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The temple is an ancient cave temple dedicated to Hidimbi Devi. Legend says that, during Pandav's exile , they came to the territory of Hadimb who ruled the area. Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers fell in love with Hidimbi, the sister of the ruler. Bhima, killed Hadimb and married Hidimba and they gave birth to a son Ghatotkacha. When Pandavas returned from exile, Hidimba stayed back and performed penance. It is believed that in this cave Hidimba did penance and attained the status of a goddess. This temple is the most popular among Hidimba temples.
The temple is a lovely temple made of wooden thatch roofs, surrounded by very green forest area with lot of Deodar trees making it very calm place. Since, the temple is located in the middle of a forest called the Dhungiri Van Vihar it is also known as Dhoongri temple. `Dhoongri' means rock.
One of the most prominent tourist attractions and a must visit temple in Manali, it is at walkable distance from Manali Market. The road to this temple goes through oak and deodars.
It was built in 1553 by Raja Bahadur Singh, a Kullu king. Built around a small natural cave, the temple is believed to enshrine the footprints of Goddess Hadimba. A massive rock inside the temple and it is believed that Hadimba meditated on this rock. On it, a 7.5 cm tall brass image representing goddess Hidimba Devi.
The temple is a four story wooden structure, built in the Buddhist pagoda style of architecture. It has a 24 meters tall wooden shikhar or tower above the sanctuary consists of 3 square roof which is constructed of narrow wooden planks, one over the other. The three lower ones are in the form projecting canopies. A large brass cone shaped roof surmounted at the top. The interesting thing about this temple is that it does not contain any idol, but an imprint of the feet of the goddess carved on a block of stone and the goddess is worshpped in this form.
The wooden door frame is ornamented with the carvings of miniature depictions of goddess, attendants and symbols. On the beams above the doorway has Navagraha panels, female dancers a scene from the Krishna story. The uppermost part is decorated with the motif of Buddhist characters. The goddess Durga forms the theme of the main door carvings.
To seek Hidimbi Devi's blessings, devotees sacrifice a buffalo at the temple, prior to every coronation.
The temple is also one of the few temples where animal sacrifice is still in vogue. Goats are sacrificed during Dussehra festival (‘Ghor Pooja’) and the horns of the goats adorn the outer temple walls. Hadimba Devi is also a very important deity in the Dussehra celebrations and the festival cannot start without her arrival from Manali.
The annual fair remembering Raja Bahadur Singh, who built the temple is held on the first of Savan every year. This fair is known as the Bahadur Singh Re Jatar. This Mela is also called as Saroohni. There is another fair too which is held on 14th May each year in the celebration of birthday of Hadimba Devi. Women around and from Dhungri forest come and Go to Top celebrates this fair with music and dance. This Mela is lasts for three days.
Temple Timings : It is open all days of the week from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
A rope hangs down in front of the rock,and according to a legend, those days hands of sinners would be tied to this rope and sinners would be pushed hard swinging against the rock. For visitors, there are benches around the temple premises where one can relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. One can also head to the nearby market and purchase some beautiful Himachali shawls.
The Ghatotkutch Temple, dedicated to Ghatotkacha, the only son of Hidimba Devi and Bhima is just a little walk away is also worth the visit. One can see unique presentations of the horns of buffalos by devotees to Gatotkajha. People can enjoy a Yak ride at temple premises. Rs. 50/-.
Near the entrance of the temple one get chance to take pictures in traditional Himachal dress for a small amount of Rs. 30/- per person. Also, one get chance to take pictures with a rabbit or a yak. There is also a Fun park near Hadimba Temple.
Note : The temple is at a distance of only 1.5 kms from the town, but during peak season i.e; in summer season, Manali is jammed with vehicles and one need to prepare for traffic jams. So, it is better to visit this temple early in morning to avoid rush.