Jammu is known as City of Temples. Its sky dots the Shikhar of many temples most of which were built by the Dogra rulers. Dogra rulers not only built the temples in Jammu city but in the villages around Jammu too. Notable among these are Sui Simbli,Burj ,Purmandal,Mehreen,Radha Kishan Temple and Prat Temple. Most of these temples were built by Maharaja Gulab Singh and now are under Dharamarth Trust. One lesser known temple built by Maharaja Gulab Singh is at village Abtal and another temple built by Bamu Shah at Bamu Chak.
Bamu Chak is now un-inhabited village due to its proximity to Indo-Pak International Border. The inhabitants of this villages migrated from this village and settled in the surrounding villages of Samba and Jammu districts, and some of them moved to neighboring Kangra district of Himachal Pardesh. Bamu Chak is situated on the old cart road, connecting Jammu with Lahore and Amritsar.
Through this cart road pilgrims of Mata Vaishno from then Punjab used to travel and stay at Sarai in the Bamu Temple.
Bamu temple, Sikhara style temple, was built by Bamu Shah. Maharaja Gulab Singh granted many acres of land to Bamu Shah. Great great grandson of Bamu Shah, Sh. Ashok Shah who now look after the land and temple told that Bamu Shah accompanied Maharaja Gulab Singh to Haridwar for the last ritual of mother of Maharaja. He told that this temple is about 175-200 years old and was built parallel to Abtal temple.
Bamu Temple is made of bricks with high thin tapering sikharas surmounted at top by series of kalasa and pradakishana path all around. Constructed on a small square shaped raised platform, it consists of a small square-shaped sanctuary (called the garbhagṛha/ sanctum). The sanctum is preceded adjoining pillared maṇḍapas (hall or gallery).
The entrance doorway of the sanctum is richly decorated with bands of floral and geometric ornamentation. The whole structure raised on a terrace (jagati) has shrines for attendants and visitors at the corners.
The inner and outer walls of temple are decorated by beautiful colorful wall paintings depicting the various incidents of Ramayana and Mahabharata as well as some rituals and customs of the Dogra culture. At present, most of these have faded or washed in harsh weather.
Some of the wall paintings inside the sanctum are well maintained. Sh Ashok Shah informed that a team from ASI visited the temple a year before and is working on the proposal to reconstruct, revive the loss heritage and maintain whatever is left.
Bamu Chak temple can be reached from Jammu by joining the dots at Jakh->Nandpur->Gherda->Dug->Abtal->Bamu Chak (38 kms).
[Written by Parmil kumar on his Facebook Timeline ]