Devi Jwalpa Bhawani (The Fire Goddess of Devbhoomi Uttarakhand)
Jwalpa devi – Also known as Jwaleshawari, Jwala, Jwalpeshwari, Jwalendri, Jwalamukhi, Jwalamalini, Bhagwati Jwalpa Bhawani is regarded as the Daughter of Thapliyal’s. Her abode is in the vibrant banks of Nwalika (Nayar) river situated in the heavenliness of Aamkoti, Kapholsiyu Patti, Pauri Garhwal.Jwalpa is derived from the sanskriti word Jwala which means gigantic flames of Fire.
Skandpuran says the daughter of Demon King Pulom was Sachi, Sachi saw a handsome man passing by the heavens in his elephant chariot and wanted him to be her better half, the handsome man was lord Indra. She prayed in the banks of Nwalika river for centuries to the presiding Goddess of Himalayas, Goddess Parvati to get King of God’s, Devraj Indra as her husband.
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Goddess Parvati appeared in form of a Deeptimaan Jwaleshwari which means a great holy fire and got her wish fulfilled. Sachi got the title of Indrani and from then the goddess here is worshipped in form of Fire.
There are two Idol’s of Goddess installed inside the temple. One is a centuries old black stone, showing Shiva and Parvati engraved, the other is eight armed granite Mahadurga. Idol’s of Ganesh and Bahirava are also seen inside the temple. There are 3 pindis (holy stone) of the goddess (Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati) underground with a devi yantra installed. She is also known as aadi para shakti Bhuvneshwari.
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There is local story too,
According to the locals when people used to go far for business in olden times, a kafola Bisht (Bisht surname person belonging to Kapholsiyu patti) was returning back to his village. He rested near the Nayar river and kept his luggage down. After resting for a while, when he started carrying his luggage, the luggage became too heavy. When he investigated inside he found a black idol, because he had to leave quickly for his place, he kept the idol there and started walking. After some days a Shepard boy noticed something fishy, his cow used to behave strange. She used to go to the wild berry bushes and used to leave her milk there. He investigated and found a black stone idol of Goddess but he ignored it and went home with his cattle. After that goddess appeared in his dream and said, that she was Aadi Shakti Jwalpa Bhawani, and ordered him to construct a small temple.
Later Jwalpa devi went in the dreams of King of Chandpur Garhi and ordered him to send one family of Thapliyal (Sarola) Brahmins who were the priest’s of Aadi Badri Temple, to Pauri. She ordered king to send her family of Thapliyal priests for her prayers. Later Shree Somath Sati Thapliyal installed the idol of Goddess in pure Vedic Sanatani way and started worshipping her.
At present Anthwal Brahmins take care of the temple because in olden days when Thapliyal Brahmins worshipped Devi they had to travel alot so they failed to reach temple on time, hence they handed their authority of priesthood to the Anthwal’s as their village was near to the temple. Anthwals were appointed the new priests by Thapliyals. This authority was handed over by a ritual when a Thapliyal daughter married an Anthwal surname Man.
Hence Thapliyal’s being the maternal and Anthwal’s being the Paternal side of the Goddess. Right side (if facing towards the temple from the front)of the temple is dedicated to Thapliyal’s and left side of the temple is dedicated to Anthwal’s.
On right bank of Nayar river there lies the Jwalpa bhawani temple and on the left bank there is a cremation ground, where dead corpse are burned. Hence her other form is of Samsan Kaali. Special offerings of coconut, red shawl (Dosaala) and unlimited parasols (siver chatar) are done in this temple.
From special selected seven local areas mustard and alsi seeds are collected to keep the fire of the lamp (symbol of Goddess) continuous and illuminated. It is known that Goddess if worshipped with a pure heart never fails to bless you with a good life partner, just as she blessed Sachi with Devraj Indra. Jwalpa Bhawani is very much connected with girls and never fails to help her female devotees (Dhyaaniya in local) when they get married to a different land. She is also known as “Dhyaanio ki devi” means the goddess of married girls.
Jwalpa bhawnai is the Kul Devi (family Goddess) of Thapliyal’s and Bisht’s.
RESEARCH AND WRITTEN BY SHIVANK THAPLIYAL