Akhnoor

An excursion from Jammu to the beautiful ancient town of Akhnoor, a Municipal Committee in the District of Jammu and is perched at a height of 301 meters or 988 feet above surface level, calls for an unforgettable experience. Akhnoor is aptly placed along the right riverbanks of the mighty Chenab River. In fact the River Chenab originates along the plains at Akhnoor and is surrounded by the majestic Shivalik Ranges and the Trikuta Mountain Ranges on its Northern and Eastern sides lending one of the most breathtaking sights to view.

Legend has that Akhnoor was originally named as Viratnagar during the ancient times. It is said that a Mughal Queen, with vision concerns, was instructed by a local Hindu Priest to wash her eyes with the sacred waters of the Chenab River after applying some herbs. After this episode, her vision was restored and as delighted as she could be, she named the town as ‘Aankh Ka Noor’ which translates to ‘Glow of the Eyes’; wherein ‘Aankh’ means ‘Eyes’ and ‘Noor’ means ‘Vision’. Henceforth, this historical town was named as such up till, with the change in times, it was shortened to Akhnoor, as we know today.

Akhnoor is touted as one of the most beautiful historical places to visit in Jammu. It is believed that the Pandavas had once stayed in the caves of Akhnoor during their exile as stated in the epic Mahabharata. Other ancient sites of religious significance also dot this town, of which, the famous one is the Parashurama Temple.

Historically stating, the inhabitants of Akhnoor had a considerable torturous past. They had to flee during the Indo-Pakistan War in 1965 and 1971 respectively, though managed to return after the ceasefire. This was possible as the border is located merely 18 kms away by road with an aerial distance of only 8 kms. Another mishap occurred when the main bridge over the River Chenab was destroyed on 10th September 1992 due to heavy floods. Luckily, it was rebuilt and opened for use, on 13th April 1994. This bridge features a modern concrete structure combined with the steel structure constructed in 1994 connecting Akhnoor to Jammu and its surrounding areas.

A scenic park stretches along the banks of the beautiful River Chenab right from Jiya Pota Ghat up to Parashurama Temple. This garden partially encircles the riverbank forming a beautiful glittering necklace lit up with lights around its circumference. A must-see especially after the late evenings, this beautiful site accentuates the charm and beauty of this small town.

A few kilometers from Akhnoor is Shiv Khori, a highly revered religious site in Jammu. You can also enjoy the views of the Indus Valley ruins seen close to the town of Akhnoor, as you travel along the River Chenab. Another brilliant discovery at Akhnoor is the findings of the Harappan ruins and remnants including artefacts dating back centuries ago to the Mauryan, Kushan, and Gupta periods. These excavations add a new dimension to the ancient character of Akhnoor apart from transforming this town into a heritage site in Jammu largely visited by intrigued tourists.

The riverbanks of the Chenab are considered as one of the most beautiful sights in Akhnoor where a number of Bollywood movies have been filmed. The popular temples in Akhnoor include the Kameshwar Mandir, a highly revered religious site dedicated to Lord Shiva, and Jiya Pota Mandir, situated on the Chenab riverbank and is considered as the prime attraction of Jammu especially during the peak summer season.

Mostly famed by the Chenab River, Akhnoor witnesses a large influx of local and foreign tourists who visit this region to bask in its beauty while the locals would often gather near the Chenab Riverbanks during the summer evenings to enjoy the cool breeze that flows from the waters of Chenab.

Namandhar Ghat is another scenic and beautiful tourist spot, situated across the Chenab River, on the other side of Akhnoor, which is often visited by locals, and neighbouring inhabitants during the summers to enjoy a get-together, for social gatherings, group discussions, or playing games apart from enjoying its cool breeze. Akhnoor is quite renowned for Shinzh Wrestling Competitions, which is organised every year during the months of October or November respectively.

Excursions from Jammu