Hadimba Devi Temple, Himachal Pradesh, India

This much-revered wood-and-stone mandir, constructed in 1553, stands in a clearing in the cedar forest about 2km west of central Manali. Pilgrims come from across India to honour Hadimba, the demon wife of the Pandava Bhima from the Mahabharata. The temple’s wooden doorway, under a three-tier pagoda-style roof, is richly carved with figures of gods, animals and dancers; antlers and ibex horns adorn the outside walls.

Inside is a large sacrificial stone where grisly animal slaughterings have traditionally taken place during the three-day Dhungri Mela in May. Gatothkach, the warrior son of Hadimba and Bhima, is worshipped in the form of a sacred tree near the temple.

Visit India , Epic India Route © Monika Newbound

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