About Hidimba Devi Temple:
Hidimba Devi Temple, locally known as Dhungari Temple, also known variously as the Hadimba Temple, is located in Manāli, a hill station in the State of Himachal Pradesh in north India. It is an ancient cave temple dedicated to Hidimbi Devi, wife of Bhima, a figure in the Indian epic Mahabharata. The temple is surrounded by a cedar forest called Dhungiri Van Vihar at the foot of the Himalayas. The sanctuary is built over a huge rock jutting out of the ground which was worshiped as an image of the deity. The structure was built in 1553 by Maharaja Bahadur Singh.
The Hidimba Devi temple was built in 1553 AD by Maharaja Bahadur Singh. The temple is built around a cave where Devi Hidimba performed meditation. Hidimbi was supposed to have lived there with her brother Hidimb, and not much is known about their parents. Born into a Rakshasa family, Hidimba vowed to marry one who would defeat her brother Hidimb, who was supposed to be very brave and fearless. During the Pandava’s exile, when they visited Manali; Bhima, one of the five Pandavas, killed Hidimb. Thereafter, Hidimba married Bhima and gave birth to their son Ghatotkacha.
Worship of Hidimba Devi:
People in Manali worship Hidimba Devi as a deity. During Navaratri all Hindus across the nation worship goddess Durga, but people in Manali worship Hidimba Devi. Queues of people can be seen outside the temple, but the crowd increases during Navaratri.
The Hidimba Devi Temple has intricately carved wooden doors and a 24 meters tall wooden “shikhar” or tower above the sanctuary. The tower consists of three square roofs covered with timber tiles and a fourth brass cone-shaped roof at the top. The earth goddess Durga forms the theme of the main door carvings. Also depicted are animals, foliate designs, dancers, scenes from Lord Krishna’s life and Navagrahas. The temple base is made out of whitewashed, mud-covered stonework. An enormous rock occupies the inside of the temple, only a 7.5 cm (3 inch) tall brass image representing goddess Hidimba Devi. A rope hangs down in front of the rock, and according to a legend, in bygone days religious zealots would tie the hands of “sinners” by the rope and then swing them against the rock.
About seventy metres away from the temple, there is a shrine dedicated to Goddess Hidimba’s son, Ghatotkacha, who was born after she married Bhima. The most surprising feature of the temple or what believers could call the most reassuring feature of the temple is the fact that inside the temple the imprint of the feet of the Goddess carved on a block of stone is worshipped.
How to Reach:
The nearest airport is at Bhuntar, which is 10 km south of Kullu.
The nearest railhead is at Jogindernagar (95 km).
Kullu has a good road link with Shimla, Delhi, Chandigarh, Mandi, Manali, Manikaran, Naggar, Bajura, and Dharamshala.