Jwala Ji is Hindu temple located in the lower Himalayan town of Jawalamukhi in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Dedicated to Hindu goddess Jwala, temple is probably the most ancient temple in India. It is mentioned in the Mahabharata and other scriptures. Unlike any other temple, Jwala Ji temple doesn’t have a statue or an image, but a constantly burning blue flame that seems to come from the rocks. The flame can be seen at various places in the temple and it is burning continuously since first date of its known history.
Despite many scientific researches, the reason behind these natural flames couldn’t be found out. The scientists say there is a sleeping volcano under Jwala Ji temple and the natural gas coming out of that volcano is burning as flames, which Hindus revere as Goddess.
During 70s a foreign company was appointed by Government of India to explore possibilities of big reservoirs of natural gas there. They worked for some years but left saying they could not find any gas.
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. Even Aurangzeb, returned back to Delhi after knowing Maa Jwala Devi’s powers.
There is surely some other phenomena and science that is working behind Jwala Ji eternal flame but that can be indication of glory of our ancestors. Till now no scientists or geologists says nothing since they only tried their level best to find a clue but, failed.
History of Jwala Devi’s eternal flame
The legend of the Jwala Ji Temple relates to Sati -granddaughter of Lord Brahma and wife of Lord Shiva. It is here that Sati’s tongue fell which can now be seen in the form of the flame.
According to legends Sati immolated herself after her father insulted Lord Shiva. In his rage at loosing his wife, angry Shiva performed the fearsome and awe-inspiring Tandava dance with Sati’s charred body on his shoulders. During this dance, Sati’s body came apart and the pieces fell at different places on earth.
According to another version, Shiva placed Sati’s body on his shoulder and ran about the world, crazed with grief. The Gods called upon the God Vishnu to restore Shiva to normalcy and calm. Vishnu used his Sudarshana Chakra (a spinning, disk-like weapon) to dismember Sati’s lifeless body, following which Shiva regained his equanimity. Both versions state that Sati’s body was thus dismembered into 51 pieces which fell on earth at various places. These places came to known as Shakti Peeths. Sati’s tongue fell at the place where Jwala Ji temple is located and the goddess is manifest as tiny flame that burns flawless blue through fissures in the age-old rock.
History of Jwala Devi Temple
The temple is supposed to be first built by a king Raja Bhumi Chandra who, on the complain of a cowherd, tried to find out the a female who came out of the forest and drank the milk of his cow. Since, the king was aware of the legend of Sati, he continued his search for the place and finally succeeded. He constructed a temple there and employed priest to perform puja (prayer). Later, Pandavas came and carried out some renovation work in the temple.
The modern building of temple is with a gilt dome and pinnacles and possesses a beautiful folding door of silver plates, presented by Maharaja Kharak Singh. His father, Maharaja Ranjit Singh also presented the gilt roof in 1815 AD. The interior of the temple consists of a square pit about 3 feet deep with a pathway all around.
The term ‘Jwala‘ means “flame” in Sanskrit and ‘Ji‘ is an honorific used in the Indian subcontinent. Goddess Jwala is also referred to as Mata Jvala Ji and Mata Jwala Mukhi Ji.