Hidimba Devi Temple, Manali

Locally known as the Dhungiri temple, Hidimba Devi temple or Hadmiba temple, it is one of the most popular temples in Manali. This four-storyed structure lies amid a forest, called Dhungiri Van Vihar. The locals have named the temple on the name of the surrounding forest area. Dedicated to Goddess Hadimbi (wife of Bheem, one of the five Pandava brothers of epic Mahabharata), it was constructed way back in 1553. The top conical roof is in metal while the other three square-shaped floors are roofed with timbre tiles. There is also a 24 meter high tower.

The temple has a wooden doorway and the mud walls adorn stonework. The door has elaborate miniature paintings of the Goddess, animals etc. The beam of the doorway has the Navgrahas (the) and female dancers from one of the stories of Lord Krishna. The temple does not have an idol of the Goddess but a huge stone carrying her footprint is kept here.

Importance of Hidimba Temple

The story takes us to the days of Mahabharata. After the Pandava brother and their mother escaped the ‘lakh’ palace without any harm, they arrived in this area. During those days, this region was ruled by Hidimb Raksasha. He had a sister named Hidimbi (Hadimba). Bheem fell in love with her. She reciprocated his feelings.

They both were able to marry only after killing her brother. The couple lived in the valley. After a year, Bheema went to join his brother and mother. After sometime, their son was born who was named Ghatotkachh. Hadimba took good care of her son till he was a minor. When Ghatotkachh, became a warrior, she retreated into the inner hills for meditation. Eventually her son conquered the country and became popular as a good administrator.

Hadmiba meditated in Dhungri region near Manali. She gained supernatural powers after her tapasya. She was very kind and thus became quite popular amid the locals. They erected a ‘pagoda’ style temple and dedicated it to her, Hadmiba Devi. This is how Hadmiba temple in Manali was built. Around 70 m from this temple, there is a shrine dedicated to Ghatotkachh.

Festival at Hadimba Temple

Every year, a festival is organized in the temple in the Hindi month of Shravan. It is celebrated in the memory of the person who constructed this temple, Raja Bahadur Singh. Local have named this fair. Bahadur Singh Re Jatar. Another fair held here is the celebration of the birthday of Hadmiba Devi, on the 14th of May, every year. At this time, the local women visit the Dungri forest area and celebrate with music and dance.

It is said that the temple is around 500 years old and was built by Raja Bahadur Singh. A fair was organized in the first Shravan month in the commemoration of this event. This fair is known as Sarrohni Mela. It also coincides with the completion of paddy transplantation.

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