Hadimba Temple in Manali

hadimbatemple

Hadimba Temple in Manali or Dhungiri temple in Manali is one of the most important temples in the region. This four story wooden temple is located in the middle of a forest called the Dhungiri Van Vihar. From the name of the forest parkland this temple derives its name. Hadimba devi temple was erected in 1553 and is dedicated to Goddess Hadimba. The Hadimba Temple is constructed after Devi Hadimba, The wife of Bhim (second Pandav brother). The story of the Mahabharata says that Bhim killed Hadimba’s brother Hadimb, a devil and married Hadimba in due course. After Hadimba’s wedding to Bhim, she undertook a absolution and gave birth to a son known as Ghatochkach. In the later years her son appeared to be a audacious fighter. From then onwards, Hadimba is worshiped as Devi Hadimba, a goddess.

Legend

Hadimba, a ‘Rakshashi’ in the Mahabharat has been deified and is worshipped in this area. According to Mahabharat ‘Hadimb Rakshash’ ruled some of the sub-mountainous tracts of the Himalayas. His sister was Hadimba or Hidimba. In their wanderings the Pandavas, along with their mother, after escaping from the wax house unhurt came to the territory of Hadimb Rakshash. Bhima fell in love with Hadimba, the sister of the ruler. Bhima could marry her only after killing the brother. The pair-lived in the valley for about a year after which Bhima joined his brothers and mother. Hadimba gave birth to a son who was named ‘Ghototkachh’. Till Ghototkachh was a minor, Hadimba looked after her country. She retired to the inner hills, for meditation, when her son Ghototkachh, a great warrior took over the country. Ghototkachh was a good administrator. Dhungri was the place near Manali where Hadimba had resorted for meditation. A temple of Hadimba in ‘pagoda’ style was raised and she became Devi Hadimba. Hadimba had supernatural powers owing to ‘tapashya’ and was kind to her people. Hadimba became the patron-deity of the Rajas of Kullu . The Tilak ceremony of every Raja of Kulu has to be done with the permission of the goddess and after worshipping her a, buffalo is sacrificed. Certain ceremonials where the patron deity is closely associated have to be performed in the Dussehra festival of Kulu. The Dussehra festival is held at Dhalpur Maidan and as mentioned the idol of Raghunathji is taken there. From his temple the goddess Hadimba blesses the ceremonial horse. The ceremony is called as ‘Ghor Pooja’.

The pagoda type wooden temple of the goddess at Dhungri is according to Hira Nand Shastri, the antiquarian about 500 years old. No idol is enshrined and only a foot-print on a stone is kept within.Raja Bahadur Singh who built the temple is commemorated by a fair held on the first of Savan annually named as ‘Bahadur Singh Re Jatar.’ This Mela is also called as Saroohni, which is symbolic of the completion of the transplanting of paddy.

Hadimba goddess has been humanized by the people and made their own. On the first of ‘Jaith’, or 14th of May, another Mela is held to celebrate birthday of the goddess Hadimba. This Mela is held in the Dhungri forest. It lasts for three days. Thousands of men, women and children participate in the Mela. Rice-bear (Lungri) flows among both men and women who make themselves merry in music and dance.

There is another indigenous ceremony. The deities, Kartikswami of Simsa, Chhandal Rishi of Parsha, shrishti Narayan of Aleo, Shriganh of Jagatsukh, Vishnu of Shajla, Maladevi of Sial and Sankh Narayan of Nasogi, are brought in processions with proper music by their followers to Dhungri. On the 4th day, the fair shifts to the temple of Manu in the village Manali . The Dhungri forest provides a grand setting to the assemblage of hill women in their colorful clothes.

As per another legend, the architect of the temple had to lose his hand for this masterpiece. King was afraid of duplication of the master craft and he ordered architect’s hand to be cut. This anecdote might have some portion of reality and truth, with only the temple being a mute witness. It is also said that this could not stop the master architect, who trained his left hand and at the request of the people, executed an even finer temple at Trilokinath in Chamba,155 km away from Manali.

Best time to visit

You can visit the hadimba devi temple anytime of the year barring the monsoon season which arrive in July and August when rainfall perpetuates landslides. The best time to visit the temple is during the month of May when the temple hosts the Hadimba Devi Festival. This festival attracts a number of devotees and pilgrims to the temple. A colorful fair is organized each year on May 14 to celebrate Goddess Hadimba Devi’s birthday. The fair features colourful and interesting folk dance performances.

The Hadimba Devi temple witnesses animal sacrifices till date to honour the Goddess. Natives believe that the sacrifices will help in appeasing the Goddess and she will bless them with strength and peace.

Timings of Temple

The Hadimba Devi temple can be visited from 5:00 am till 8:00 pm.

Getting there and around

  • By Air –

    The nearest airport is at Bhuntar, which is 10 km south of Kullu.

  • By Rail –

    The nearest railhead is at Jogindernagar (95 km)

  • By Bus –

    Manali has a good road link with Kullu , Shimla, Delhi, Chandigarh, Mandi, Manikaran, Naggar, Bajura, and Dharamshala.The Hadimba Temple is easily accessible to the visitors and the tourists in Himachal Pradesh by roadways. They can avail a bus service to reach the temple.

Accomodation

Accomodation is not an problem either in Kullu or Manali. Both the places have lot of budget and luxury hotels .

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