also owes the famous Samba fort.
Samba has also produced many national and international personalities. Ustad Allarakha Khan Qureshi, Tabla maestro was born in Ghagwal Village situated near the Samba town.
Ustad Allarakha Khan promoted art all across the world. A recipient of Padma Shri and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Ustad Allarakha Khan popularised the art of tabla playing across the globe. He elevating the status and respect of this instrument.
Ustad Allarakha Khan was featured in a Google doodle on 29th April 2014, on the occasion of his 95th birth anniversary.
he Mansar Lake in Samba is one of the main tourist attraction. It is 22 kms away from Samba and fringed by forest-covered hills.
The Mansar Lake is surrounded by small hills with temples of various Hindu Gods and Goddesses that attract a large number of tourists as well as religious pilgrims in the area.
Another attraction here is the Surinsar - Mansar Wildlife sanctuary, named after the two lakes spanning on each corner.
This wildlife sanctuary spreads in an area of around 98 sq kms and harbors a mammal population of eight species which include Goral, wild boar, barking deer, leopard etc.
The J&K Government has declared Kalij Pheasant as bird of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir which is found in Surinsar-Mansar Wildlife sanctuary.