Nandpur Bhatoli to Mata Jawalamukhi Temple - Day 2 Trip
Departure from Gurgaon with the Objectives
Jawalamukhi Shaktipeeth from Nandpur Bhatoli – Day Trip on Day 2
By Ankur Guleria’s navigation and my fortuitous offroading skills, I reached Nandpur Bhatoli, Himachal Pradesh safely the previous day. The night went off uneventfully and I slept quite right on a hard wooden bed.
The day 2 morning at Nandpur Bhatoli was quite warm and sunny, unlike Gurgaon in winter. The magnificent Dhauladhar were visible from our location and had a winter brown shade and not white as they usually have.
The couple Ankur and Puja Guleria graciously allowed me access to their kitchen. I got busy preparing my morning coffee in my Bialetti Moka Pot Brikka, my usual travel companion apart from my TATA ka chota truck.
Pooja was kind enough to fix toast and scrambled eggs for breakfast from her well-stocked kitchen. In the meantime, Ankur took me around his home.
About this Paradise in Nandpur Bhatoli
Great for a Spiritual or a Yoga Retreat or for Families Looking for an Adventurous Escapade.
The main house building is organically built, is spread over two floors and has 7 rooms that are quite spacious and fully furnished. Out of these 7 rooms, 6 are bedrooms and 1 is a lounge.
The dining space is on the ground floor and the area can seat 10 people comfortably. The entire area has two (one per floor) huge albeit shared bathrooms which may be a little inadequate when the home has a full board.
The outdoors has a sprawling manicured lawn with flowers and vegetables growing. There is a fully functional washroom and additional quarters in the backyard.
One room of these three rooms is the abode for the resident cow, Lucky.
In my opinion, the location and the abode are ideal for yoga & spiritual retreats as well as groups of families. Jugs (Jugal) the caretaker will take care of everything you need, including the evening bonfire.
Another level upwards in the backyard presents you with the mighty Dhauladhar range. While walking we decided to visit the closest Shaktipeeth, the Jawalamukhi Shaktipeeth about 40 km from Nandpur Bhatoli.
We left around 3:30 PM and came across a huge RAM commandeering the railway tracks and then meandered through the hills of Haripur-Guler to reach Jawala ji Road.
Here we stopped at Guleria Dhaba for our late lunch and then proceeded to the Mata Jawalamukhi temple.
I observed upon reaching that there was a wide road going to the temple. Cars can drop you to the point with barricades from where you begin walking up.
There is ample parking for private vehicles and the bus stand is very close to the temple. I parked conveniently at a multi-level parking with a Rs. 40 payment for a few hours.
The fixed payment seemed to be normal for hours and not by parking time not increasing by the number of hours the vehicle was parked.
Apart from its scared flames, Mata Jawalamukhi temple is also known for its gold-domed shrines & panoramic mountain views.
To get to this shaktipeeth from the drop point, you walk up an incline for about a kilometre to reach the temple.
Senior citizens and others who are unable to walk the steps can hire local autos. They drop you to the marble steps of the temple.
The entire pathway is flanked by shops & dhabas on both sides selling food for you and prasad & shringar items which are offerings to Mata Jawalamukhi Ji.
The queues leading up to the temple are quite organised. It took us about half an hour to finally enter the sanctum sanctorum after standing in the long winding queue.
The temple is full of the positive energy of the goddess, the darshan was very good. It is fairly well kept, with constant cleaning by staff.
And to my surprise, there was no rush or demand by the priests even though it was close to the closing time.
The main jawala (flame) is in the pit secured with a grill where a priest is usually busy with daily puja. Try not to miss the 3 sacred jwala in the walls and corners of this room.
Jawalamukhi shaktipeeth is famous for being a temple that doesn’t house any idol in its sanctum sanctorum.
It is among the 51 total Shaktipeeth in India dedicated to Goddess Jawalamukhi who is considered the deity of the ‘flaming mouth’. The key highlight of the temple is the sacred flame that is never doused.
