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Located at the Parvati Valley along the banks of river Parvati in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh in India, Manikaran is a famous pilgrimage place at an altitude of 1760 meters. It is located at a distance of about 40 km from Bhuntar. This small town is frequently visited by the tourists who are on their way to Manali. Manikaran is famous for its gurudwara and hot springs. There is also an experimental geothermal energy plant at Manikaran.
I had a brief stopover at Manikaran while returning from Manali during summer vacation and I was completely enchanted by the beautiful landscapes enroute. You can find many hippies camping along the river reveling in the beauty of nature.
Manikaran is frequented by Hindus and Sikhs alike. According to ancient Hindu scriptures, Manu recreated human life at this place after the flood and that is the reason for its religious importance. It has beautiful temples of Lord Rama and Lord Shiva. Manikaran also has a famous gurudwara making it a revered place for Sikhs. Its beautiful location, scenic beauty, hot-water springs and religious shrines makes it quite popular among the tourists.
The hot water springs of Manikaran have healing powers. The water is extremely hot and is considered auspicious. People take a dip at the hot water springs of Manikaran to get the benefit of its curative powers.
Manikaran is said to be a complete pilgrimage in itself. It is said that one need not visit Kashi (the most auspicious place) after visiting Manikaran.
The importance of Manikaran can be deduced from the fact that devtas (demigods) of Kullu valley pay regular visit to this place on specified dates.
According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Parvati dropped one of her earrings in the valley while taking a stroll with Lord Shiva. Shesha Nag (the Serpent deity) got hold of the earring and vanished into the Earth along with it. This angered Lord Shiva and he performed Tandava which scared Shesha Nag and he shot the earring up throught the water to escape Shiva’s wrath. The local people say that jewels used to be thrown up in the hot waters of Manikaran till the 1905 earthquake.
The place is considered sacred by the Sikhs as Guru Nanak Dev ji, the first Sikh Guru came to Manikaran in 1574 along with Bhai Mardana, his staunch follower. Bhai Mardana was hungry and so he was sent by Guru Nanak to collect food to cook langar. He came back with flour but there was no fire to cook the food. Guru Nanak asked Mardana to lift a stone and on doing so, a hot spring appeared underneath. Bhai Mardana rolled chapattis and put it in the spring as per Guru Nanak’s instructions but they kept sinking. Guru Nanak asked Bhai Mardana to pray saying that if the chapattis don’t sink then he would donate one chapatti in his name. When Bhai Mardana sincerely prayed then all the chapattis started floating and they were duly baked. Guru Nanak said that whosoever will donate at this place in the name of God, his drowned items will float back.
Yet another legend tells the story of Goddess Parvati’s lost mani at this place. Lord Shiva became furious when he was unable to retrieve the lost mani and started performing tandava. Fearing grave consequences, the demi gods pleaded to Shesha Nag to pacify Lord Shiva. Shesh Nag hissed with a thunder giving rise to a fountain of boiling water which resulted in the emergence of precious gems and the lost mani at Goddess Parvati’s feet. The place derives its name from this legend.
Temples at Manikaran
Lord Ram Chandra Temple
The temple was constructed by Raja Jagat Singh during the 17th century. It is located about 35 km from Kullu at an altitude of 1756 m.
Lord Shiva Temple
This hugely revered temple belongs to Lord Shiva. An earthquake in 1905 caused damage to the temple and it was slightly tilted.
Hot water springs
Manikaran is famous for its hot water springs which contain no sulphur. Food is cooked in these springs. Bathing in these springs is known to act as a balm for arthritis. Natives claim that even before 1905, these hot water springs, sprang with full force, making 11-14 feet high fountain. The temperature of different springs at Manikaran varies between 64 to 80 °C.
Gurdwara Manikaran Sahib, Himachal Pradesh, India
© 2018 Shaloo Walia
Shaloo Walia (author) from India on June 20, 2018:
@FlourishAnyway I am glad you liked it
FlourishAnyway from USA on June 20, 2018:
Although I will likely never be able to visit, I enjoyed reading about this enchanting place. Thank you for sharing it.
Shaloo Walia (author) from India on June 01, 2018:
Thank you Nell Rose!!
Nell Rose from England on June 01, 2018:
How lovely! I really enjoyed reading this thanks
Shaloo Walia (author) from India on May 01, 2018:
manatita44 from london on April 30, 2018:
Wonderful tales and beautiful temples. Guru Nanak Dev Ji was a God-intoxicated soul.
Yes, hot springs are said to be quite healing.
Shaloo Walia (author) from India on April 29, 2018:
Thanks Hari! It's a beautiful place worth visiting.
Hari Prasad S from Bangalore on April 29, 2018:
Now i am going to tag this in maps for my 'Must visit' list.
great write shaloo.