Archive for August, 2013

Manali: Arjun Gufa & Shabari Temple

Posted: August 3, 2013 by randommuzings in India
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Arjun Gufa is the cave where Arjun is believed to have meditated for the weapon of Lord Indra. The cave is situated near Prini village, 4 km towards Naggar from Manali. The trek up and coming down to the road took me about 2 hours. The cave is supposed to have been large enough to have housed 1000 people at a time, however, about 15 years ago there was a massive landslide one night and the entrance to the cave has been blocked by rocks. There_DSC0504 was a saint who had occupied the cave with his servant (and other co-inhabitants like jaguars etc) but after the landslide he built a small cottage next to it where his servant still resides (the saint is no more). I could not fathom how the servant still managed his livelihood there but he survives and he told me they follow strict rules of no non-veg or drinks etc lest god’s fury befalls upon them again in the form of landslides etc. The government is in discussion to take some steps to unblock the cave’s entrance again.

Climbing the steps from the road you reach Shabari or Sabari Temple. It is a beautiful wooden structure temple almost 200 yrs old, surrounded by huge trees. Surprisingly very little is known about the Temple and even online I could not find any written material on it.

What i did_DSC0506 learn from the locals is that each year there is a lottery at the temple and the winner of the lottery gets to maintain the temple’s surrounding farms full of apple, apricot and walnut trees for a year and keep the money from the annual crop sale. There are other awards as well but this is the most coveted one as if managed properly the income from the farm can be colossal, to the range of INR 10 lakhs. Also we chanced to see a local wedding at the temple where everyone including the bride and groom had worn sport shoes with their traditional dresses 🙂

Manali: Manu Temple

Posted: August 2, 2013 by randommuzings in India
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_DSC0029Manali houses perhaps the only temple dedicated to the Hindu sage Manu in India. Manali gets its name from him. It is a simple wooden structure and is not know when by whom it was constructed. Thus today Hadimba Temple is more important than Manu Temple.

The Legend of Manu:

As per Indian mythology Manu was the first king who authored the Sanskrit code of law Manu-smriti that laid the foundations of the Hindu laws. As the legend goes, Manu (the Hindu version of Noah) saved the Vedas and the seven sages from the great inundation and after the great flood he landed at Manali, one of the highest points on earth. He then lived and meditated here.

Manali: Hadimba Temple

Posted: August 2, 2013 by randommuzings in India
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DSC06387Hadimba Temple or Dhungiri temple in Manali is a four story wooden temple is located in the Dhungiri forest. It was erected in 1553 dedicated to Goddess Hadimba and adjacent to it is a small open shrine dedica_DSC0138ted to Ghototkchh. The intricately carved pagoda type 2.5 m tall 4-tiered roofing wooden temple was built by Raja Bahadur Singh (a Kullu king) and thereby Hadimba came to be regarded as the patron goddess of the Kullu kings. There is no enshrined idol, only a foot-print on a stone representing Hadimba Devi. Goats are sacrificed to them both each year during Dussehra festival (‘Ghor Pooja’) to keep them appeased and the horns of the goats adorn the outer temple walls. The wood carvings are of animals, birds and also goddess Durga and seemed to be influenced by Indo-Persian art.


Hadimba was a ‘Rakshashi’ in the Mahabharat whose brother Hadimb ruled this area of the Himalayas. In their wanderings the Pandavas, along with their mother, came to the territory of Hadimb Rakshash. Bhima fell in love with Hadimba and married her  after killing her 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  ‘Ghototkachh’. Till Ghototkachh was a minor, Hadimba looked after her country. She retired to Dhungri f_DSC0134or meditation, when her son Ghototkachh took over the country. Hadimba acquired supernatural powers owing to ‘tapashya’ and became to be worshiped as Devi.


Posted: August 1, 2013 by randommuzings in India
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DSC06372Manali or “Manu-Alaya” iterally means “the abode of Manu” and was developed as a hill station only in 1990s after terrorist infiltration brought tourism in Kashmir to a standstill. Its popularity today is hardly surprising as it is the living embodiment of the first painting everyone draws: verdant greenery, mountains in the background and a flowing river. Thus in the busy season in May-June, the 2500 hotels of Manali are completely full.

I fell in love with Manali the first time I had come here as a child. The flowing river Beas accompanying us almost the entire way once the mountains begin and the deafening sound of flowing water overpowering every other sound throughout our stay at Manali (Of course I mostly stay next to the river).  Drawn to the river, you will dip your feet (or hands) in the water but the cold will bite down to your bones and the massive force will try and drag you along. Mesmerized you withdraw your feet, just watch and hear it gush- the river in its purest and most powerful form._DSC0042

Besides the serene atmosphere, Manali has a lot to offer namely:

  1. Local Sights: main ones include Manu Temple, Hadimba Temple, Monastery and numerous nature parks
  2. Trekking: A number of trekking routes available depending on the time at hand.
  3. Shopping: Mall road and Old Manali. Most of the jackets are manufactured here and you can place an order and have it ready within a day.
  4. ADSC06421dventure Sports (in Solang Valley): Skiing (in winters), paragliding, rafting, mountain biking, mountain climbing, river crossing, rappelling
  5. Other Tourist Activities: spa, getting pictures clicked in Himanchali dress, with furry rabbits or on a yak

Manali also has some amazing coffee shops and restaurants. My favorite among them are: Dylan’s Coffee House and Johnson Restaurant

My favorite place to stay: Purnima Guest House, Old Manali