About Hidimba Devi Temple
Nestled amidst the snow-laden hillocks of Manali, the Hidimba Devi Temple, also known as the Dhungri temple, is an ancient place of worship revered by the Hindus. The cave temple is dedicated to the Hindu demon-goddess Hidimbi. Hidimbi was the wife of Bhima, one of the five Pandava brothers who are at the forefront of the epic Mahabharata. Conceived in 1553 CE by Maharaja Bahadur Singh, the Temple is built around an ancient cave inside which Hidimbi Devi is believed to have meditated.
Surrounded by Dhungri Van Vihar, a lush cedar forest at the foot of the Himalayas, the structure is built on a massive rock piece jutting out of the ground. This protrusion was initially worshipped as the deity before the Temple was built. Reflecting the distinct temperament of its patron goddess, the design of the Hidimba Temple is different than any other temples in its vicinity. With its wooden doorways, ceramic-like walls and three conical roofs covered in timber, the architecture of the Temple tells unique stories about the origins of the place in the folklore.
Hidimba Devi Temple holds very high religious and cultural significance in the Hindu community. This can be seen on special occasions like the days of Navratri when people form long queues outside the Temple for just one glance at the Goddess. Along with having great religious value, the Temple gives its visitors an entrance into the wondrous world of nature. Nestled among branching trees and fallen leaves, the Temple is surrounded by rabbits and yaks who find a natural home in the forest surrounding the Temple.
How to Reach Hidimba Devi Temple
The Hidimba Devi temple is at a distance of about 2.5 km from the city centre. It is just 100 metres off the Mall road in Manali, lying in thick deciduous forests. You can take local conveyance services like rickshaws and autos.
It will take you about 10 minutes to drive to the Temple. The Temple is roughly a 20 minutes walk from the city centre so, and it can be visited on foot as well.
Best Time to Visit Hidimba Devi Temple
The best time to visit the Temple is during summer months, especially in May. In May, the temple authorities organise a three day Hidimba festival (also known as the Dhungari festival) that is worth taking part in. The festival is full of exciting activities, vibrant folk dance shows, and other cultural attractions.
The festival draws devotees from all over the country. The Hidimba festival features excellent pomp and show. In May, the weather is pleasant, and it's neither too hot nor too cold. Witnessing the fervour of the festival with your eyes will enrich your vacation experience. It is the peak season of visitors to Hidimba Devi.
What Not to Miss at Hidimba Devi Temple
Things to do in Hidimba Devi
1. Photography: The spectacular Himalayan architecture of the Temple with its wooden doors and stonework is an ideal backdrop for some memorable vacation snaps. Capture the breath-taking greenery surrounding the Temple and take its essence home.
2. Nature Walk: The Temple is located amidst the thickets of deciduous forests preserved from the hustle-bustle of the city. The elegant beauty of the forest parkland is worth exploring. Nature walk around the Temple will surely rejuvenate your body and mind.
3. Trekking: If you're an adventure-lover, then the surrounding hills of Manali are a perfect opportunity for you to glut your adventure-hungry soul. Trekking in Manali is a great experience. You can bask in the green beauty of the quaint hill station while walking through challenging trails.
4. Camping: You can set up tents in the nearby villages and enjoy a bonfire under the starlit sky of Manali. It will add another memorable experience to your list of holiday adventures.
Attractions near Hidimba Devi Temple
1. Ghatotkach Temple: Located right next to the Hidimba Devi Temple, the Ghatotkach Temple is a tree temple dedicated to Ghatotkach, the son of Bhima and Hidimba. The Temple celebrates the contribution of Ghatotkach in the great war of the epic Mahabharata. The worshipped tree is covered with mythological cut-outs and religious paraphernalia which gives the site a folklore vibe.
2. Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art: This Museum located near Hidimba Devi Temple is home to various extraordinary and rare antiques and artefacts that celebrate the culture of the state. It distinctly showcases articles that reminds one of the forgotten eras.
With a diverse range of artefacts ranging from old temple models, fabrics, dresses, vessels, musical instruments, sculptures and wood carvings, the Museum is the perfect destination if you want an experience that combines enjoyment with education.
3. Hampta Pass: At a 15-minute walking distance from the Hidimba Devi Temple, the Hampta Pass is the perfect destination for trekking enthusiasts. With rock walls, icy glaciers, glowing meadows, pinewoods, wildflowers and special herbs gracing the path of this naturally gifted pathway, the Hampta Pass is one of the most-loved tourist destinations in Kullu.
4. Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa Monastery: If you are looking for a peaceful place for meditation in Manali, the Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa Monastery is where you need to be. Located at about a ten-minute walking distance from the Hidimba Devi Temple, the Monastery is a quiet celebration of Buddhist culture and traditions. Sunflowers surround the humble, serene Monastery in the heart of Manali near the exit. It is well maintained, and its architecture is too impressive to miss.
