Jwalamukhi Temple – Goddess of light
Surrounded by the heavenly beauty of the Kangra valley, Jwalamukhi Temple is famous and is considered extremely scared for Hindu devotees. This place is known for being a temple that doesn’t house any idol,and the worshippers pay respects to the flame inside the temple which is believed to be the manisfestation of Goddess Jwalamukhi.It is one of the 51 Shaktipeetas where Goddess Sati’s tongue fell.According to Hindu mythology,when Lord Vishnu cut Sati’s corpse by using his Chakra,her body got scattered into 51 pieces at various places where Jwalamukhi is considered as one such place where her tongue fell.The temple consists of a copper pipe from which natural gas is emitted aand priests of the temple lit it to produce a flawless blue flame.Legend has it that Lord Shiva killed Jalandra,the demon whose flaming mouth represents the Jwalamukhi(‘Jwala’ is Flame and ‘mukhi’ is ‘mouth’).The flames are believed to be coming from his mouth.A total of nine flames are ignited in the temple,which represents and also named after the nine Goddess-Mahakali,Annapurna,Chandi,Hinglaj,Vidhya, Basni,Mahalakshmi,Saraswati,Ambika and Anji Devi which burn evreyday without fail. It is believed that the Raja Bhumi Chand Katoch of Kangra,a great devotee of Goddess Durga dreamt about this scared place and ordered his soldiers to have a lookout for this place.After discovering the site,the Raja built the temple at this very location Jwalamukhi Temple is built in modern having its dome made from gold and a beautiful folding door crafted out of silver plates.
History & legend of Jwalamukhi Temple
- Jwalamukhi Temple is one of the 51 Shaktipeeths. According to the hindu mythology,Sati who was a Goddess was born when Gods concentrated their entire energy on the ground.The Gods were looking for some protection from the atrocities of the demons.Goddess Sati was born and brought up by Prajati Daksha and later married Lord Shiva.Once Prajati Daksha organized a yajna in which everyone got invited except Lord Shiva.Sati felt humiliated and insulted by such act of her father.She decided to take revenge by immolating herself in the yajna. With this action of her’s,Lord Shiva became extremely furious and carried her corpse around the three worlds.
- All the deities became furious by Lord Shiva’s act and decided to contact Lord Vishnu for his help.Lord Vishnu for his help.Lord Vishnu decided to take action and therefore cut down Sat’s body By his Sudharshan Chakra which got scattered into 51 pieces at various places,and these places are called as Shaktipeeths which is regarded as the power centre of Goddess Sati.
- Jwalamukhi is one of the form of Maa Durga where the tongue of Sati fell.The Goddess is beleived to be the tiny flames that ignite everyday through the fissurer in the age old rocks.
- Jwalamukhi Temple was first constructed by Raja Bhumi Chand who had a dream about this sacred place where he decided to go and search for.After discovering this place,he decided to built a temple at this very place which came to be known as ‘Jwalamukhi’.
- The history of the temple reveals about Mughal emperor Akbar once visited this place and tried to douse the fire but did not succeed.After this incident,he submitted himself to Goddess and presented her a gold umbrella which is said to turn into copper when he looked back before leaving the temple.
Significance of Jwalamukhi Temple
- The main feature of this place is there is no idol to worship.The temple consists of a copper pipe from where natural gas gets emitted and priests of this temple lit it to produce a flawless blue flame where worshippers pay respects to this flame which id beleived to be the manifestation of Goddess Sati.
- Several Flames emit at various points inside the temple.There are nine in total which are given various name of different Goddesses which are Mahakali,Annapurna,Chandi,Hinglaj,Vidhya,Basni,Mahalakshmi,Saraswati,Ambika and Anji Devi which burn continuously.
- The temple has a dome which is made of gold and the door is a beautifully crafted crossfolding which is made out of silver plates.Inside the temple,,there is a 3 feet pit having pathway all around it and this is considered as the mouth of the Mahakali Goddess.
- At the entrance,there are two lions statues and the temple’s architecture consists of a dome and several pinnacles.There is a small platform in front of the temple and a (check usage) big mandap where a huge brass bell presented by the King of Nepal is hung. Usually milk and water are offered and the ahutis or oblations are offered to the sacred flames in the pit, situated in the centre of the temple in between the floor pillars supporting the roof.
- Jwalaji (flame) or Jwala Mukhi (flame mouth) is probably the most ancient temple besides Vaishno Devi. It is mentioned in the Mahabharata and other scriptures. There is a natural cave where eternal flames continue to burn. Some say there are seven or nine flames for the seven divine sisters or the nine Durgas. The physical manifestation of Jwala Ji is always a set of flames burning off natural gas.
Jwalamukhi Temple timings
- Jwalamukhi Temple gates remain open all days of the week.The visiting hours of this temple is between 5:00 am and 8:00 pm.
