The winter capital of Jammu & Kashmir is bluffed on the Shivalik Range, overlooking the northern plains. The city was originally founded by Raja Jamboo Lochan who lived in 14th century BC. According to legend, during one of his hunting campaigns, Raja Jamboo Lochan reached the Tawi River where he saw a goat and a lion drinking water at the same place. Having satisfied their thirst, the animals went their own ways. The Raja was amazed, abandoned the idea of hunting and returned to his companions. His ministers explained that this meant that the soil of the place was so virtuous that no living creature bore enmity against another. He was so struck by this unusual sight that he decided to build a capital city on this land, 'Jambupura', on the right bank of the River Tawi, overlooking his brother king Bahu's fort. This city became known as Jambu-Nagar, which later changed into Jammu. Jammu has historically been the capital of Jammu Province and the winter capital of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir princely state (1846-1952).
The city name figures in the ancient book Mahabharata. Excavation near Akhnoor, 32 kilometres from Jammu city, provides evidence that Jammu was once part of the Harappan civilization. Remains from the Maurya, Kushan and Gupta periods have also been found in Jammu. Little is known of Jammu's subsequent history until, in 1730 AD, it came under the rule of the Dogra king, Raja Dhruv Deva. The Dogra rulers moved their capital to the present site and Jammu became an important centre of art and culture, especially the Pahari school of paintings.
Today, as if in testimony to Raja Jambu Lochan's vision innumerable temples and shrines, with glittering 'shikhars' soaring into the sky, dot the city's skyline, creating the ambience of a holy and peaceful city. The smart city of Jammu has come to be known as the 'City Of Temples'. Temple of Maha Kali ( better known as Bahu or Bawey Wali Mata), located in the Bahu fort, and considered second only to Mata Vaishno Devi in terms of mystical power was built shortly after the coronation of Maharaja Gulab singh, in 1822. The existing fort, as well as the Manasabdar's palace inside it, was constructed in 1820.