Glory of Bharath  »  Bharath Darshan

Dear Sai Brothers and Sisters,
Our sacred journey this month takes us to the Mother Goddess in all her effulgence in the form of a holy fire in Himachal - the Jwalamukhi Temple which is one of the 51 shakthipeethas in India.

Jwalamukhi Temple
The Jwalamukhi Temple in Himachal is considered extremely sacred for the Hindus. It is located around 30 km south of the Kangra valley in the lap of Shivalik range and is dedicated to Goddess Jwalamukhi, the deity of Flaming Mouth. The legend of the Jwalamukhi Temple relates to Sati, who was born when gods concentrated their individual energy on the ground. The Jwalamukhi temple is the place where the tongue of Sati fell. Here the goddess is manifested as tiny flames that burn through the fissures in the age old rock.

The temple of Jwalamukhi is not an architectural delight. Moreover, there is no idol to worship too. The building has a gilt dome and a silver plated folding doors. Inside, there is a 3 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. The temple is one of the 51 power spots or Shaktipeethas of India. One of the most revered temples of the Hindus, the temple possesses a golden dome, gifted by Mughal Emperor Akbar.

History of Jwalamukhi Temple ( Kangra ) - Himachal Pradesh

Dating back to the origin of Adishakti or Sati, the temple basks in a glorious past. It was to get respite from the unending atrocities of the demons that the gods concentrated their individual energies at one point, thus giving birth to Sati. Brought up in the house of Prajapati Daksha, Sati got married to Lord Shiva later.

Once Prajapati Daksha organized a yajna and invited al the gods and goddesses to it barring Lord Shiva. Sati wanted to partake in this grand affair so she reached the place of the Yajna uninvited. All her sisters were welcomed by her father there except her. Daksha did not even dedicate the sacred portion of the Yajna Prasad to Lord Shiva. This made Sati feel immensely humiliated. Therefore, she immolated herself in the fire of the Yajna.

Sati's end disturbed the Lord Shiva immensely. He sliced Daksha's head. On his reparation, the Lord affixed the head of a male goat to him. Unable to restore his mental peace even then, He roamed the entire universe carrying Sati's burnt body. Foreseeing a calamity approaching, the gods requested Lord Vishnu to diffuse the anger of Shiva. At this, Lord Vishnu cut apart Sati's body into several pieces with his Sudharshan Chakra. Wherever those pieces of sati's body fell on earth, a shaktipeetha or the power centre of the goddess came up. The Jwalamukhi temple is the place where Sati's tongue fell. The goddess therefore is manifested as tiny flames here that burn through the fissures in an age old rock. There are nine flames at the temple that have been burning here without any oil or cotton since ages.

The temple also has a great historical significance dating back to the reign of Mughal emperor Akbar. Amazed at the continuity of these flames, he tried to extinguish these. He tried a lot of methods for this but in vain. Finally, he submitted to the power of the goddess. He went to the shrine bare footed and presented a golden umbrella to the goddess. But the goddess denied this offering and the Chhatra turned into a colossal metal. Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab also paid a visit to the temple in the year 1809. The building of the temple has a gilt dome gifted by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and silver plated folding doors.

Inside the temple, there is a 3 feet square pit with pathway all around. In the centre of which is a hollowed rock over a primary fissure of flame. This one is regarded as the mouth of Mahakali. Nine flames in total emanate from different points in the pit and represent Saraswati, Annapurna, Chandi, Hing Laj, Vindhya Vasini, Mahalakshmi, Mahakali, Ambika and Anjana - the forms of goddess. Thousand of devotees flock the temple round the year to pay homage to the goddess and to get their wishes fulfilled.

There is another legend associated with Jawalamukhi. A cowherd found that one of his cows was always without milk. He followed the cow to find out the cause. He saw a girl coming out of the forest, drank the cow's milk, and then disappeared in a flash of light. The cowherd went to the king and told him the story. The king was aware of the legend that Sati's tongue had fallen in this area. The king tried, without success, to find that sacred spot. Again, some years later, the cowherd went to the king to report that he had seen a flame burning in the mountains. The king found the spot and had darshan (vision) of the holy flame. He built a temple there and arranged for priests to engage in regular worship.

It is believed that the Pandavas later renovated the temple. The folk song that "Panjan Panjan Pandavan Tera Bhawan Banaya" bears testimony to this belief. Raja Bhumi Chand, the progenitor of the ruling Katoch family of Kangra, first built the temple. Jawalamukhi has since times immemorial turned out to be a great pilgrimage centre. The Mughal Emperor Akbar once tried to extinguish the flames by covering them with an iron disk and even channelizing water to them. But the flames blasted all these efforts. Akbar then presented a golden parasol at the shrine. However, his cynicism at the power of devi caused the gold to debase into another metal. His belief in the deity was all the more strengthened after this incident. Thousands of pilgrims visit the shrine round the year to satisfy their spiritual urge.

The deity is offered Bhog of Rabri or thickened milk, Misri or candy, seasonal fruits, milk and arti is done. 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. It is the place of Dhuma Devi. Lord Shiva is present here in the form of Bhairav.

Maa Jwalamukhi - Nine Divine Lights
The Jyoti in front of the main door in the Silver net is known as "MAHA KALI". It is a Brahma Jyoti famous as Jwalamukhi, provides Mukti & Bhakti. The Second Divine Light just below the first jyoti is "ANNAPURNA". The Third Divine Light on the other side is the jyoti which destroys the enemies called "CHANDI". The Fourth Jyoti called "HINGLAJ" solves all the problems. The Fifth Divine Light "VINDHANVASINI" provides relief from sorrow. The Sixth Divine Light, the Jyoti of "MAHA LAKSHMI" is situated in the pure hole.

The Seventh Divine Light, the Jyoti of "SARASWATI" provides education, intelligence and enlightenment. The Eighth Divine Light, "AMBIKA" Jyoti blesses the devotees with children. The Ninth Divine Light, provides age and satisfaction, and is known as "ANJANA" Jyoti.

Maa Jwalamukhi
The Nine Divine Jyotis wash all the ill works done by the human in their various births and they satisfy the desires of all the Devotees. There are on the whole 14 Jyotis that are also known as CHATURDURGA and some times out of the night lights only three are visible. It suggests that in these 14 Jyotis only three main qualities are found and they are Satva, Rajas and Tamas. With three qualities only these Nine Jyotis are governing the whole world. No other god is present in front of these Jyotis. Devotees desiring Mukti and Bhakti come to Jawalamukhi and get all their wishes fulfilled.

Jwalamukhi Temple Fair
The Jwalamukhi fair is held twice a year during the Navratri of Chaitra and Aswin. The devotees go round the 'Jwala Kund' in which the sacred fire burns, making their offerings. The 'Gorakh Tibbi' a centre of the Gorakhpanthi Naths is placed near the Jwala Kund. Folk-dances, songs, plays, wrestling matches and athletics are some of the important attractions of the fair. The Jwalamukhi Temple in Kangra becomes the venue for the major fair. In April and October, the people of the area who believe that the jets of the inflammable gas coming from the volcano are actually the sacred fires coming out from the mouth of their Goddess, worship the Goddess of the Jwalamukhi volcano in the district of Kangra in Himachal Pradesh.
Our sojourn continues next month…Till then Sai Ram

- October 11
- December 09

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