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Soul Safari: The demon divine

Soul Safari: The demon divine
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Soul Safari: The Demon Divine. On my recent visit to Manali, a hill station at an altitude of 2050 meters in Himachal Pradesh, someone suggested that...

On my recent visit to Manali, a hill station at an altitude of 2050 meters in Himachal Pradesh, someone suggested that I visit Hadimba Temple. Knowing that Hadimba was born into a Rakshas (Demon) family, I was not enthused to pay a visit to this Temple but curiosity got the better of me and I decided to go for it. What I saw was fabulous and actually very interesting.

Hadimba Devi Temple is a four storey wooden temple situated in the middle of Van Vihar – a dense forest surrounded by Deodar trees, cedar trees and many more of its kind. This structure was built in the year 1553 by Raja Bahadur Singh. The intricate wooden carvings on the doors are absolutely spellbinding. The Temple has about 25 metres wooden tower that comprises of three square roofs made of wooden tiles and the last one is made in brass in conical form. One has to go down two or three steps to reach the rock inside which a brass image of Goddess Hadimba is placed. Besides the image is the rock with two footprints that is being worshipped. The most unusual sight was the heads of animals outside the temple. About 70 meters in the vicinity of the temple there is a shrine dedicated to Hadimba Devi’s son Ghatotkachh.

The history of this temple goes back to the times of ‘Mahabharat’ when this mountainous territory was believed to have been ruled by Hadimb Rakshas who was considered very brave. His sister Hadimba had vowed that she would marry the person who would prove to be stronger than her brother by killing him. When the Pandavas were in exile, they dawdled around and reached the territory of Hadimb Rakshas. Bhim (one of the Pandava brothers) fell in love with Hadimba and got married to her after fulfilling the conditions. They had a son called Ghatotkachh. Hadimba is assumed to have possessed supernatural powers and was kind to her people. She looked after her country until Ghatotkachh grew up and then went away into the forest (Van Vihar) for penance. Thereafter, Hadimba was known as Hadimba Devi and became the patron-deity of the kings of Kullu Manali.

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