Welcome to Jawalamukhi
India's classic fire temple, Jawal-Ji, is the must-see attraction at Jawalamukhi, around 34km south of Kangra. Directly opposite the very central bus station, a joyously colourful covered bazaar leads 600m to the temple entrance, where shoes are removed and the jostling begins as devotees surge through a caged queuing system that would be a claustrophobe's nightmare. The eventual destination is a tiny sanctum where the goddess of light appears in the form of ever-burning natural-gas flames issuing from rocks within both a blessing-pit and a golden framed wall-shrine. Over the sanctum is a golden dome and spire that were installed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the ‘Lion of Punjab’: he purportedly never went into battle without seeking a blessing here. It's one of India's 51 Shakti peeths, temples marking where body parts of Shiva’s first wife, Sati, fell after her body was consumed by flames: in this case her tongue.