Jwalamukhi Devi Temple
Jwalamukhi is a famous temple devoted to goddess Jwalamukhi, the deity of flaming mouth. Raja Bhumi Chand Katoch of Kangra, a great devotee of goddess Durga, dreamt of the sacred place and the Raja set people to find out the whereabouts of the site. The site was traced and the Raja built a temple at that location. The building is modern with a gilt dome and pinnacles, and possesses a beautiful folding door of silver plates. Under the gaze of the Dhauladhar range and set amidst the undulating hills that character sub-Himalayan Himachal Sati’s tongue is believed to have fallen at Jwalamukhi and the goddess is manifest as tiny flames that burn a flawless blue through fissures in the age old rock.
On the backside of the temple water runs along a water-course which takes off from a spring high above. Some say this canal was constructed by Emperor Akbar to try to quench the flames. The attempt having proved abortive, he became a devotee of the Goddess. The song popularly sung in praise of the Goddess describes how the Mughal Emperor came barefooted and placed a crown of gold before the Goddess as offering. That crown is still preserved and it is said, it was turned into copper as soon as the Emperor looked back in pride and thought of costly present he had made.
The interior of temple consists of a square pit about three feet deep with a pathway all round. In the middle, the rock is slightly hollowed out about the principal fissure and on applying a light the gas bursts into flames. The gas escapes at several other points from the crevices of the walls of the pit. There is no idol of any kind, the flaming Fissure being considered as the fiery mouth of Goddess. There is the Gorakh Dibbi, Chaturbhuj Temple and a host of other smaller shrine at Jawalamukhi town.
One legend says that Prajapati Daksha, the father of Sati once organized a great Yajna and invited all gods except Shiva. When Sati came to know of this, she pestered Shiva to go to Yajna. Shiva maintained that they should not go uninvited. Sati argued that it was not bad to go to parents or Gurus un-invited. Shiva did not agree for himself but allowed Sati to go. On reaching her father’s house, Sati saw that no seat (assan) had been earmarked for Shiva, which meant a deliberate attempt to humiliate Shiva. She was so offended that she at once plunged herself into the havankund of Yajna. On hearing this, Shiva rushed to the spot and found Sati half burnt. Distressed Shiva carried the corpse of Sati, gyrated it from summit to summit. Apprehending a great calamity befalling, the gods ran to Lord Vishnu for help who then severed Sati’s body into pieces with his Sudarshan Chakra. Places where the pieces fell, gave rise to fifty-one Shaktipeeths, the centres where the power of goddess is inherit.
There is another legend associated with Jawalamikhi. A cowherd found that one of his cows was always without milk. He followed the cow to find out the cause. He saw a girl coming out of the forest, drank the cow’s milk, and then disappeared in a flash of light. The cowherd went to the king and told him the story. The king was aware of the legend that Sati’s tongue had fallen in this area. The king tried, without success, to find that sacred spot. Again, some years later, the cowherd went to the king to report that he had seen a flame burning in the mountains. The king found the spot and had darshan (vision) of the
holy flame. He built a temple there and arranged for priests to engage in regular worship.
It is believed that the Pandavas later renovated the temple. The folk song that “Panjan Panjan Pandavan Tera Bhawan Banaya” bears testimony to this belief. Raja Bhumi Chand, the progenitor of the ruling Katoch family of Kangra, first built the temple. Jawalamukhi has since times immemorial turned out to be a great pilgrimage centre. The Mughal Emperor Akbar once tried to extinguish the flames by covering them with an iron disk and even channelizing water to them. But the flames blasted all these efforts. Akbar then presented a golden parasol at the shrine. However, his cynicism at the power of devi caused the gold to debase into another metal. His belief in the deity was all the more strengthened after this incident. Thousands of pilgrims visit the shrine round the year to satisfy their spiritual urge.
During summer, the climate is mild and light woollens/cottons are recommended. In winter, the temperature can drop to freezing point when heavy woollens are required.
How To Reach
Closest Airport is at Gaggal, 50km away. Chandigarh airport is at a distance of around 200 km.
The nearest Narrow gauge is at Ranital, 20 km away. Also Nearest Broad Gauge Railway Station is at Pathankot, More than 100km away
The temple is also well connected by road. State transport buses from cities of Punjab and Haryana are available. Taxis are also there to take you to the Jwalamukhi temple.