Jwalaji Temple is situated in the lap of Shivalik range of Himalayas in Jwalamukhi town of Kangra District in Himachal Pradesh, India. It is at a distance of 55 kilometers from Dharamshala, which is another popular city as well as tourist spot of Himachal Pradesh. The Jwalamukhi temple, often also called as Jwala Ji is dedicated to Hindu Goddess Shri Jwala Devi Ji. The words Jwala means flame in Sanskrit language.
It is a typical four cornered temple. There is a gold plated gilt dome and a pair of silver plated folding doors. Jwalaji temple is renowned for not being a house to any idol. Instead, there is a flawless blue flame in the center, which is worshipped in manifestation of Jwalamukhi Devi. Actually, a natural gas emits from a copper pipe which is lit by the priests at the temple. Nine flames emit out from several points in the pit which burn continuously and have been named after the goddesses – Mahakali, Annapurna, Chandi, Hinglaj, Vidhya, Basni, Maha Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ambika and Anji Devi. The temple is open for devotees from 5 am to 10 pm. Five aartis and one havan are performed through the day for offering prayers to Jwala Devi at the temple. The bed of Goddess Jwala is decorated with beautiful dresses and jewelry during the aartis. Seasonal fruits, milk, sweets and misri etc. are offered to her as bhog.
Legend and History of Jwala Devi
Jwala devi temple is probably the most ancient temples of Hindus since there is a reference of it in the scripts of Mahabharata as well. It is one of the 51 Shaktipeeths of India. According to Hindu mythology, when Devi Sati burnt herself in fire and agonized Lord Shiv Ji performed the Tandav dance lifting her on his shoulders, Lord Vishnu unleashed his Sudarshan Chakra to save the universe from widespread devastation. Different parts of her body fell in places and Jwala Ji temple is the place where the tongue of Devi Sati fell.
The place also has mythological associations with demon Jalandhara who was crushed to death by Lord Shiva. Jwala ji signifies flaming mouth of Jalandhara.
It is believed to have been built up by a king who once received a complaint from one of his cowherds that his cows were always without milk. The cowherd had seen a girl drinking the milk from his cows and then disappearing in the forests. The King already knew about the legend that tongue of Devi Sati had fallen in that area. Some years later, the cowherd reported to the king that he had seen a flame burning in the mountains. The king visited the spot and worshipped the holy flame. He built a temple at that place and also arrange for priests who worshipped the flame regularly. Later the temple was renovated by pandavas.
It is revealed by history that the Mughal emperor Akbar tried to put out the flame of the temple but he failed in doing so after which he willingly accepted the strength of the Hindu Goddess.
Festival and Fair
The best time to visit the holy shrine of Jwala Devi is during the Navratris which happen to fall mostly in the months of April and October. There is a temple fair that is organized during both the navratris. The attractions of the fair are folk-dances, songs, plays, wrestling matches and athletic activities.
Himachal Pradesh tourism department runs Hotel Jwalaji which is at a distance of 350 meters from the shrine where devotees coming from different parts of India and the world can have a comfortable stay. The hotel has a modern built with luscious trees and lawns. The accommodation facilities at the hotel include Luxury suite and Deluxe rooms that are air-conditioned, Semi Deluxe rooms that are air cooled and Regular rooms and Dormitory that have ceiling fans.
How to reach
The temple is well connected with major cities and towns by way of airways, roads and railways.
Air – the Nearest airport Gaggal is at a distance of about 50 kilometers from the holy place. Chandigarh airport is at a distance of 200 km.
Railways – the nearest railway station is Ranital which is 20 kilometers away from Jwalamukhi temple.
Road – The temple is also well connected by road with regular state transport buses plying from all major parts of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Else you can reach Kangra, Gaggal or Chandigarh and hire a taxi to conveniently reach the pious destination. Pathankot (123km), Mandi (281 km), and Manali (281 km) are other major towns located close to the temple.
- Location → Kangra – Himachal Pradesh – India
- Dedicated to → Jwala Devi
- Main Attraction → Nine flames that are burning without fuel
- Main Festival and Fair → Navratras in April and October
- How to reach by Air → The nearest airport at Gaggal and Chandigarh.
- How to reach by Rail Nearest railway station → The nearest narrowgauge railhead is Jawalaji road Ranital at a distance of 20 km from the shrine.
- How to reach by Road → Well connected this Shrine from Delhi, Chandigarh & Dharamshala. Taxis can be hired from these places.