The Mahakali temple famous as Bawe Wali Mata Temple has been built on a elevated platform and houses a black stone coloured idol of the Goddess Mahakali. Kali Mata Mandir is built within the premises of Bahu Fort, which overlooks the mighty Tawi River. The surrounding forest area has been converted into a beautiful park known as the “Bagh-e-Bahu”. Influenced by the Mughal gardens, the park provides a fantastic view of Jammu city. A newly constructed aquarium is also an added tourist attraction. The fort was built by Raja Bahulochan around 3000 years ago.
The temple is considered to be second only to the Mata Vaishnodevi temple. A number of devotees make a beeline to Jammu each year to soak in the spiritual aura of the region. Built using white marble on a raised platform about 3.9 feet high, this temple has an idol of goddess Maha Kali in black stone. This is a small temple from within so only a few devotees can enter at time.
Legend and History of Kali Mata Mandir(Bawe wali mata temple)
The temple is believed to have been built during 8th century in 1822 a little after the Maharaja Gulab Singh came to power. As per local folklore, it is believed that around 300 years ago, goddess Maha Kali appeared in Pandit Jagat Ram Sharma’s dream and spoke about her appearance in the form of a Pindi or stone buried on the hill top. Shortly after that a stone was found and a temple was built on the hill. The black stone that is symbolic of the goddess is said to have been got from Ayodhya by the kings belonging to the Solar dynasty, Raja Bahu Lochan and Raja Jambu Lochan much before the temple was constructed.
The temple was renovated so it appears to be a new temple. Animal sacrifice was widely practiced in the past, but nowadays temple priest perform a few rituals and sprinkles holy water over a sheep or goat before setting it free as a symbolic rendition of the sacrifice. This ritual is known as Shilly Charana. Devotees offer a sweet pudding known as Kadah to the goddess after their wishes have been fulfilled by her. Bahu fair is organised in Kali mata temple twice a year during navratras each in month of march-april and September-october. The temple attracts devotees in large number. A special puja is also performed here twice a week each on Tuesday and Sunday.
The temple premises are home to a big group of Rhesus monkeys, supposed to be the largest group in Jammu and Kashmir state. Cameras, sunglasses, food, hats should be kept away from their sight as they are notorious for snatching away such things from visitors.