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Jwala Ji

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stone carving of text on wall, with 5 lines of Sanskrit then 4 lines of Persian looking like Arabic script
Sanskrit (above) and Persian (below) inscriptions from the Ateshgah (fire temple) of Baku, Azerbaijan. The Sanskrit inscription is a religious Hindu invocation in old Devanagari script while the Persian inscription is a couplet. The Sanskrit invocation begins with: I salute Ganesha (श्री गणेशाय नमः), a standard beginning of most Hindu prayers. The second line venerates the holy fire Jwala Ji (जवालाजी). The inscription is dated to Vikram Samvat 1802 (संवत १८०२, i.e. 1745 CE). Unlike the several Sanskrit (written in Devanagari) and Punjabi (written in Gurmukhi) inscriptions in the temple, the Persian quatrain below is the sole Persian one[1] and, though ungrammatical,[1] also refers to the fire and dates it to Lunar Hijri 1158 (١١٥٨, i.e. again 1745 CE).
Other namesJawalaji, Jwaladevi, Jwalamukhi
ConsortMangala[2][3] of Navagraha

Jwala/Jwala Ji (Pahari: जवाला जी, Punjabi: ਜਵਾਲਾ ਜੀ, Hindi: ज्वाला जी) is a Hindu goddess. The physical manifestation of Jwala is always a set of eternal flames,[4] and the term Jvala means flame in Sanskrit (cognates: proto-Indo-European guelh, English: glow, Lithuanian: zvilti)[5] and ji is an honorific used in the Indian subcontinent.

Jwalaji/jawalaji (flame) or Jwala Mukhi (a person with a face glowing like fire) 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 due to natural gas deposits found underground seeping out from the rocks and is ignited by an unknown source. Several schools of Buddhism also share the symbolism of a seven-forked sacred flame.[6]

The Legend[edit]

The legend is as follows:

In ancient times when demons lorded over the Himalaya mountains and harassed the gods, Lord Vishnu led the gods to destroy the demons. They focused their strengths and huge flames rose from the ground. From that fire, a young girl was born. She is regarded as Adishakti -- the first 'Shakti.'

Known as Sati, the girl grew up in Prajapati Daksha's house and later became Lord Shiva's consort. When her father insulted Lord Shiva, she could not accept this and 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 released a sudarshan chakra that struck Sati’s body and broke it. 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."[7]

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 knew the legend recounting that Sati’s tongue had fallen in this area. The king tried, without success, to find that sacred spot. Some years later, the cowherd went again to the king to report that he had seen a flame burning in the mountains. The king found the spot and had a darshan (vision) of the holy flame. He had a temple built there by Raja Bhumi Chand [8] and arranged for priests to engage in regular worship. It is believed[by whom?] that the Pandavas came later and renovated the temple. The folk song titled "Panjan Panjan Pandavan Tera Bhawan Banaya" bears testimony to this belief.

Jawalamukhi has been a pilgrimage centre for many years. According to a legend, the Mughal Emperor Akbar came to the revered pilgrimage site and attempted to extinguish the eternal flames using an iron disk and diverting water. But the flames resisted all efforts. Akbar, initially skeptical of the deity's power, presented a golden parasol (chattar) at the shrine. It transformed into an unknown metal. This incident deepened his belief. The shrine continues to attract thousands of pilgrims seeking spiritual fulfillment throughout the year.[9]

Map of Jwala Ji temples[edit]

Jwala Ji of Kashmir[edit]

Jwala Mukhi Mandir in Khrew, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Jwalamukhi Temple is a Kashmiri Hindu mandir (temple) located in Khrew.[10] On 16 July, the Jwalamukhi Fair is hosted annually and is celebrated by both Hindus and Muslims (cf. Kashmiriyat).[11]

Jwala Ji Kangra[edit]

The best-known Jwala Ji shrine is located in the town of Jawalamukhi, in the lower Himalayan area of the Kangra district, in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India. The shrine is about 56 kilometres (35 mi) from the larger town of Dharamshala.[12] 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 continuously.[13] A fair is held in the environs of the temple annually in July or August, during Navratras.[14]

