One of the most popular festivals of Himachal Pradesh, the Doongri festival lets you enjoy the amazing spectacle that the state of Himachal Pradesh really is! This festival is majorly celebrated in mid-May to mark the beginning of the summer season, which is all about indulging in the colourful vibrations of the environment around.
The Doongri Festival of Himachal Pradesh is also known as the Hadimba Devi Fair. For the unversed, Hadima, many times also referred to as Hidimba was Bhim’s wife and this festival is mainly about her. With the onset of this festival, you can see a great number of tourists flocking the region in search of enjoyment and fun.
History of Doongri Festival Manali
An Interesting Mix of History and Mythology. Doongri Festival is celebrated at Hadimba (Hidimba) Temple. This ancient temple is fundamentally a four-tiered Pagoda with a facade of wooden carvings all around. It was built in 1553 by Maharaja Bhadur Singh and is surrounded by the Cedar forest. The major aim of celebrating this event is the birthday of Hadimba Devi. It is also believed that the temple has been built around a place where Hidimba used to meditate.
The Encounter with Pandavas. According to mythology, Goddess Hadimba was the wife of Bhima and was a hostile demon who used to live in the Dhungri forest with her kith and kin. Once upon a time, the Pandavas ended up in the forest. It was then that the demons caught them and were going to make a meal out of them.
It is believed, that during this time, Hadimba fell in love with Bhima, and subsequently, both of them got married. Together they had a son as well named Ghatotkacha. According to the legends, it is believed that Bhima left with his brothers, continuing his journey whereas Hadimba (Hidimba) stayed back in the forest. And now, it is believed that she protects the travellers who pass through the forest and the mountains.
Major Attractions of Doongri Festival
1. Carnival and Snacks
The whole environment of the festival is very colourful and people can be seen enjoying it with great enthusiasm. One of the highlighting factors of this festival is the delicious snacks available there.
2. The Gods at the Festival
Each and every village has its own deity. And the villagers who come here also carry the idol of their respective Gods in the procession. These Gods are dressed up very beautifully and are made to sit on wooden carved chariots (locally known as raths). Later, they are unveiled and then are paraded around for the people to see.
3. Traditional Dance
Giving a tribute to the Demon Goddess Hadimba, local people can be seen performing traditional dances as well as various rituals to bestow upon the goddess their love and devotion.
4. Musical and Trumpet Performances at the Festival
The traditional musical performance in the chorus will introduce you to real Himachali music. Such cultural expansion can woo you to stay for a little longer here. Apart from musical performances, trumpet players also grace the whole procession with their melodious performances.
How to Reach Manali
Manali is known as one of the top tourist destinations of Himachal and attracts a great crowd on an annual basis. It is located at a distance of 531, 2,706, 1,943, 2,048 km from Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Kolkata respectively. And if you are planning a trip to Manali then here are some ways via you which you can do so.
By Air. The nearest airport is the Kullu Manali Airport (KUU) which is located at Bhuntar 50 km away from Manali. Often the Bhuntar Airport is considered quite a challenging airport for pilots because of its single runway. Furthermore, due to its presence in the valleys, landing flights here is no less than a task.
After you deboard your flight, you will need to further hire a bus or a taxi to cover the remaining distance of around 50-60 km.
From Delhi - Board Air India flights from Indira Gandhi International Airport. The airfares start from Rs.4,000
From Lucknow - Board IndiGo, Air India, Go Air flights from Lucknow Airport via New Delhi and Chandigarh. The airfares start from Rs.6,000 - Rs.7,000
Bengaluru - Board IndiGo, Air India flights from Bengaluru Airport via New Delhi and Chandigarh stopover. The airfares start from Rs.9,000-Rs.10,000
Ahmedabad - Board Air India, Vistara, IndiGo flights from via New Delhi and Chandigarh stopover. The airfares start from Rs.8,000
By Rail. Manali doesn’t have its own railway station. The best option to reach here by train would be Joginder Nagar Railway Station. It is located at an approximate distance of 140-160 km from Manali and comes under the Firozpur Railway Division of the Northern Railway Zone. However, the overall connectivity to this train station from others is not that great. Thus, if possible, it is recommended to travel here by road or flights. Chandigarh and Ambala are some other options to consider if you cannot avoid travelling by train.
By Road. Depending upon your geographical location, planning a trip to Manali via road is a great option. Traversing the roads while seeing the natural vistas is altogether a great experience for anyone. Manali is fairly well connected with other Indian cities from Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh courtesy its well-maintained road networks.