Other Essential Information About Hidimba Devi Temple
- Location: The Hidimba Devi Temple is located at Hadimba Temple Road, in Old Manali in Manali, Himachal Pradesh 175131.
- Opening Hours: The Temple is open all days of the week from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
- Prayer Timings: Devotees are allowed to pray at any time during the visiting hours.
- Entry Fee: There is no chargeable fee to enter the Temple. Entering the Temple is free for all devotees.
- Number of Stairs: There are around 15 huge steps at the Temple.
- Distance from the Nearest Airport: The airport nearest to the Hidimba Devi Temple is the Old Terminal Airport Bhuntar which is located at a distance of 52.2 km from the Temple.
History of Hidimba Devi temple
The location of the Temple has a great significance in Hindu mythology. Maharaja Bahadur Singh built the Temple in the mid-sixteenth century. It was built on the surroundings of a cave where the wife of Bhima, Devi Hidimba,was believed to perform meditation. Hidimba, who was a Rakshasha, lived here with her brother Hidimb. She vowed to marry only to the one who defeats her strong brother Hidimba and thus proving his might and prowess.
During their exile, the five Pandavas visited Manali and the strongest of them, Bhima killed Hidimba. It is because of this that the people of Manali follow and worship Hidimba Devi. Even during Navratri when Durga is worshipped in the whole country by Hindus, people in Manali worship Devi Hidimba.
The Architecture of Hidimba Devi Temple
The Temple is an excellent example of 16th-century architecture. The Temple has a 24-metre tall tower above the sanctuary. It has three square roofs that are embedded with timber tiles and a 4th conical roof made of brass. The carvings on the main gate depict the Goddess Durga in all her glory.
You will also find designs depicting animals, dancers, Navagrahas( the nine planets) and glimpses from Lord Krishna's life. There is a colossal rock occupying most of the space inside the Temple, and a small 3-inch idol of Devi Hidimba is mounted on it. Whitewashed and mud-covered stonework beautifies the base of the Temple.
Worship of Hidimba Devi and festivities
The devotees worship Hidimba Devi throughout the year. Queues of Hindu devotees can be seen outside the Temple all the time. Inside the Temple, there is an imprint of the feet of Hidimba Devi on a rock which thousands of devotees come to worship. Hidimba Devi is highly regarded in Manali, and people believe that one can not prosper without her blessings.
During the time of Dussehra, the small idol of Devi Hidimba is shifted to Dhalpur Maidan where the Goddess gives benefits to the ceremonial horse. This ritual is called "Ghor Pooja". A three-day festival is also celebrated in May in the Temple which attracts thousands of devotees. The festival is a kaleidoscope of colourful folk dance performances, folklore, music and cultural activities.
Places to Stay near Hidimba Devi Temple
Located amidst the lush beauty of Manali, there are several options to stay near the Hidimba Devi Temple which provides you with comfortable stay and serene experience.
1. Mountain Top Hotel: It is an affordable stay option near the Temple. The rooms are clean and spacious, and the staff is cordial. The rooms are well designed with an attached balcony. There is an open terrace in the hotel.
2. Mary's Cottage: The property is beautiful, with a well-manicured and sunny garden. The food at the in-house restaurant is delicious. The staff is generous, and the rooms are well-equipped and clean.
3. The Orchard Greens Hotel: The hotel provides a comfortable stay to its guests with all necessary amenities in the room. There is a beautiful garden outside, and the new building has rooms with classy design. It is worth a stay in Manali.
4. Hotel Solitaire: If you're looking for a budget-friendly option, then this hotel is an ideal choice. It provides all necessary amenities, clean rooms, delicious food and prompt room service at a reasonable price.
Places to Eat near Hidimba Devi Temple
1. IL Forno: Enjoy the beautiful Himalayan view combined with mouth-watering Italian food at IL Forno. The restaurant provides a pleasant ambience with its rustic 19th-century lodge having stone and timber framework.
2. Tandoori Platter: It is a delight for food-lovers, especially if you love Chinese food. The Chinese dishes in the restaurant are one of the best in Manali. The restaurant staff is very cordial. It provides scenic vistas of the mountain and the Hamta pass.
3. Café Live: The restaurant offers lovely riverside views with delicious food. The wood fire pizza in café live is a must-try is a favourite among visitors.
Tips for visiting Hidimba Devi Temple
1. Arrive early to avoid facing parking issues during busy seasons.
2. Beware of hawkers and local sellers while entering the Temple as they try to sell you local products at higher than usual prices.
3. The sanctity of the Temple should be maintained by respecting the hygiene of the area. Do not litter inside or outside the Temple.
4. Remain barefoot once inside the Temple and while offering prayers. Keeping footwear inside the Temple is considered to be a sign of disrespect in the Hindu religion.
5. Do not try to pluck or meddle with the natural vegetation around the Temple.
6. Do not touch any statues or religious instruments with your hands.