- The Pooja in temple occurs in gradual stages.Havan takes place everyday and the goddess is offered bhog of Rabri(thickened milk),misry or candy apart from the regular bhog of seasonal fruits and milk.
- Aarti is conducted five times a day where the first aarti happens early morning around 5:00 am when the temple gates open.This aarti is called as the “Mangal aarti ” and takes place just before dawn.
- The next aarti called as “Panjupchaar pujan” is performed during sunrise.The next aarti is known as “Bhog ki aarti” where the deities are showered with fruits,milk by the devotees as a gesture of saying thank you to the goddess.The next aarti is performed around 7:00 pm and does not hold a specific name.
- The last and the final aarti happens around 10:00 pm.This is a very special aarti known as “Saiyan ki aarti” where the bed of Devi is beautifully decorated with flowers and ornaments.The aarti is performed in two phases.The first phase happens inside the main temple and the second happens inside the sejabhavan.Apart from these five aartis,shlokas are recited daily to the deity.
Festivals celebrated at jwalamukhi temple
- The Jwalamukhi fair is held twice a year during the Navratri of Chaitra and Aswin. The devotees go round the ‘Jwala Kund’ in which the sacred fire burns, making their offerings. The ‘Gorakh Tibbi’ a centre of the Gorakhpanthi Naths is placed near the Jwala Kund. Folk-dances, songs, plays, wrestling matches and athletics are some of the important attractions of the fair. The Jwalamukhi Temple in Kangra becomes the venue for the major fair.
- In April and October, the people of the area who believe that the jets of the inflammable gas coming from the volcano are actually the sacred fires coming out from the mouth of their Goddess, worship the Goddess of the Jwalamukhi volcano in the district of Kangra in Himachal Pradesh. People come with red silken flags (dhwaja) to greet the Mother Goddess, ‘JwalaJi’. The fair is attributed to the worship of that Eternal Flame which is coming out of earth spontaneously and perpetually.
How to reach
- By Air: The nearest airport to Jwalamukhi Temple is Gaggal airport,Dharamsala which is located at a distance of 46km from Jwalamukhi Temple.The airport connects only three major cities i.e Delhi,Chandigarh and Kullu.Indian Airlines flies to Dharamsala thrice a week from Delhi.
- By Rail : The nearest railway station to Jwalamukhi temple is Kangra railway station which is located at a mere distance of 2 km from Jwalamukhi Temple.The closest broadguage railhead is at Pathankot, 123 km away. Nearest narrow gauge is the mountain train at Kangra.
- By Road : Jwalamukhi temple is arround 140 km from pathankot via dharamsala. Jawalamukhi is 30 km from Kangra and 56 km from Dharamsala, You can find bus service from Pathankot. If going by car from Delhi/ Chandigarh to Dharamshala/ Kangra follow Una-Amb-Mubarikpur, follow NH20A, Chintpurni, Dehra Gopipur, turn right on SH 22 to reach Jwala ji, come back to Ranital on NH88 to go to Kangra.
Hotels to stay
There are a lot of good rated hotels that one can find near Jwalamukhi Temple.One can accomodate these hotels which are located within 1 km radius.
Where to Eat
There are many good restaurants that one can visit after paying respects to Goddess Sati. Also Kangra is known for its various food joints that one can enjoy after visiting this place.
- Nagini mata is a site that is located about 4.5 km from the temple where an annual fair is held in July/August which is located on the hill above Jwalamukhi.
- Shri Raghunathji temple is about 5 km from Jwalamukhi where it is believed that Lord Ram, Sita and Lakshman used to stay here.
- Ashtabhuj is a temple located at a distance of 1 km from Jwalamukhi and is one of the ancient temples in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.
- Nadaun is a princely state about 12 kms from Jwalamukhi.There are several old temples and ruins of old temples built during the princely rule of Karota Rajahs.
- Chaumukha temple is about 22 kms via Nadaun.The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva with a huge four faced image.Chaumukha temple has four temples,of which three doors are permanently closed.
- Panj Teerthi and Mahakaleshwar – these are about 9 kms and 28 kms via nadaun from Jwalamukhi.These places are located by the banks of River Beas.Panj Teerthi is said to be built by Pandavas during their exile.This place is considered as scared as Haridwar.
- Bagulamukhi temple in Bankhandi is 36 kms from Jwalamukhi.There is a stone image of goddess Bagulamukhi located there which is worshipped so that one can win over enemies.
- Haripur is about 45 kms from Jwalamukhi.There are several attractive temples and an old fort.Haripur is a historic place where the famous Kangra miniature paintings were born.
- Mangarh is located about 37 kms from Jwalamukhi where there is an octagonal fort named after Raja Man Chand on top of a hill.Also there is an ancient temple located near this fort which was built by Pandavas.