Legend of the Hidimba Temple (Built in 1553)

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The Hidimba Temple is located in Manali, famous resort town in Himachal Pradesh. This ancient temple situated at the foot of the Himalayas, in a forest of cedar trees is said to have been built in the year 1553.




This is probably the sight you would see as you walked through the forest flanked by huge deciduous trees. A three-tiered structure that almost looks like a house. The deity is believed to be a part of a huge rock cut out of the ground around which this structure was built.


The most surprising feature of the temple or what believers could call the most reassuring feature of the temple is the fact that inside the temple the imprint of the feet of the Godess carved on a block of stone are worshipped and if you go to Google Satellite and zoom into the area where the temple is located, you can clearly see the imprint of a giant foot spanning across the valley in the area near the temple. It’s thumb starts from where Google shows the Manali Heights hotel to be located and the rest of the foot goes all the way down the slope.” – Wikipedia


Hidimba Devi, is a character from the great epic Mahabharatha. Who was she? The mother of Gatothkacha (The Giant Asura – son of Bhima) and devoted wife to Bhima ( one of the five Pandavas, known for his extreme strength in combat.)


The Pandavas along with their mother, Kunti Devi  and wife Draupadi were wandering through the forests during course of the exile. Having arrived at this very forest the women in the group felt very tired and decided to halt for the night. Having climbed one of the huge deodars, Bhima looked around and decided it was safe enough for them to spend the night there.

As was common – the brothers took turns at keeping vigil while the others slept. When it was Bhima’s turn to keep watch – he spotted a very attractive woman walking towards him in the middle of the night. While the gallant Pandava asked her if she required any help, the beautiful woman begged him no end to leave the place immediately, for fear of their safety.

Not being one to give in to fear – Bhima asked her to explain herself. The young woman Hidimba told him the truth ” I am a man-eating Rakshasi (demon) staying with my brother. My brother has decided to kill you all this night and devour you. Please do go away as soon as possible. I have come in guise of a mortal to warn you”.

The courageous Pandava replied ” Fair maiden, thank you for having warned us. But I assure you, it your brother who has to be warned against us and not the other way around. I refuse to disturb my tired mother and brothers as they sleep so peacefully in order to humor your brother”

By this time Hidimba’s brother had tracked her down, and was furious that she had sought to warn the humans, mere mortals. Needless to say – a huge battle ensued. Trees were uprooted, violence galore as man and demon met face to face.

Trees  of this size are believed to have been uprooted during the battle.
Trees of this size are believed to have been uprooted during the battle.

Finally Bhima overpowered the Asura and killed him. The gentle Hidimba, having fallen in love with the strong and brave Bhima asked him to marry her. Bhima agreed, on the one condition that he will stay with her until a son is born to her after which he will join his brothers to complete the 13-year exile. The son – who was born later on was the gigantic and gentle Gatothkacha. His is another story to be told later. Thus ends the legend of the Hidimba Devi temple.


Sculptures and carving show the level of intricacy in detail even as far back as the mid 1500’s.

The carvings are believed to be 400 years old!
The carvings are believed to be 400 years old!


While some people just pray to the Godess as the “Hill Godess” a legend and a story woven into the history always makes it more memorable – I think. I leave you now, with a final view of the temple.





Flying high, feeling free

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Flying high in the bright blue sky

I took this picture at Pattaya, at the beach where one can go para-sailing. Though the parachutes looked quite dirty up close – the background of the clear skies, bright sunlight and the parachute puffed out to its full glory – made a wonderful picture.


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I took this picture through a glass wall, when I visited a zoo in Thailand. I was lucky not to get a flash reflected through the glass.

The contrast of the murky green water, pale rocks at the side, the glistening orange coat of the tiger, and its graceful swimming  – all rolled into one – it seemed like the setting fell into place naturally.  I decided to take a picture – glass separating me and the animal or not!



The Waiting hall – Small, medium and Large

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The concept of a ” Thinnai” was a very important one in the architecture of Tamil Nadu when pace of life was slower and space allotted was larger. All houses were built with a “Thinnai” – something like a sit-out at the entrance of the house.