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.[15][16]

According to legend, when Sati's body was divided into 51 parts, her tongue fell in the area of Jawalamukhi. It continues to be represented by the flames (or jyotis).[17] Along with her tongue, the flames of Sati's yogic power also fell to the place. Some legends state that Sati's clothes also fell here; when they fell they were on fire and the fire never went out. Near this area, eternal flames continue to burn in a natural cave. Some say there are seven or nine flames for the seven divine sisters or the nine Durgas.[citation needed]

Besides Vaishno Devi, Jwalaji (flame) or Jwala Mukhi (flame mouth) is probably the most ancient temple mentioned by the Mahabharata and other scriptures.[citation needed]

Maa JwalaMukhi is the family Goddess or Kuldevi of many Hindus.[citation needed]

Dhyanu Bhagat or Bhakti Mein Shakti (1978), an Indian drama film, portrays the local legend of saint Dhyanu and his conflict with a Mughal emperor who is said to have visited this temple.[18]

Jwala Devi of Shaktinagar[edit]

Jwala Devi Temple is located in Shaktinagar township of Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh. It is an ancient Ashtagrih temple of Jwala Devi and one of the 51 Shaktipeethas of India. The temple, believed to be 1000 years old, was constructed by Raja Udit Narayan Singh of Gaharwal. A new temple later replaced the old one. Here the tongue of Parvati is worshipped. The idol of the main deity is located in the Sanctum Sanatorium (central place of the temple). The old black stone idol in the old temple has been installed with other deities surrounding the main idol.

This Jwala Devi Temple is believed to have been blessed with the presence of Shakti due to the falling of the front tongue from the corpse of Sati Devi as Lord Shiva carried her and wandered throughout Āryāvarta in sorrow. People are believed to offer gold/silver tongue as offerings here after their wishes are fulfilled.[19]

Jwala Mai of Muktinath[edit]

The "eternal flame" at the Jwala Ji shrine in the village of Muktinath is located at an altitude of 3,710 meters at the foot of the Thorong La mountain pass in the Mustang district of Nepal.[20] A small amount of natural gas is present in the Himalayan spring that emerges near the shrine, which gives the appearance of fire burning on the water itself. This shrine is usually called the Jwala Mai (Jwala Mother) temple, and is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists.[21]

Atashgah of Baku[edit]

The Baku Atashgah is a fire temple in Surakhani, a suburb of Baku in Azerbaijan. Historically, some Hindu pilgrims have referred to it as the Baku Jwala Ji.[1] Given that fire is considered highly sacred in both Hinduism and Zoroastrianism (as Agni and Atar respectively),[22] and the two faiths share some elements (such as Yajna and Yasna) from a common proto-Indo-Iranian precursor religion,[23] there has been debate on whether the Atashgah was originally a Hindu site or a Zoroastrian one.

