Jwala Devi Temple History
Ancient legends speak of a time when demons lorded over the Himalaya mountains and harassed the gods. Led by Lord Vishnu, the gods decided to destroy them. They focused their strengths and huge flames rose from the ground. From that fire, a young girl took birth. She is regarded as Adishakti-the first ‘shakti‘.
Known as Sati or Parvati, she grew up in the house of Prajapati Daksha and later, became the consort of Lord Shiva. Once her father insulted Lord Shiva and unable to accept this, she killed herself. When Lord Shiva heard of his wife’s death his rage knew no bounds and holding Sati’s body he began stalking the three worlds. The other gods trembled before his wrath and appealed to Lord Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu let fly a volley of arrows which struck Sati’s body and severed it to pieces. At the places where the pieces fell, the fifty-one sacred ‘shaktipeeths‘ came into being. “Sati’s tongue fell at Jawalaji (610 m) and the goddess is manifest as tiny flames that burn flawless blue through fissures in the age-old rock“.
It is said that centuries ago, 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 who 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 came later and renovated the temple. The folk song that “Panjan Panjan Pandavan Tera Bhawan Banaya” bears testimony to this belief. Raja Bhumi Chand 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 (chattar) at the shrine. However, his cynicism at the power of devi caused the gold to debase into another metal which is still unknown to the world. 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.