As soon as we came out of Chintpurni temple, my kids declared in unison that they are not getting out of the car to visit another temple! These kids who have never stood in queue for two hours in hot humid weather or had to face an overly rowdy crowd couldn’t bear the thought of going through the same experience twice in a day, where as I had apprised them in the morning only that we are off to visit six powerful temples!
But I again coaxed them to get out of the car, walk up hill for half a kilometer, stand in queue over an hour and bear the humid weather as we had reached the doors of Jwalaji temple in Kangra.
Jwalaji /Jwalamukhi temple is also a shaktipeeth, where the tongue of Mata Sati had fallen and Her power is palpable in the flame. The temple is famous for the nine blue flames which have been burning for centuries out of rock. It is been said that the temple was built after a shepherd saw the flame burning out of cracks in the rock. The temple later had a golden dome built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. There is also the famous story of Akbar in relation to the temple. Akbar did not believe the power of the Goddess and tried to test it by cutting the head of the horse of Her devotee Dhyanu Bhagat. Dhyanu reached the temple and invoked the Mata but She did not appear. After several days, Dhyanu cut his own head when the Goddess appeared and reunite both Dhyanu’s as well as the horse’s heads. Akbar was not convinced even after this miracle and tried to douse the flames by pouring metal over them failing which directing a stream over it but the flame burned through the water as well. Akbar became convinced and offered a golden ‘chatri’ to the Goddess. The Goddess was not appeased and the gold changed into a metal still unknown to men. The chatri is kept on display in a hall adjacent to the main temple.
Even my kids later agreed that I was right to persuade them to come out of the car or they would have missed such a miracle! Well, I must also say they were also less pestered by having to wait for their turn because in contrast to the crowd in Chintpurni, the queue was more orderly here and in a while, some one would spontaneously say “sab log bolo” with the chorus of “Jai Mata Di”. Even police personnel were present only within the cave / sanctum santorum urging people to move ahead and not linger around admiring the flames. I cannot blame the police for doing so, otherwise people would keep standing in awe gaping at the power of the Goddess/nature!
After the darshan at Chintpurni where I was saddened about not getting even a glimpse of the Deity, I was keen on having the darshan of at least the main jyoti, before offering the Prasad and mesmerized by the jyoti I even moved out of the queue to sneak a view of another one of the flames (leading to the police man talking sternly shooing me out of the sanctum santorum, I must say!)
I was enthralled by the darshan (even now I can only think fondly of the visit to the temple) despite the long wait and the rush and slight disappointment of being unable to spend more time admiring the power tangible in the place but a child-emergency forced us to pay a quick visit to see ‘Akbar’s Chatri ‘ and hurry out of temple compound.
In addition to the cave where the jyotis are present, there is also Gorak Dibbi, a jal kund where if you light a match, flame appears for a second. The water here keeps bubbling as if it is boiling, but cold to touch. There is an interesting story behind this place as well, which I might have to share in another post. We unfortunately could not visit Gorak Dibbi (due to the above mentioned child-emergency) and left the temple in a hastily.
A much contrary experience to the one in Chintpurni!
Given a chance I would visit Jwalaji again…