Jwala Ji (Pahari: जवाला जी, Punjabi: ਜਵਾਲਾ ਜੀ, Hindi: ज्वाला जी, Urdu: جوالا جی) is a Hindu Goddess. Alternative spelling and names for Jwala Ji include Jvala Ji, Jwala Devi and Jwalamukhi Ji. The physical manifestation of Jwala Ji is always a set of flames burning off natural gas, and the term Jwala means flame in Sanskrit (cognates: proto-Indo-European guelh, English: glow, Lithuanian: zvilti) and Ji is an honorific used in the Indian subcontinent.
Jwala Ji of Kangra
The best known Jwala Ji shrine is located in the lower Himalayas in Jawalamukhi town of the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh state of India, about 55 kilometers from the larger town of Dharamsala. The temple style is typical of Jwala Ji shrines, four cornered, with a small dome on the top and a square central pit of hollowed stone inside where the main flame burns endlessly. An annual fair is held in the environs of the temple every July/August months during Navratras
The temple had an associated library of ancient Hindu texts, many of which were translated from Sanskrit into Persian at the orders of Firuz Shah Tughlaq when the Delhi Sultanate overran the Kangra area.According to the legend, when Sati’s body was divided into 51 parts, Sati Mata’s tongue fell here. The flames/ Jyotis are the representation of the same. Some say that Sati’s clothes fell here. When they fell they were on fire. The fire hasn’t blew off.
Jwalaji (flame) or Jwala Mukhi (flame mouth) is probably the most ancient temple discussed here besides Vaishno Devi. It is mentioned in the Mahabharata and other scriptures. There is a natural cave where eternal flames continue to burn. Some say there are seven or nine flames for the seven divine sisters or the nine Durgas. It is here that Sati’s tongue fell which can now be seen in the form of the flame.
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 come out of the forest, drink the cows milk, and then disappear 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 enguage in regular worship. It is believed that the Pandavas came later and renovated the temple.
It was Dhyanu Bhagat who spread Devi Mata’s name. He lived at the time of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Dhyanu Bhagat was passing through Delhi with a group of pilgrims on their way to Jwalaji. Akbar summoned him to his court to inquire into the nature of their Goddess. Dhyanu Bhagat told him She is all powerful and answers the prayers of Her devotees.
To test Her power Akbar cut off the head of Dhyanu’s horse ordering him to have the Goddess put it back. Dhyanu went to Jwalaji and prayed day and night to no avail. Out of desperation he cut of his own head and offered it to Devi Ma. She then appeared to him riding a lion. She reconnected both his head and that of the horse. Devi Ma also offered Dhyanu Bhagat a boon. He requested that it should not be so difficult for pigrams to show their devotion. Mata said that in the future if someone offered a coconut she would accept it as if they had offered their own head. To this day people continue to offer coconuts to the Goddess in Her temples all over the world. Jwala mata is Kuldevi of Bhatiya (now lives in Gujarat) and Bhardwaj Gutra Brahmins.
Historically, shrines dedicated to Jwala Ji were based on fissures from which natural gas seeped by itself. The number of flames is usually either seven (for the seven divine sisters) or nine (for the nine Durgas). Several schools of Buddhism also share the symbolism of a seven-forked sacred flame.
How To Reach
Temple of JAWALA JI devi is situated in district Kangra of Himachal Pradesh in India. Jawala Ji is easily accessible being located on a national Highway and is also accessible throughout the year as weather is pleasant. Hence, the Shrine is accessible to the people of all ages throughout the year.
By Air-The nearest airport at Gaggal(dharmshala) in HP is 50 km from Jwalaji.
Chandigarh Airport is about 200 Kms
Airport at Shimla is about 160 Kms.
The distance from Kullu airport in HP is about 250 Kms.
National & International Airport is at the national capital Delhi is about 480 Kms.
By Train-The nearest narrowgauge railhead is Jawalaji road Ranital at a distance of 20 km from the shrine.
The nearest broadgauge railhead is Pathankot at a distance of 120kms.
Chandigarh Rly Station is at a Distance of 200 Kms.
By Road-Motorable roads connect this Shrine from Delhi, Chandigarh & Dharamshala. Taxis can be hired from these places.This all is hilly area with a beautiful scenic view all along the valley. Frequent state transport bus service is available from all important cities of Punjab, Haryana, New Delhi and J & K. The shrine is well connected by road. Frequent bus and taxi services are available. Deluxe coaches are also available at various places. The distances from the main stations are as following :-
1. Delhi 475 Km.
2. Chandigarh 200 Km.
3. Manali 200 Km.
4. Pathankot 120 Km.
5. Shimla 205 Km.
6. Dharamshala 60 Km.
7. Hoshiarpur 85 Km.
8. Gaggal airport 50 Km.
9. Jammu 300 Km.