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 moutains. 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, the progenitor of the ruling Katoch family of Kangra, first built the temple.
The modern building of temple is with a gilt dome and pinnacles and possesses a beautiful folding door of silver plates, presented by Sikh Raja Kharak Singh. This silver door so struck Lord Hardinge that he had a model made of it. Maharaja Ranjit Singh presented the gilt roof in 1815 AD. The interior of the temple consists of a square pit about 3 feet deep with a pathway all around. In the middle, the rock is hollowed out over a primary fissure of a flame considered to be the fiery mouth of Mahakali. The flames escape at several other points from the crevics of the wall of the pit. There are nine flames in total representing following different forms of Goddess:-
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 at the shrine. However, his cynicism at the power of devi caused the gold to debase into another metal. 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.
CHARACTERISTICS OF JAWALAJI :-
Jawala Ji has an unique characteristic of perpetual lights emanating from the rock at temple site being considered the manifestation of goddess.
Jawala Ji as a center of faith is unparalleled and unique. There is no deity or idol that is worshiped, nor there is a magnificent temple building to be admired. It has the series of jets of inflammable natural lighting since times immemorial believed to be the symbol of Goddess.
Aartis are essential rituals in all the temples in the country. However, the Shayan Aarti performed at Jawala Ji before bed time is unique. The bed of Goddess is decked up with rich dresses and ornaments during aarti.
Jawala Ji is easily accessible being located on a National Highway and is also accessible throughout the year as weather is pleasant
It is fast emerging as a tourist centre as it is located only about an hour distance from the famous tourist resort of Dharamshala in Kangra Valley on Dharamshala-Shimla
Road. Because of various historical factors associated with the temple, it has become a source of attraction to students and scholars. Besides, general tourists visiting Dharamshala do also not miss to see this place. As such it has acquired a vast dimension, as both pilgrims and general tourists visit the shrine.