Many scholars and officials have concluded that this is a Jwala temple[1][24][25] for several reasons: the presence of several Hindu inscriptions in Sanskrit and Punjabi (as opposed to only one in Persian);[1] encounters with dozens of Hindus at the shrine or en route in the regions between North India and Baku;[1][26][27] and assessments of its Hindu-character by Parsi dasturs.[28] In the early twentieth century, local claims were made to a visiting Parsi Dastur that the Russian czar Alexander III also witnessed Hindu fire prayer rituals at this location.[28]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Abraham Valentine Williams Jackson (1911), From Constantinople to the home of Omar Khayyam: travels in Transcaucasia and northern Persia for historic and literary research, The Macmillan company, ... they are now wholly substantiated by the other inscriptions ... They are all Indian, with the exception of one written in Persian ... dated in the same year as the Hindu tablet over it ... met two Hindu Fakirs who announced themselves as 'on a pilgrimage to this Baku Jawala Ji' ...
  2. ^ https://www.epoojastore.in/index.php?route=news/article&news_id=1137
  3. ^ https://ombeejmantra.com/mangal-beej-mantra/
  4. ^ Horace Hayman Wilson (1871), Select Specimens of the Theatre of the Hindus, Trübner, ... Jwalamukhi is the form of Durga, worshipped wherever a subterraneous flame breaks forth, or wherever jets of carburetted hydrogen gas are emitted from the soil ...
  5. ^ J. P. Mallory, Douglas Q. Adams (1997), Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture, Taylor & Francis, ISBN 1-884964-98-2, ... guelhx - 'burn, glow; charcoal'. ... Lith zvilti 'gleam', Latv zvilnet 'flame, glow', OInd jvalati 'burns', jvala 'flame, coal' ...
  6. ^ Phuttha Samākhom hǣng Prathēt Thai (1970), Visakhapuja, Buddhist Association of Thailand, ... At the decline of Srivijaya art, such a seven-forked flame will appear on the head of Sukhothai Buddhas.The temples was attacked by firoj shah tughlaq The Vajrasattva at the National Museum, Bangkok, ...
  7. ^ "History ⋆ Maa Jawalaji Temple". Maa Jawalaji Temple. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  8. ^ "JWALA DEVI TEMPLE IN INDIA". Archived from the original on 18 November 2021. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  9. ^ "Jwala Devi Temple History".
  10. ^ Kalla, Krishan Lal (1996). Cultural Heritage of Kashmir. Anmol Publications. p. 69. ISBN 978-81-7488-185-4.
  11. ^ Sajnani, Manohar (2001). Encyclopaedia of Tourism Resources in India. Gyan Publishing House. p. 163. ISBN 978-81-7835-017-2. An important festival is Jwalamukhi fair which is held in village Khrew near Pulwama. The temple is situated on top of a small hillock and is known as Jwalamukhi. The festival falls on or about 16th July and is celebrated by Hindus as well as Muslims. About 250 to 300 stalls are set up by Muslim peasants for the sale of different kinds of commodities. Confectionary shops and such other stalls in which earthen trays with ghee and a cotton wick are available for sale are run by Hindu shopkeepers.
  12. ^ "Jwala Devi Temple". culturalindia.net. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  13. ^ Manoj Jreat (2004), Tourism in Himachal Pradesh, Indus Publishing, ISBN 81-7387-157-4, ... situated on a ridge called Kali dhar in Kangra district. It is built in the mandap (dome) style, and the interior consists of a square pit where, from a hollowed rock, natural gas escapes through a crack and burns endlessly ...
  14. ^ "Jawala Ji". Welcome to the World of Nature & Beauty. 21 February 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  15. ^ D.N. Marshall (1983), History of libraries: ancient and mediaeval, Oxford & IBH Publishing Company, ... Firuzshah Tuhglaq (1351–1388), finding during his military exploits a library of 1300 volumes in the Jwalamukhi Temple at Nagarkot, had many of them translated by Hindu scholars from Sanskrit into Persian to place them in his library ...
  16. ^ Rohit Prabhakar (3 January 2010), The Divine Temple of Jwala Ji, ... It is a rare Hindu temple where the physical manifestation of Goddess is a flame. Recent government backed surveys have not been able to conclusively prove the presence of gas which was thought to power the flame, furthermore natural gas ascending levels of over 2000 feet above sea level where the temple is located - that is unheard of hence the actual source of energy powering the flame is yet to be determined as per modern science as we know it and it is a subject which has attracted many research scholars to the Jwalaji shrine in Himachal Pradesh. There are always 7 or 9 flames burning all the times. ...
