Jwalamukhi Temple ( Kangra, Himachal Pradesh )
Image credit : sam murthy
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. One of the 51 Shaktipeeths of India, the temple of Jwalamukhi is in Jwalamukhi town, which is about 70 kilometers from Dharamsala. Jwalamukhi is a famous temple of Goddess Jwalamukhi, the deity of flaming mouth, believed to be the manifestation of the Goddess Sati. The building is modern with a gilt dome and pinnacles, and possesses a beautiful folding door of silver plates. The Devi appears in the form of nine different flames. The principal one is believed to be Mahakali. The other eight flames at different places in the temple represent the following Goddesses Annapurna, Chandi, Hing Laj, Vidhya Vasini, Maha Lakshmi, Maha Sarswati, Ambika and Anjana.
Image credit : Rats
The legend of the Jwalamukhi Temple relates to Sati, who was born when gods concentrated their individual energy on the ground. These gods were looking for a respite from the atrocities of the demons. This girl was Adishakti or the first shakti (Sati or Parvati).
She was brought up in the house of Prajapati Daksha and married Lord Shiva later. It is believed that Prajapati Daksha once organised a yajna and invited everyone barring Lord Shiva. Sati felt immensely humiliated at this act of her father and immolated herself in the fire of the havankund. On hearing this, Lord Shiva became so furious that he carried Sati’s burnt body and moved around the three world. The gods could foresee a calamity approaching so they assembled before Lord Vishnu and asked him to do something to diffuse the anger of lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu cut apart Sati’s body into several pieces with his Sudharshan Chakra. Wherever on earth the pieces of Sati’s body fell, a shaktipeeth came up. These are the spot that are regarded as the power centre of the goddess.
Image cerdit : arindom
The Jwalamukhi temple is the place where the tongue of Sati fell. Here the goddess is manifested as tiny flames that burn through the fissures in the age old rock. The temple is supposed to be first built by a king who, on the complain of a cowherd, tried to find out the place where from where a female emerged and drank the milk of the cow. Since, the king was aware of the legend of Sati, he continued his search for the place and finally succeeded. He constructed a temple there and employed priest to perform pujas. Later, Pandavas came and carried out some renovation work in the temple.
Image credit : Nikhil
History of the Temple
In princely times, temple affairs were guided and supervised by the princely state of Nadaun. In 1809, Maharaja Ranjit Singh visited the temple and after dyeing his hand in saffron, stamped an agreement in the temple premises with Raja Sansar Chand-the local ruler. Later after tasting success in the Afghan war, Maharaja Ranjit Singh gilded the roof of the Jwalamukhi temple as a thanksgiving. His son Kharak Singh presented to the temple a pair of silver-plated folding doors.
The Temple Itself
The temple of Jwalamukhi is not an architectural delight. Moreover, there is no idol to worship too. The building has a gilt dome and a silver plated folding doors. Inside, there is a 3 feet square pit with pathway all around. In the centre, there is a hollowed rock over a primary fissure of flame. This one is regarded as the mouth of the Mahakali. Flames emit out from several other point in the pit. They are nine in total and represent the different form of the goddess – Saraswati, Annapurna, Chandi, Hing Laj, Vindhya Vasini, Mahalakshmi, Mahakali, Ambika and Anjana. There are two lions in front of the temple.