About Maha Shakti Peeth, Jwalamukhi Devi Temple In Kangra,
Located on the hills of Kangra in Himachal Pradesh is the holy shrine of Jwalamukhi Devi Temple. This temple has a unique significance among Hindu pilgrims for a number of reasons. First of all, this site is one of the fifty-one Shakti Peethas in India. Secondly, the reigning deity of the shrine, Maa Jwalamukhi, is worshipped here in the form of a natural flame that comes out of a rocky orifice, over which the temple is built. This temple is revered as one of the most active and influential of temples of Maa Durga. Hundreds and thousands of pilgrims visit this shrine every year, and offer their prayers to the deity with a flaming mouth.
Building of the temple
The jwalamukhi temple was built by Raja Bhumi Chand Katoch, the ruler of Kangra, who was a devotee of Goddess Durga. It is said that he had a dream in which he was instructed by the Goddess to build a temple over a scared place in the region. The king sent people in all directions to search for this site. His men located the site on the hills of Kangra and the Raja built a temple at this location. The Goddess manifests herself in the shape of fire. A flame continuously burns at the site as a result of some natural jets of combustible gas coming from within the earth.
Features and location
The temple is covered with a gold dome at the top which was built buy Maharaja Ranjit Singhji, who visited the shrine in 1815. The temple also boasts of a gorgeous folding door adorned with plates of silver. It is believed that Sati’s tongue had dropped at this site and the Goddess appears in the form of blue flames those appear through the fissures of ancient rocks. The temple is located on the Dahrmasala-Shimla road on the undulating terrains of the sub-Himalayan Himachal region. The site is overlooked by the imposing Dhauladhar range.
Worship of the Devi
The Devi is worshipped all day long in various phases. The priests of the temple perform Aarti five times a day and havan is done once every day. Excerpts from Durga Saptasati are also recited. The deity, maa jwala devi, is offered Bhog that comprises of thickened and sweetened milk called Rabri, sweet candy or Misri, fruits and milk etc. The temple houses a mystic diagram or Yantra, which is believed to be a form of the Goddess Jwalamukhi. The priests chant mantra as they adorn the Yantra with shawl and ornaments.
In and around the shrine
In front of this temple is a large mandap with a small platform. A brass bell of a great size, gifted by the King of Nepal, hangs in the mandap. A few metres above the site of the Jwalamukhi Temple, there is a pit which is six feet deep and has a circumference of about three feet. A small pit is located at the bottom of this pit which is about one and a half feet deep. It has water that bubbles all the time.