Dedicated to the "Goddess of Light", the Jwalamukhi temple is one of the most popular Hindu temples in Northern India. The temple located on a small spur on the Dharamshala-Shimla road at a distance of about 20-kms from the Jwalamukhi Road Railway Station attracts lakhs of pilgrims every year. In this temple there is a copper pipe through which natural gas comes out. The priest of the temple lights this and the blue flame emanating is worshipped as the manifestation of Goddess. There is no idol inside the temple.
30-km from Kangra and 56-km from Dharamshala.
Usually milk and water are offered to the sacred flames in the pit. The puja has different phases and goes on practically the whole day. Aarti is done five times in the day, Havan is performed once daily and portions of "Durga Saptasati" are recited. The women on way to the temple sing beautiful songs in praise of the Goddess.
Recognized as one of the 51 Shaktipithas of India, the Jwalamukhi Devi Temple, tended by the followers of Goraknath, is set against a cliff. The picturesque temple, built in the Indo-Sikh style, is a modern building whose dome is of gilt, gold and pinnacles and possesses a beautiful folding door of silver plates, presented by the Sikh Raja Kharak Singh. There is a small platform in front of the temple and a big Mandap where a huge brass bell presented by the King of Nepal is hung. 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 other points from the crevices of the walls of the pit. On the backside of the temple water runs along a watercourse, 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 songs popularly sung in praise of the Goddess describe 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 has made.
After Daksha Yoga Bhagna, Lord Shiva placed the burnt dead body of Sati on his shoulders and started wandering about in a state of madness. To save the world from the destructive wrath of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu started cutting the limbs of the dead Goddess Parvati one by one. The places where they fell became sacred centers for the worship of Shakti. The tongue of Sati fell at the place where the temple of Jwalamukhi is situated. The flames that come out of the openings in the earth’s surface are regarded as the manifestations of the fallen tongue of Sati and are worshipped as “Jwalamukhi Devi” (Goddess, who emits flames from her mouth).
During March-April and September-October every year colourful fairs are held during the Navaratri celebrations. Apart from Jwalamukhi temple, there is the Gorakh Dibbi Chaturbhuj temple and a host of other smaller shrines at Jawalamukhi town.
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