Located amidst the snow covered hills of Manali, the Hadimba temple is a unique shrine dedicated to Hadimba Devi, who was the wife of Bhima and mother of Ghatothkach. Surrounded by gorgeous cedar forests, this beautiful shrine is built on a rock which is believed to be in the image of the goddess herself. The construction style of the temple is entirely different from that of any of the other temples, with its wooden doorways, walls, and cone-shaped roof. This temple is a fitting dedication to its presiding deity Hadimba.
The Hadimba temple is dedicated to Hidimba, the wife of the second brother of the Pandavas, Bhima. Hidimba was a demoness who lived in this area with her brother Hidimb. She had vowed that she would marry whoever could defeat Hidimb in a fight. During the period when the Pandavas were in exile, the second brother of the Pandavas Bheem, in a quest to save the villagers from the tortures of Hidimb, killed him and thus won the hand of Hidimba for marriage. Bheem and Hidimba had a son named Ghatotkacha who died fighting for the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra Battle. A shrine dedicated to him is built near the Hadimba temple.
After Bheem and the Pandavas went away from Manali, Hidimba stayed back to look after the kingdom. It is said that she was a very kind and just ruler.When her son Ghatotkacha came to age, Hidimba left the throne to her and went into the forest to dedicate the rest of her life to meditation. It is said that Hidimba sat on a rock doing hard penance to shed her demoness identity. After many years of meditation, her prayers were answered, and she was crowned with the glory of being a goddess. It is to honour her penance that the shrine was built on this rock in 1553.
The Hadimba Temple is built in Pagoda style. It is four-storeyed with flat roofs. However, the topmost roof is conical and clad in metal. The other roofs are covered with timber tiles. The temple is made of mainly wood and stones. There are intricately carved wooden doors and a 24 metres high wooden- 'shikhar' or tower above the temple.
The main door of the temple is adorned with carvings of depicting Goddess Durga. The base of the Hadimba temple is made of whitewashed stones. The interior is kept as simple as possible. The walls are adorned with carvings and figurines of Hindu Goddesses, various animals etc. The temple does not contain any idol of Devi Hidimba. The sanctum sanctorum consists of the rock where Hidimba sat for meditation.
A few metres away from the Hadimba temple lies a shrine dedicated to Hidimba and Bhima's son Ghatotkacha. This temple consists of a stone block with the impression of what is believed to be Hidimba's foot.
During the Navaratri festival, the people of Manali worship Hidimba Devi in this temple. During the Dussehra festival, the idol of Devi Hidimba is taken to the Dhalpur Maidan from where she blesses the ceremonial horse. This tradition is called "Ghor Puja". There is a long queue of devotees outside the Hadimba Temple during Navaratri.
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This temple lies only 2 kilometers away from the main city center of Manali, and you can access this destination via bus, taxi or also on foot.
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