  17. ^ "ज्वालादेवी: इस जगह पर गिरी थी मां सती की जिह्वा". newstrend.news. newstrend. 3 October 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  18. ^ "Bhakti Mein Shakti Cast & Crew- Bollywood Hungama". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  19. ^ "Jwaladevi Temple in Shaktinagar Sonbhadra". Amar Ujala. 11 October 2018. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  20. ^ Complete information about the World and its cities, Prakriti Inbound, retrieved 4 July 2009, ... Muktinath has been a place of pilgrimage for more than 2000 years ... The Jwala Mai temple nearby has a spring which is burning without any fossil fuels ...
  21. ^ Kev Reynolds (2004), Annapurna: A Trekker's Guide, Cicerone Press Limited, ISBN 1-85284-397-7, ... Snellgrove wrote of six Tibetan Buddhist temples here, the most famous of which is the Jwala Mai, with its small jets of natural gas that produce a constant flame beside a trickling spring of water - a sacred combination of earth, fire and water venerated with equal fervour by Hindu and Buddhist and other ...
  22. ^ Minocher K. Spencer (2002), Religion in life, Indian Publishers Distributors, ISBN 9788173412400, ... Fire is held as a very sacred emblem both among the Hindus and Parsis ...
  23. ^ Maneck Fardunji Kanga, Nārāyanaśarmā Sonaṭakke (1978), Avestā: Vendidād and fragments, Vaidika Samśodhana Maṇḍala, ... For a very long time, the two groups (ancestors of Hindus and Parsis) were in close co-operation ... showing tenets and rites that were the same and also the later dissentions ... Yasna, rite = Yajna ... Atar = Agni, ever present at all rituals ...
  24. ^ George Forster (1798), A journey from Bengal to England: through the northern part of India, Kashmire, Afghanistan, and Persia, and into Russia, by the Caspian-Sea, R. Faulder, ... A society of Moultan Hindoos, which has long been established in Baku, contributes largely to the circulation of its commerce; and with the Armenians they may be accounted the principal merchants of Shirwan ... this remark arose from a view of the Atashghah at Baku, where a Hindoo is found so deeply tinctured with the enthusiasm of religion, that though his nerves be constitutionally of a tender texture and his frame relaxed by age, he will journey through hostile regions from the Ganges to the Volga, to offer up prayer at the shrine of his God ...
  25. ^ United States Bureau of Foreign Commerce (1887), Reports from the consuls of the United States, 1887, United States Government, ... Six or 7 miles southeast is Surakhani, the location of a very ancient monastery of the fire-worshippers of India, a building now in ruins, but which is yet occasionally occupied by a few of these religious enthusiasts, who make a long and weary pilgrimage on foot from India to do homage at the shrine of everlasting fire, which is merely a small jet of natural gas, now almost extinct ...
  26. ^ Jonas Hanway (1753), An Historical Account of the British Trade Over the Caspian Sea, Sold by Mr. Dodsley, ... The Persians have very little maritime strength ... their ship carpenters on the Caspian were mostly Indians ... there is a little temple, in which the Indians now worship: near the altar about 3 feet high is a large hollow cane, from the end of which iffues a blue flame ... These Indians affirm, that this flame has continued ever since the flood, and they believe it will last to the end of the world ... Here are generally forty or fifty of these poor devotees, who come on a pilgrimage from their own country ... they mark their foreheads with saffron, and have a great veneration for a red cow ...
  27. ^ James Justinian Morier (1818), A Second Journey through Persia, Armenia, and Asia Minor, to Constantinople, between the Years 1810 and 1816, A. Strahan, archived from the original on 4 July 2014, ... Travelling onwards, we met an Indian entirely alone, on foot, with no other weapon than a stick, who was on his road to Benares returning from his pilgrimage to Baku. He was walking with surprising alacrity, and saluted us with great good humour, like one satisfied with himself for having done a good action. I believe that these religious feats are quite peculiar to the Indian character ...
  28. ^ a b Ervad Shams-Ul-Ulama Dr. Sir Jivanji Jamshedji Modi, Translated by Soli Dastur (1926), My Travels Outside Bombay: Iran, Azerbaijan, Baku, ... Not just me but any Parsee who is a little familiar with our Hindu brethren's religion, their temples and their customs, after examining this building with its inscriptions, architecture, etc., would conclude that this is not a Parsee Atash Kadeh but is a Hindu Temple ... informed me that some 40 years ago, the Russian Czar, Alexander III, visited this place with a desire to witness the Hindu Brahmin Fire ritual ... gathered a few Brahmins still living here and they performed the fire ritual in this room in front of the Czar ... I asked for a tall ladder and with trepidation I climbed to the top of the building and examined the foundation stone which was inscribed in the Nagrik [or Nagari] script ... the installation date is mentioned as the Hindu Vikramaajeet calendar year 1866 (equivalent to 1810 A. D.) ...