The Flaming Goddess
Jwalamukhi is 34-km from Kangra and 56 km from Dharamsala. Recognised as one of the 51 Shaktipiths of India, Jwalamukhi's Devi Temple, tended by the followers of Goraknath, is set against a cliff. The picturesque temple, built against a wooded spur, in the Indo-Sikh style, has a dome that was gilded by Mughal Emperor Akbar.
An eternally burning flame that issues from a hollow rock in the sanctum is considered the manifestation of the goddess Devi. During March-April and September-October every year colourful fairs are held during the Navaratra celebrations.
THE LEGEND OF JWALAMUKHI
Jwalamukhi is a famous temple of goddess Jwalamukhi, the deity of flaming mouth, built over some natural jets of combustible gas, believed to be the manifestation of the Goddess. 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.
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. The burning flames and the complex have come to be known as Jwalamukhi.
The temple located on a small spur on the Dharamsala-Shimla road at a distance of about 20-kms from the Jwalamukhi Road Railway Station attracts lakhs of pilgrims every year. No idol is located in the temple but only the flames, which come out from the crevices of the rock, are worshipped. They are natural jets of combustible gas.
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.
The deity is- offered Bhog of Rabri or thickened milk, Misri or candy, seasonal fruits, milk and arti is done. There is a mystic Yantar or diagram of the goddess, which is covered with, shawls, ornaments and mantras are recited. The puja has different 'phases' and goes on practically the whole day. Arti is done five times in the day, Havan is performed once daily and portions of "Durga Saptasati" are recited.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh paid a visit to the temple in 1815 and the dome of the temple was gold-plated by him. Just a few feet above the Jwalamukhi temple there is a six-feet deep pit with a circumference of about three-feet. At the bottom of this pit there is another small pit about one and a half feet deep with hot water bubbling all the time.
Nagini Mata: The site of a fair held in the months of July/August, this place is located on the hill above Jawalamukhi.
Sri Raghunathji Temple: Popularly known as 'Tera' mandir, it stands at a tilt after the earthquake of 1905. Lord Rama, Laxman and Sita are said to have stayed here and the first temple is supposed to have been built by the Pandavas.
Ashtabhuja Temple: This ancient temple has a stone image of the eight-armed goddess and other smaller shrines adjoin this.
Nadaun: Closely connected with the glory of Kangra's erstwhile rulers, there are numerous old temples and remains of a couple of old palaces here.
Chaumukha: There is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva with a huge four-faced-image.
Panj Teerthi and Mahakalehwar: By the banks of the river Beas and closely associated with the exile of the Pandavas are these two sacred places, situated within a few hundred metres of each other.
Bankhandi: Here at the Baglamata temple there is a stone image of the goddess. At the nearby Shiv temple is a 'linga' said to have been placed by the Pandavas.
Haripur: There are numerous attractive temples and an old fort located over here.
Mangarh: On a top of a hill is this octagonal fort named after Raja Mam Chand .
Air: The nearest airport is at Gaggal, 46-km from
Rail: The nearest railhead is situated at Maranda, 5-km from Palampur, which connects the town with Baijnath, Kangra, Jwalamukhi, Pathankot and Joginder Nagar.
Road: One can catch regular buses from here to Dharamsala, Kangra, Kullu, Mandi and Shimla via Mandi .
Accommodation in Jawalamukhi includes HPTDC's Jawalaji
Hotel. Certain resonable options such as Dharamsalas are also available in