Manali

Hidimba Devi Temple

Hidimba Devi Temple, also known as Dungri Temple, is the first Hindu temple that we have experienced. The three tiered pagoda dates back to 1533 and is dedicated to the goddess Hidimba, who was the wife of Bhimba in the ancient Indian epic, the Mahabharata. Incidentally, just to acknowledge just how ancient this history is, the Mahabharata's origins were probably from the 8th and 9th century BC, and the text reached its final form in the 4th century. 

The temple was built over a large rock that protrudes from the earth and the interior of the temple is completely asymmetrical, with an undulating mud floor. Worshippers crouch under the massive rock, in a small nook, which houses a block of stone carved with the footprints of the goddess and a brass sculpture of the deity's visage, which is only three inches tall.

 

Photos by Ben Journee

 

Hidimba Devi Temple

Hidimba Devi Temple

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Goat and Ibex skulls adorn the exterior of the temple

Goat and Ibex skulls adorn the exterior of the temple

It was an incredibly interesting place for us to visit. It couldn't have been more different to the grand cathedrals, chapels and indeed, buddhist temples, that we're familiar with. It was earthy, and organic in form. And the dampness multiplied this. It felt historical and was incredibly humble in both appearance and effect, even in spite of the ornate carvings and many goat and ibex skulls that adorn the exterior walls. It was a quiet place, with fewer tourists than devotees coming to pray. And situated in the middle of Dungiri forest, full of tall deodar cedar trees, which are native to the Himalayas, it was a fascinating and beautiful moment from our time in Manali.

 

A woman stands at the entrance

A woman stands at the entrance

Detail of pillar carvings and young girl at the temple entrance 

Detail of pillar carvings and young girl at the temple entrance 

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Children walking toward the temple

Children walking toward the temple

Looking back toward Hidimba Devi

Looking back toward Hidimba Devi

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Manali

Manali, in many ways, was a stop over point for us, on our journey north into the Himalayas. We've been here three days, after a rather harrowing 10 hour bus ride, and have found the town rather sleepy. It's the cleanest place we've seen by far, and our guesthouse is surrounded by pretty and peaceful gardens which we've really enjoyed. The view of the mountains from our balcony is pretty breathtaking too.

We've wandered around the main town, and Old Manali, where we found the regular 'traveller types' and clothing stores upon clothing stores selling the appropriate garb for them. Most of the cafes and restaurants have been incredibly quiet, and indeed, the massive and plentiful hotels are similarly soundless.

 

Photos by Ben and Mikayla Journee | All photos in this post were shot and edited on the iPhone

 

Our Guesthouse in Log Huts area, Manali

Our Guesthouse in Log Huts area, Manali

View of the mountains from our balcony

View of the mountains from our balcony

The river that runs alongside Old Manali

The river that runs alongside Old Manali

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Ben sitting at The Lazy Dog lounge

Ben sitting at The Lazy Dog lounge

The Himalayan Nyinmapa Buddhist Temple is nestled in the middle of the Tibetan area of Manali. It is, and felt like, a real functioning temple. It was pleasant walking around, people moved slowly, using the space as they needed and wanted, the colours were beautiful, and it felt peaceful and incredibly relaxed. 

Nyinmapa Buddhist Temple complex

Nyinmapa Buddhist Temple complex

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"om mani padme hum" - this mantra is associated with the bodhisattva of compassion, and released when spinning prayer wheels

"om mani padme hum" - this mantra is associated with the bodhisattva of compassion, and released when spinning prayer wheels

A young, and beautiful, boy spinning a large prayer wheel inside a temple

A young, and beautiful, boy spinning a large prayer wheel inside a temple

Others spinning the large prayer wheel

Others spinning the large prayer wheel

Mikayla walking in front of the Nyinmapa temple - inside is a two story golden statue of Buddha

Mikayla walking in front of the Nyinmapa temple - inside is a two story golden statue of Buddha

Mikayla spinning the prayer wheels

Mikayla spinning the prayer wheels

Tibetan prayer flags

Tibetan prayer flags

Relaxed would definitely be the way to describe our time in Manali. We begin our journey to Leh on Saturday morning, a twenty hour (minimum) bus ride, a camp site for the night, and a road that takes us to the height of Everest Base Camp at its most extreme...

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