Hadimba Temple in Manali
or Dhungiri temple in Manali is one of the
most important temples in the region. This four story
wooden temple is located in the middle of a forest called
the Dhungiri Van Vihar. From the name of the forest parkland
this temple derives its name. This temple was erected
in 1553 and is dedicated to Goddess Hadimba.
THE LEGEND OF HADIMBA TEMPLE
Hadimba, a 'Rakshashi' in the Mahabharat has been deified
and is worshipped in this area. According to Mahabharat
'Hadimb Rakshash' ruled some of the sub-mountainous tracts
of the Himalayas. His sister was Hadimba or Hidimba.
their wanderings the Pandavas, along with their mother,
after escaping from the wax house unhurt came to the territory
of Hadimb Rakshash. Bhima fell in love with Hadimba, the
sister of the ruler. Bhima could marry her only after
killing the brother. The pair-lived in the valley for
about a year after which Bhima joined his brothers and
mother. Hadimba gave birth to a son who was named 'Ghototkachh'.
Till Ghototkachh was a minor, Hadimba looked after her
country. She retired to the inner hills, for meditation,
when her son Ghototkachh, a great warrior took over the
country. Ghototkachh was a good administrator. Dhungri
was the place near Manali where Hadimba had resorted for
meditation. A temple of Hadimba in 'pagoda' style was
raised and she became Devi Hadimba. Hadimba had supernatural
powers owing to 'tapashya' and was kind to her people.
Hadimba became the patron-deity of the Rajas of Kullu
. The Tilak ceremony of every Raja of Kulu has to be done
with the permission of the goddess and after worshipping
her a, buffalo is sacrificed.
Certain ceremonials where the patron deity is closely
associated have to be performed in the Dussehra festival
of Kulu. The Dussehra festival is held at Dhalpur Maidan
and as mentioned the idol of Raghunathji is taken there.
From his temple the goddess Hadimba blesses the ceremonial
horse. The ceremony is called as 'Ghor Pooja'.
The pagoda type wooden temple of the goddess at Dhungri
is according to Hira Nand Shastri, the antiquarian about
500 years old. No idol is enshrined and only a foot-print
on a stone is kept within.Raja Bahadur Singh who built
the temple is commemorated by a fair held on the first
of Savan annually named as 'Bahadur Singh Re Jatar.' This
Mela is also called as Saroohni, which is symbolic of
the completion of the transplanting of paddy.
Hadimba goddess has been humanized by the people and made
their own. On the first of 'Jaith', or 14th of May, another
Mela is held to celebrate birthday of the goddess Hadimba.
This Mela is held in the Dhungri forest. It lasts for
three days. Thousands of men, women and children participate
in the Mela. Rice-bear (Lungri) flows among both men and
women who make themselves merry in music and dance.
There is another indigenous ceremony. The deities, Kartikswami
of Simsa, Chhandal Rishi of Parsha, shrishti Narayan of
Aleo, Shriganh of Jagatsukh, Vishnu of Shajla, Maladevi
of Sial and Sankh Narayan of Nasogi, are brought in processions
with proper music by their followers to Dhungri. On the
4th day, the fair shifts to the temple of Manu in the
village Manali . The Dhungri forest provides a grand setting
to the assemblage of hill women in their colorful clothes.