Hadimba devi temple is the ancient cave temple dedicated to goddess Hadimba Devi, a character in the epic Mahabharata. The temple is contructed over a huge rock jutting out of the ground, which was worshipped as an image of the deity. Temple is standing amidst cedar forest at the foot of Himalayas. This location is called as Dhoongri (Dhungiri) Van Vihar, a small village in Manali district. Therefore it is also called as Dhoongri (Dhungri) temple. This temple has appeared in the Indian (Tamil, Hindi) film 'ROJA.'
Prime deity: Goddess Hadimba Devi / Halima
Legend: The legend is associated with the legend of the Mahabharata. Hadimba devi was born in the demon (Rakshas) family and not much known about their parents. Very brave and fearless Hadimba devi vowed to marry one who would defeat her brother Hadimb.
During Pandav's exile when they visited Manali, Bhima (one of the five Pandava brothers in the Mahabharata) killed Hadimb, thus Hadimba devi married Bhima and they gave birth to a son Ghatotkacha.
When Bhima and his brothers returned from exile, Hadimba devi left Bhima. She stayed back and performed penance. It is believed that in this cave Hadimba devi did penance and attained the status of a goddess.
History: The temple was later built around this cave by Maharaja Bahadur Singh in her honour. Maharaja Bahadur Singh built over a huge rock jutting out of the ground in the year 1533. Do you know what is being worshiped inside this temple? It is a surprise - the imprint of the feet of the Goddess carved on a block of stone.
Architecture: The architecture of Hadimba devi temple is worth appreciating. The 24 m high four tiered pagoda type temple tower consists of three square roofs covered with timber tiles and a fourth brass cone-shaped roof at the top. The temple does not contain any idol. But there is an imprint of the feet of the goddess carved on a block of stone and the goddess is worshpped in this form. The temple also has intricately carved wooden doors. The temple base is made out of whitewashed, mud-covered stonework. It is elaborately decorated with miniature depictions of Goddess, attendants, animals and stylized foliation. On the beams above the doorway appear the Navagrahas, female dancers an isolated scene from the Krishna story. 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 70 metres away from the temple,there is a shrine dedicated to Goddess Hidimba devi's son, Ghatotkacha who was born after she married Bhima.
Festivals: The temple is also known for the fair held every year in north Indian (Hindi) calendar month of Sravan in the memory of Raja Bahadur Singh, who built the temple. The fair is popularly known as Bahadur Singh Re Jatar among locals. There is another fair too which is held on 14th May every year in the celebration of birthday of Hadimba Devi. Women around and from Dhoongri forest come and celebrate this fair with music and dance.
The Hadimba Temple is easily accessible to the visitors and the tourists in Himachal Pradesh by roadways. They can avail a bus service to reach the temple.