When I reached Manali, I planned to visit Hidimba Devi temple. It started to rain and I had to change my plan. Thus, instead of visiting Hidimba temple, I headed to Old Manali and took shelter in a café. That’s when I met some nice people and we took a road trip to Sissu waterfall. We also stopped at Solang Valley and roamed around a little bit. I had to stay for the night in a room provided by the café owner. The next day after breakfast, I left for Hidimba Devi Temple and after a short walk; I was saw some people selling a lot of stuff. This made me realize that I had almost reached the temple.
Hidimba Devi Temple of Manali is a popular travel destination. Therefore, if you are planning a trip to Manali, you must include this temple in your list. The temple holds a great significance and is worshipped by people. Before visiting Hidimba Devi Temple of Manali, I had visited Tripura Sundari Temple of Naggar. Both the temples show a great resemblance in terms of their architecture. You will notice it clearly if you visit both the temples.
History and Architecture of Hidimba Devi Temple
Also known as Dhungari Temple, Hidimba Devi Temple is also called Hadimba Devi temple locally. As per the epic Mahabharat, Hidimba was Bheem’s wife and was a giantess. It is said that she meditated here to apologize for the sins she had made in her life. Though she was a giantess (Rakshashi), Goddess Durga positioned her as a goddess. A 10 cm footprint can also be found at the temple’s entrance.
Hidimba temple was constructed in 1553 by Maharaja Bahadur Singh. The temple is surrounded by the panoramic views of cedar forest of Dhungari Van Vihar. The temple is 24 m tall, constructed around a cave where Hidimba Devi is said to have meditated back then. Also, she is also supposed to have lived here with Hidimb (Her brother). Pandava visited this place during their exile period. Hidimba was destined to marry the person who would defeat her brother and Bheem did that. Anyways, let’s not get into the mythologies.
The wooden doors of the temple are incredibly carved with a tower placed above the sanctuary. There are three squared roofs with timber tiles. The top roof has brass cone. The main door has Durga’s carvings along with foliates, animals, Navagrahas, Lord Krishna’s life, etc. The temple is based on the foundation prepared out of mud-covered, whitewashed stonework. Inside the temple, a large sized rock is placed also a 3inch brass image of the goddess Hidimba is placed. There’s a rope which is hanging down before the rock. As per folklore, religious zealots used to chop off the hands of the sinners and tie with the rock, swinging against the rock (Source: Wikipedia).
Why is Hibimda Devi Worshipped?
As mentioned above, Hidimba being a giantess attained the position of a goddess. People of Manali worship Hidimba as a local deity. Goddess Durga is worshipped all over the country during Navaratri however; Hidimba Devi is worshipped in Manali at the same time. The temple gets crowded with the devotees. People celebrate Hidimba Devi Temple every year during spring season. The royal family of Kullu considers Hidimba as its great grandmother. The starting and ending of the famous Kullu Dussehra also takes place in Hidimba’s presence.
Ghatotkacha was son of Hidimba and Bheem. The temple is located close to Hidimba’s temple at a short walk. The temple isn’t as huge and grand as the other, but an open worshiping area with Ghatotkacha’s idol placed over a platform and a bell hanging down, surrounded by trees.
Close to the shrine is the Museum of Himachal Culture & Folk Art. It’s a small museum which houses a lot of items which you won’t see in everyday life these days. Several cooking, household, weaving, etc. items have been placed here to showcase the culture and history of Himachal Pradesh. There is a small entry ticket which can be bought from the desk at the entrance. Photography and videography isn’t allowed inside the museum.
This pagoda-styled temple surrounded by dense forest is open for everyone without any entry ticket. Hadimba Devi Temple can be visited all days from 8 AM to 6 PM. After visiting the temple, I headed to Mall Road and had lunch in a restaurant. From there, I moved to a Buddhist monastery in Aleu. From there, I moved back to Naggar, making end of my Manali trip.