56 km from Dharamsala is the famous temple of the Hindu goddess Jawalamukhi also called the “Flaming Goddess” or “She of the flaming mouth”. The famous temple lies in the valley of Beas and is built over some natural jets of combustible gas believed to be a manifestation of the goddess Devi Bhagwati Jawalamukhi. A legend avers that the flames proceed from the mouth of demon Jalandhara, the Daitya King whom Shiva over-whelmed with mountains.
The temple building whose dome is of gilt, gold and pinacles, possesses a beautiful folding door of silver plates, presented by the Sikh Raja Kharak Singh, which so struck Lord Hardinge that he had a model made of it. Many people, especially women take a vow that if anything they ardently wish for, is obtained, they will go on pilgrimage to the temple here. Beautiful songs in praise of the goddess are sung by the women on way to the temple. On the backside of the temple water runs along a water-course which takes off from a spring high above. Some say this canal was constructed by Emperor Akbar to try to quench the flames. The attempt having proved abortive, he became a devotee of the Goddess. The song popularly sung in praise of the Goddess describes how the Mughal Emperor came barefooted and placed a crown of gold before the Goddess as offering. That crown is still preserved and it is said, it was turned into copper as soon as the Emperor looked back in pride and thought of costly present he had made. The interior of temple consists of a square pit about three feet deep with a pathway all round. In the middle, the rock is slightly hollowed out about the principal fissure and on applying a light the gas bursts into flames. The gas escapes at several other points from the crevices of the walls of the pit. There is no idol of any kind, the flaming Fissure being considered as the fiery mouth of Goddess. There is the Gorakh Dibbi, Chaturbhuj Temple and a host of other smaller shrine at Jawalamukhi town.
Courtesy: The American University