The  “Thinnai” had its own advantages –

Enclosed by pillars in some places, a small mud wall in others, or just a small difference in height characterises the “Thinnai”. An average one is depicted here.

1. It filtered out unwanted guests. 
(Usually the host would come out and greet you, probably sit there with you have a long chat, give you some refreshments and see you off. You would not have realised that you actually had not set foot INSIDE his house. )

The “small” Thinnai with a grinding stone – used to be a normal sight in many village till recently.

2. Many a time – the lady of the house, would sit there, with some petty jobs on her list of things to do (cleaning vegetables,folding clothes, grinding her cooking ingredients) , maybe with her child/children playing in the same area. It gave her the security of staying at home, and a chance to directly see what was going on with the outside world. Well if a neighbour drops in with some hot gossip – she need not have budged a muscle, or missed out on her chores.

3. It was the seat of the “accountant” in a typical entrepreneur’s house. Functioning as an office and still with a quasi-link to his boss’ family matters, the accountant with his “kannakku pillai’s” (accountant) table would sit here, hunched up, trying to tally his daily accounts or coax his boss to make a wise investment.

The “Kannakku Pillai’s” table

Whatever the size of the “Thinnai” – it was an important part of any house . With multi-purpose fuctions that fulfilled personal needs, social get togethers, a hang out spot, and sometimes even a free stop-over for a weary traveller. (Yes, it was quite normal to open your door in the morning to find a stranger asleep on your porch! And what was more surprising is that – very often he would be given some refreshments and some kind words before he set off again)

Who would find it difficult to rest in this vast expanse of a make-shift accomodation. Spread a towel, and your bag for a head-rest, and you are ready to rest your tired self!

Well, with land becoming more expensive and no one really having the time to stop and chat – the Thinnai was soon replaced. People started extending the house till the sit-out so as to gain more place. A beautiful memory long forgotten!

Stonehenges in South India?

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Captured from a moving bus on my previous trip, I would have almost missed this awesome sight had my friend not pointed them out to me. For from a distance we saw these four vertical rocks right atop a hill.

Just gearing up for the view
Trying to take a shot from a moving bus is not easy
Trying to zoom in under better light conditions

A file photograph of the Stonehenge in Britain

The stonehenges at Great Britain

And the one that I saw on my trip

A naturally formed Stonehenge?

I found this rather similar. An amazing coincidence – I guess!

Life in India – VI

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IMAGES FROM A MOVING TRAINThe Journey back to the city

During my journey back, I did not want to limit myself to the windows and the air-conditioned coupe. Instead I thought it would be nice to get some pictures in natural light, and was up as early as 6am to see how I could fare with my camera and the moving train. The morning mist proved spoilsport for some pictures, but was awesome when you learn to look at life without the “Fotoapparat” . This time the scenery was different, since we were getting back to the city. More buildings, bridges,and people in place of lakes, hills and fields. Nevertheless – it always is interesting to capture some moments and make them memories. 

All rows converging in the mist
Trees huddling together in the mist
Fields behind the gravel
Black bed of gravel against white bed of mist
Bridge under construction
Construction materials or scrap?
The train whizzing past - and the road just off the tracks

Parallel Tracks…

Strangers become Friends - (These people were up early waiting for their respective trains)
Past hills
And huts...
And pets in the huts - a rooster, cow and calf
Past temples...
And brightly colored houses
Traffic at railway gate...
Just clicked it because it seemed an interesting structure - I do not know what this is!
The sun rises...
We slow down a bit...
Time for a cuppa! Coffee - The elixir of life for many a passenger
By the time the sun was up... we were nearing our destination
Signaled by the arrival of modern architecture right next to the humble hut...

Vintage car rally…

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While going on a long drive – I chanced upon these cars returning from a Vintage car show held at Pondicherry. I know nothing of their make / brand / details – but still they were appealing enough for a quick click.

Vintage car 1
Vintage car 2
Vintage car 3
Vintage car 4
Vintage car 5
and finally Vintage car # 6

I missed out on a few more interesting cars – vintage or not, they were quite fast 🙂 !