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Hadimba Devi Temple At Dhungri Near Manali In Himachal Pradesh

The famous Hadimba Devi Temple at Dhungri is located around
3 kms from Manali, Himachal Pradesh. There are only a few temples to Goddess Hadimba
and this one near Manali is undoubtedly the most famous.

There is a large rock in the temple compound on which Goddess
Hadimba meditated while she was living in this part of Himachal. The rock,
known locally as dhungar, gives this area its name. The sanctum sanctorum
consists of this rock where Hadimba sat for meditation.

There is also a murti of Hadimba Devi; it is a 60 cm brass
murti. Footprints of Goddess Durga or charan paduka are imprinted to the left of
the entrance of the temple.

Nearby is a temple dedicated to Ghatotkacha, the son of
Hidimba and Bhima.

Hadimba Devi, part goddess, part demoness, benefactress of the
Kullu dynasty and consort of the strongest Pandava, Bhima, has a deep hold over
the devotion and piety of Himachal Pradesh.

Dhungri Hadimba Devi temple was built in 1553 CE by Raja
Bahadur Singh on an immense platform 27 meter high and 13 meter X 9 meter in length
and width. An inscription suggests that the king built it to celebrate his
victory over the local Ranas and Thakurs.

The pagoda style Hadimba Devi Temple is surrounded by pine
trees. The temple is large with an intricately carved verandah on three sides.
The entrance has striking wood carvings of different gods from the Hindu
pantheon. The quadruple wooden door frame is ornamented with carvings of various
gods and goddesses and decorative devices such as knots, scrolls, plait-works,
animal figures, pot and foliage etc. Goddess Mahishasuramardini, and a devotee
with folded hands and Shiva with Parvati on Nandi are shown on the right side
at the base where as Goddess Durga, a devotee with folded hands, Bhagavan Vishnu
with Goddess Lakshmi on Garuda are shown on the left side. The figures of
Ganesha are in the centre of the lintel. On the beam above the lintel are the
Navagraha panels.

The temple is four-storied with 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.

The sanctum is covered with a three-tiered roof constructed
of narrow wooden planks one over the other. The three lower ones are in the usual
for projecting canopies, showing traces of the wooden fringes here and there. A
large metal umbrella surmounted by a metal finial forming the fourth roof
crowns the summit of the temple.

On the three sides the temple is enclosed by a narrow verandah
which is raised to a height of about 12 feet above the ground. The face and windows
on each side of it are richly carved and present a handsome appearance. Over
the entrance is a wooden balcony.

The temple is currently under the jurisdiction of the Archeological
Survey of India (ASI).

The annual Dhungri Mela observed on May 15 and May 16
attracts thousands of devotees and is famous for various rituals.

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