Jwalamukhi (ज्वालामुखी) is site of famous temple, 30 km south of Kangra valley of the goddess Jwalamukhi with flaming mouth.
In this temple there is a copper pipe through which natural gas comes out and the priest of the temple lights this. This flame is worshiped as a manifestation of the goddess Jwalamukhi. The nine flames have been named after goddesses - Mahakali, Unpurna, Chandi, Hinglaj, Bindhya Basni, Maha Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ambika and Anji Devi, continuously burning without any fuel, or assistance, may be seen erupting from a rock side. Now housed in the shape of nature is worshipped as a goddess, known as Jwalamukhi. The great Mughal Emperor, Akbar, had visited this place to verify its originality.
The temple belongs to the golden period when the gods roamed the Earth. Ancient legend speak of a time when demons lorded over the Himalaya mountains and harassed the gods. Led by Lord Vishnu, the gods decided to destroy them, they focused their strengths an huge flames rose from the ground. From that fire, a young girl took birth. She is regarded as Adishakti the first 'Shakti' known as Sati or Parvati, she grew up in the house of Prajapati Daksha and later became the consort of Lord Shiva. Once her father insulted Lord Shiva and unable to bear this, she killed herself. When Lord Shiva heard of his wife's death his rage knew no bounds and holding Sati's body he began stalking the three worlds. The other gods trembled before his wrath and appealed to Lord vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu let fly a volley of arrows which struck Sati's body and severed it to pieces. At the Places where the pieces fell, the fifty-one sacred 'shaktipeeths' came into being. Sati's tongue fell at Jwalaji (610 m) and the goddess is manifest as tiny flames that burns flawless blue through fissures in the age-old rock. Even the Pandavas are regarded to have visited this sacred place.
Some people believe that Jwalamukhi represents the flaming mouth of Jalandhara, the demon whom Lord Shiva crushed to death by placing on him a huge mass of mountains. Popular beliefs and history are often intertwined at Jwalamukhi. For instance, it is a fact that Akbar the great Mughal Emperor visited the temple. The water course which today drips into a tank in the temple premises is said to have been constructed by Akbar in an attempt to douse the jets of flames in the temple.
The story goes that when the flames refused to be vanquished by the water channel specially constructed for the purpose, Akbar with utmost humility, became a devotee of the Goddess, and overcome by emotion, presented a chattra (umbrella) of gold to the goddess. But when leaving, the Emperor looked back with immense pride at the valuable gift that he had made to the Goddess, and was mortified to find that the gold had turned into copper! Later Akbar's son Jahangir invaded the Kangra valley and after seeing Jwalamukhi, wrote in his Tuzk (memoires) near the temple and on the slope of the hill there is a sulphur mine and its heat causes flames to continually burst forth. They call it Jwalamukhi (flaming face or fiery mouth), and regard it as one of the idol's miracles?. Jahangir goes on to relate the legend of Shiva and Parvati and other stories connected with Jwalamukhi.
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. It is recorded that in 1835 the temple had a score of the most beautiful dancing girls. Today all that has changed. While improved and faster modes of travel (there are daily flights to the Kangra valley and more than 500 buses and 200 cars/taxis touch Jwalamukhi each day during the peak Navratra-Nine Sacred Nights season) have ensured greater number of pilgrims than ever before, the administration of the temple has undergone a sea change.
In princely times, temple affairs were guided and supervised by the princely state of Nadaun. The raja (ruler) took upon himself the task of deputing particular Pujaris (priests) for daily rituals. After India gained Independence and the break-up of the feudal system, the pujaris of Jwalamukhi administered temple affairs to their advantage-and the detriment of pilgrims. As a result, in March 1987, the state government enforced an Act which empowered it to take over the administration of the temple. Under the new system, the Temple Officer - who is a government official-ensures that the 102 poojaris at the temple perform the rituals on a daily rotation basis. 40 percent of the temple's daily collection goes to the pujari on duty on that particular day. The remaining 60 percent is spent by the Government on improving and developing facilities for pilgrims and the poor and needy.
How to Reach
Reach Jwalamukhi from Dharamshala by bus. Frequent buses pass through Kangra, distance 54 km and takes 2 hour. Kangra is 36 km away from Jwalamukhi. Trains from Pathankot to Joginder Nagar leave at 2.15 h, 4.50 h, 8.50 h, 9.35 h, 13.10 h, 16.00 h and reach Jwalamukhi road in 3 h and from there by bus to visit Jwalaji. Buses are also coming from Pathankot (123 km), Mandi (171 km), Manali (281 km). Simla (321 km), Palampur, Joginder Nagar and from several places of North India.
Thakur Deshraj writes -
महाराज नरेन्द्रसिंह सन् 1846 ई० 18 जनवरी को 21 वर्ष की अवस्था में महाराज नरेन्द्रसिंह अपने पिता की गद्दी के अधिकारी हुए। उक्त अवसर पर जिस तरह की रिवाज होती हैं, सभी हुईं। रियासत के ओहदे के अनुसार 101 अशर्फी जो गवर्नर-जनरल को महाराज की ओर से दी जाती थीं, महाराज नरेन्द्रसिंह के लिए गवर्नर-जनरल की ओर से जमा कर दी गईं।
उस समय पंजाब में अंग्रेजों के प्रति अत्यन्त असन्तोष फैला हुआ था। पर सिख-सरदार सभी अंग्रेज सरकार की ओर थे। सरदार लोगों का भी अपनी पलटनों पर विश्वास न था। पर महाराज करमसिंह बड़े दूरदर्शी थे। उन्होंने ऐसे अधिकारियों को भरती किया था कि जिससे नरेन्द्रसिंह को अधिक कष्ट न उठाना पड़ा। फिर भी कुछ सैनिकों ने बगावत करने वालों का कुछ साथ दिया, पर वे बड़ी होशियारी से दबा दिए गए। उस समय रियासत से पूरी सहायता की गई थी। अंग्रेज सरकार को सन्देह हुआ कि अवश्य ही इस विद्रोह में सरदारों का भी कुछ हाथ अवश्य है। इसलिए नाभा, पटियाला, जींद, फरीदकोट, कलसिया, रायकोट, दयालगढ़ और ममदूट रियासतों को छोड़ सब सरदारों से फौजदारी और पुलिस के हथियार छीन लिए और राहदारी का महसूल उठवा दिया गया और नाभा को छोड़कर इन रियासतों के लिए भी यही तय हुआ कि महसूल राहदारी छोड़ दिया जाए। उसके लिए उन्हें कुछ मिलेगा अवश्य और नाभा शहर के सिवाय, नाभा स्टेट में भी महसूल राहदारी हटा दिया जाय। ......
जाट इतिहास:ठाकुर देशराज, पृष्ठान्त-423
विद्रोहियों में सम्मिलित न हों। इसलिए महाराज को भी एक सूचना दी गई जिसके अनुसार उनकी स्वतन्त्रता और अधिकारों में कमी आ गई। '
सन् 1850 ई० में राजा ज्वालामुखी के दर्शन करने गए और वहां पचास लाख के करीब चढ़ावा चढ़ाया। इससे जाना जाता है कि नरेन्द्रकुमारसिंह कितना मातृभक्त था। क्योंकि हिन्दू पुराणों की आज्ञानुसार ज्वालामुखी शक्ति है, देवि है और इस बात का पता भी चलता है कि वह कितने धर्मानुयायी थे कि शक्तिपूजा करने गए।