(Last Updated on : 22-10-2013)
According to Hindu mythology, there are fifty-one Shaktipeethas in the country. Among all these, the Jwalamukhi Temple is considered extremely sacred for the Hindus. Exactly located around 30 km south of the Kangra valley, this temple is dedicated to Goddess Jwalamukhi, the deity of Flaming Mouth.
Most of the temples of India go by a legend. The Jwalamukhi Temple too is of no exception. It is related to Sati. She was born when gods concentrated their individual energy on the ground. All the gods wanted to reprieve from the hands of the demons. The girl who took birth was Adishakti or the first Shakti.
Prajapati Daksha reared her up and was married to Lord Shiva later. Popular believe states that once Prajapati Daksha organised a yajna and invited all other god excluding Lord Shiva. Sati felt too much humiliated at this act of her father and out of shame, she immolated herself in the fire of the havankund. Lord Shiva was furious at hearing this. He carried the burnt body of Sati and moved around the three worlds. The gods could foresee a calamity approaching. They assembled before Lord Vishnu and asked him to do something to disperse Shiva's anger. Lord Vishnu then cut apart Sati's body into several pieces with his Sudarshan Chakra. The body parts fell in various parts of the country. In each part there came up a Shaktipeetha, which is regarded as the power center of the goddess.
The tongue of Sati fell in the place of Jwalamukhi Temple. The goddess is manifested as tiny flames that burn through the fissures in the age-old rocks. A King is supposed to have built the temple. He, hearing complain of a cowherd, tried to find out the place from where a female emerged and drank the milk of the cow. The King was well aware of the legend of Sati and continued his search for the place and succeeded. He constructed a temple over there and employed a priest to worship the deity.
As stated in the history of the Jwalamukhi Temple, Akbar, the great Mughal Emperor visited the place and tried to quench the flame of the temple. He was unsuccessful in doing so and as a result he gave up his try and submitted to the power of the goddess. He presented a gold chatri (umbrella) for the goddess, but it turned into copper when Akbar turned to have a look at it before leaving. Maharaja Ranjit Singh also visited the temple in the year 1809 and gave the gilt roof. His son, Kharak Singh had gifted a pair of silver plated folding doors to the temple.
It is also found that during the princely era, the Raja of Naduan managed the work of the temple. But presently, Government pays the Pujaris.
Architecturally, the temple is not very beautiful. There is no idol to worship too. Apart from a gilt dome and silver plated doors, there is a three 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.
There are five Aartis conducted in the temple. The aarti performed at 5 in the morning is called the 'Mangal Aarti'. The next aarti is called 'Panjupchaar Aarti'.
The 'Bhog Ki Aarti' is conducted in the mid noon. At 7pm, the evening aarti is conducted and at around 10 o'clock in the night the 'Shaiyan Ki Aarti' is conducted. During the last Aarti, the bed of the Goddess is decorated with beautiful dresses and Jewellery. The aarti is performed in two parts. The first one is in the main building while the other is in the 'sejabhavan'. Slokas from 'Sondarya Lahri' by Shri Shakracharya are recited throughout the aarti. 'Havan' is also performed once a day and parts of Durga Saptarshi are recited during it.