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Maharaj Krishen Raina, Mumbai

Jawalaji, the Goddess of Fire is another popular Ishtdevi of Pandits. Situated in the small village of Khrew, on the east of Zabarwan hills and about 20 Kms. away from Srinagar, Jawalaji is venerated as one more aspect of the Shakti. According to Kalhana, the village was known as Khaduvi in the ancient times. Above the village, a Svayambhu-Chakra or `mystical diagram' was shown on a rock. The diagram has now faded away with the passage of the time.

The Shrine of Jawalaji was constructed by Dr. Bal Krishen in the eighteenth century. It is perched on the top of a 200 feet high extended hillock of the Zabarwan range. It is approachable by a flight of 360 Devri stone steps with more than a dozen landings. The octagonal shaped temple rests on an 18 feet high base. The Sanctum Sanctorum is an 8 feet x 8 feet square shaped structure. A six feet high, black stone image is placed here. It is said that the image truned black due to the occasional flames which sparked here from time to time. The flame is said to have been 2 feet high and was alight for about half an hour, when last seen in the year 1962.

According to Kalhana, there was an abundance of fine springs in and around Khew. Abul Fazl mentions these springs as the objects of worship and estimates their number at 360. Presently there is a big spring known as `Bod Naag' near the Temple. There is no `Linga' inside the temple but a number of Shivalaingas exist around all the springs below. A 600 years old moorti of Laxminarayan exists in the courtyard of a house near this spring. Another moorti of Mata Ragnya is placed in the ground on the west of the Temple. This moorti is estimated to be 900 years old.

According to Tarreekh-e-Hassan, the King Driptadev constructed a temple dedicated to Jawalamukhi in the 671'st year of Kaliyuga. The temple is not in existence now. It is believed that the said temple was built near the Mandekhpal village, 2.5 Kms. away from the present temple.

A fair is held here on the 14th bright fortnight of Ashada (June-Jul) every year. An offering of Tahar (yellow rice) and Sheshanor (lamb's lung) are offered to the Devi and later served as Prasad.


[1) Kalhana's Rajatarangini, 2) Hamara Adab 1981-82: J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages, 3) Kashur Encyclopedia: vol : 1, 4) Information Digest vol : 1, Lalladed Trust]

The author is the Coordinating Editor of the Milchar, Mumbai and the author of Project "ZAAN" publications of Lal Ded Educational & Welfare Trust & Kashmiri Pandits Association, Mumbai.

Mailing Address : Lal-Ded Educational and Welfare Trust, Pushp Vihar, Shastri Nagar, Vasai Road (W)-401 202
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