The Itihasa Behind Mata Jawalamukhi
The Origin of The Sacred Flame - How did it happen?
According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Sati was born when Gods concentrated their entire energy on the earth. Goddess Sati was brought up by Prajapati Daksha and later married Lord Shiva.
Once Prajapati Daksha organised a yajna in which everyone was invited except Lord Shiva. Sati felt humiliated and insulted by such acts of her father. She decided to take revenge by immolating herself in the yajna.
This action infuriated Lord Shiva he recovered and then carried the charred body of Sati over his shoulder around the three worlds.
Seeing the terrible form of Shiva, the gods were terrified and prayed to Lord Vishnu to pacify Shiva’s anger.
Lord Vishnu decided to invoke Sudarshan Chakra which cut down Sati’s body which got scattered into 51 pieces at various places.
These places are known as Shaktipeeth and are regarded as the power centre of Goddess Sati.
Jawalamukhi is one of the forms of Maa Durga where the tongue of goddess Sati fell. The Goddess is believed to be the tiny blue flames that ignite every day through the fissure in the age-old rocks.
Nine flames in all stay ignited in the temple representing the nine Goddesses – Mahakali, Annapurna, Chandi, Hinglaj, Vidhya Basni, Mahalakshmi, Saraswati, Ambika & Anji Devi.
Out of these, I could spot just three. I hope if this itihasa encourages you to go, you may spot all the nine sacred flames.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh & Mata Jawalamukhi
In 1765, Maharaja Ranjit Singh got the Kohinoor diamond and gold deposits from his victory over Ahmad Shah Abdali at Khyber Darwaza, Walakot, Afghanistan. Out of the gold reserves received by Maharaja:
- 50% was used in the construction of the main dome of the Golden Temple, Amritsar,
- 25% in the Jawalamukhi temple and
- 25% in the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
The main dome of Mata Jawalamukhi was built in the mandapa style and is in the same form today. Subsequently, the main silver door of the temple was donated by the son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
In 1809, after the Gorkha invaders were driven out of Kangra. A treaty was signed between Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Raja Sansar Chand in the Jawalamukhi temple.
The Mughal Emperor Akbar & Mata Jawalamukhi
The Story of the Parasol Gifted by Akbar
Mughal Emperor Akbar came to this Jawalamukhi Mandir after the battle of Noorpur and Chamba Akbar.
Being a non-believer & from a different faith, he suspected the supremacy of Mata Jawalmukhi and sent his soldiers to Jawalamukhi.
It was found and conveyed to Akbar that the flames from the ground at the said place were ignited without any fuel, ghee, etc.
Golden Parasol Story Version 1 – Akbar then tried to extinguish the flames by covering them with an iron disk and even channelling water through them. But the flames overcame all these efforts.
Akbar on the advice of the courtiers, then presented a golden parasol (chhatri) to the shrine to seek Jawala Mata’s blessings.
However, the parasol fell suddenly and the gold transformed into another metal that is still unknown to the world.
It is believed Maa Bhagwati changed the form of the umbrella and its metal to shatter Akbar’s pride.
His belief in the goddess was all the more strengthened after this incident and he presented the Goddess with a Golden Parasol (chhatri).
The big golden “chhatri” presented by Emperor Akbar to the temple is kept in another hall inside the temple. The story behind this is that the chhatri was rejected by Devi.
Golden Parasol Story Version 2 – As per another story, Akbar after his failure of dousing the flames destroyed the temple and had the priests and other devotees killed.
After this, the king of Chamba (King Sansar Chand) reconstructed the temple. Maharaja Ranjit Singh installed a golden parasol (chhatri) & Sher Singh (the son of King Ranjit Singh) decorated the gates with silver.
For dinner, we decided to eat at a local market there. The idea was to get some Kangra Dham style food at one of the local dhabas near the temple.
We looked around and made enquiries for Dham. Ultimately, Fateh Dhaba was finalised and we dined there.
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