JAWALA MATA , KHREW
Khrew is a well-known town in Kashmir valley. The place houses a temple which is dedicated to Goddess Jawala Bhagwati, also known as Goddess of fire or Zala Bhagwati. The temple is located at Khrew Village, which is around 20 km from Srinagar. It is an important and revered temple for Kashmiri Pandits as Jwalaji is the Isht Devi of many Kashmiri Pandit families. The temple gets its name Jwala Bhagwati as it is located on a hill which was once an active volcano. The temple has a sacred spring at the base of the hillock which is known as Bod Nag or Aneek Nag where pilgrims take a dip before entering the temple. Fresh, cold water keeps coming out at the South West corner of the spring.
Temple History and Temple Legend
The octagonal shaped temple has 320 steps made with limestone’s slabs which lead up to a sanctum. It is a simple structure that was built during the 20th century by King Daya Krishan Kaul. The main sanctum is a square shaped structure. The dome ceiling is decorated with wood carvings. The structure of the shrine resembles Chinese pagodas, but the slope of the roof is straight. The sanctum houses a rock in the form of a natural stone measuring 4 ft tall, 4 ft long and 3 ft wide, smeared with vermilion. It is said that Jwalaji manifested herself as a Jyoti. This sacred rock has naturally carved mystical lines forming a design which resembles Sri Chakra. It is believed that the rock has turned black due to the flames which sparked from time to time.
There is a small temple dedicated to Lord Bhairav. A revered hill ‘Vishnu Pad’ is located on the left side of the shrine. A foot mark of Lord Vishnu is visible at the top of Vishnu Pad.
A legend has it that a group of demons, who tried to invade Dev Lok to grab the treasure of Kuber, were defeated here by goddess Jwalaji. Thereafter, she decided to stay here.
This temple is being managed by The Dharmarth Trust chaired by royal Dr. Karan Singh.
Festivals and Celebrations
A religious congregation is held every year on the day of Arshrad Chaturdashi (Haare Choodeh) in which thousands of Hindus across the country take part. Mela Jawalaji is held on the 14th day of the bright fortnight of Ahada (July-August). Every year the birthday of Goddess Jwalaji is celebrated on Ashad Shukla Chaturdashi, also known as Jwala Chaturdashi. A grand festival is held at Khrew village.
How To Reach By Train: The nearest railway station is Srinagar.
By Air: The closest airports are located in Jammu and Srinagar.
By Road: The temple is well-connected by road with all the major cities of Jammu and Kashmir. Buses and private vehicles are easily available to reach the temple.