The Kullu valley has an ancient town in its lap called Manali. Surrounded by towering peaks at an arm length, Manali's major asset is its proximity to the snowline. It is a flourishing orchard industry, a popular honeymoon destination and trailhead for numerous treks as well as a great countryside ideal for adventure sport lovers. Also popular as a hill resort destination, Manali presents some excellent and well-equipped accommodation choices for the tourists. In the past decade Manali has turned out to be one of the best hill resort destination of India, particularly in those resorts, which cater Indian domestic tourists and honeymoon couples. But the ideal places to stay are the small guesthouses, providing a tranquil atmosphere of the Himalayas for those who are looking for solitude.Manali literally means the 'Home of Manu'. Manu is the mythological character that is supposed to have survived when the world was drowned in Flood. He then came to Manali and recreated human life. Thus, the area of Manali is sacred and Hindus treat the temples over here as pilgrimage.
Hadimba 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. Hadimba 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. In 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 Maiden 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 footprint 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.
Temple Of Manu:
Slippery stones paths lead through the old village houses up to the temple of Manu. Manali is named after the sage Manu who meditated when he came in this area.
Tibetans have a base in Manali too. There is a large modern Tibetan temple to the South of the bus stand and also a small handicrafts centre.
Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa:
This Gompa dominates the Tibetan area around the bottom of the Mall in Manali. The Tibetan refugees built the Gompa in the late 1960's. The Gompa is covered with brightly coloured frescoes and a mid size Buddhist statute. It also carries a list of the martyrs killed in occupation of Tibet of 1987 to 1989.
The old Manali area is located some 3-km from the present day Manali. The old Manali is covered with guesthouses, which look ancient now, and orchards where the livestock move at will.
Rohtang Pass is the highest point, 4,112m, on the Manali-Keylong road, 51-km from Manali town. It provides a wide panoramic view of mountains rising far above clouds, which is a sight truly breath-taking.
On the left bank of the Beas, 5-km from Manali near the village of Prini, is the 'Arjun Gufa' or the cave of Arjuna. In here Arjuna practiced austerities to get Pashupata Ashtra or weapon from Lord Indra.