High up under the snowy peaks, of the
Parvati Valley is situated
the hot springs at Manikaran. The water from the steaming springs is noted
for its healing properties. The springs in the area are hot enough to boil
rice in it. Manikaran, a place of pilgrimage for Hindus and Sikhs, has a
temple and a gurudwara. It is also a good spot for trout fishing.
Sri Ramchandra temple is located in the center of the town and one can have a very good look in and around this temple. The Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurudwara provides some extraordinary sights. One can enjoy a dip in the hot waters from the springs. There are altogether three baths, one is located under the Gurudwara itself and the other two are privately owned and located in guesthouses.
THE LEGEND OF MANIKARAN
While wandering of in the forests of the Himalayan ranges Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati came across a place now called Manikaran. The mountain-locked area, the lush green patches and the forests charmed them and they decided to stay there for sometime.
For as long as eleven hundred years they remained at this place. At one time, when the Lord was relaxing with the Goddess, in the beautiful waters of a stream running by the side, the 'MANI' (Jewel) in an earring of the goddess dropped somewhere.
Parvati was much distressed and there was a thorough search but efforts to find out the jewel failed. Lastly, the Lord ordered his attendants, to trace out the jewel, wherever it may be. That was also unsuccessful. Lord Shiva got enraged, as a result of which his third eye opened. With the opening of the third eye of the Lord Shiva, a very ominous event, there was a great commotionall over the universe. The entire universe was very upset and apprehended a great calamity.
'Shesh Nag', the serpent god, was approached. In order to subside the anger of Lord Shiva, Shesh Nag hissed and hissed and there was a flow of boiling water, which passed over the area and out came a number of precious stones of the type which were lost. Lord Shiva was pacified. The water still continues to be hot. Before the earthquake of 1905, which affected this area also, it is said, that this boiling water used to rise, to about ten-feet high.
The visiting deities are given a ceremonial bath. The second chapter of 'Brahm Puran' recites the story of Manikaran as given above. The place is described as one of hot and cold waters and the divine pair had repaired there for water sports known as 'Jal-Krida'. Fragrant and attractive flowers graced the place and by a bath at the 'Sangam' one is eternally blessed. The Brahm-Puran enjoins the pilgrims pass a night awake at Manikaran and do puja or 'Raat-Jagran'.
Thereby the pilgrims obtain the full virtue of the world. The story of the loss of the jewel and the frantic search and ultimate recovery is vividly described. The tract is Lord Shiva's own and a pilgrimage at this place is adequate and one need not visit Kashi and other places of pilgrimage.
Lord Ramchandra Temple: There are several temples in the Mani Karan village. The most important is that of Lord Ramchandra. The Pandas or priests of the village claim that the idol of Rama was brought from Ayodhya and installed in this temple by the Raja of Kulu but this lacks a historic confirmation. There was also an idol of Lakshman the younger brother of Lord Rama Chandra, which has now disappeared. On the left hand side of the Lord is the idol of Goddess Sita. The temple is very old and on one of the stones in its wall, the history of the temple is written which is not legible.
Temple of Lord Shiva: There is another very old temple of Lord Shiva, which got tilted during the earthquake of 1905. The great prestige with which Manikaran is held is seen by the fact that the Devatas of Kulu valley pay regular visits to Manikaran. The followers of the individual deities at different places are carried ceremoniously in a procession to Manikaran on specified auspicious days.
Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurudwara: The place is also held sacred by the Sikhs. The Janam Sakhi or the 'Twarikh Guru Khalsa' by Giani Gian Singh mentions about the visit of Guru Nanak Dev to this place. It has been mentioned that accompanied by his disciple Bhai Mardana, the Guru reached Jwalamukhi temple after visiting Kalanaur, Gurdaspur, Dasuya, Triloknath, Palampur and Kangra. The Guru then proceeded towards Mandi and after visiting Chamba and Kulu, he came to Bijli Mahadev. After preaching at all these places Guru Nanak Dev came to Mani Karan. The Janam Sakhi or the "Autobiography of Bhai Mardana" mentions the miracles did by the Guru. The Guru came to Mani Karan along with his Five 'Piaras' or followers.
Hot Springs: By taking bath here and by drinking water of this place, people go to Heaven, this is said of the Manikaran tract since the times immemorial. It is just like 'Kashi Kshetra' and there is no doubt about it. On examination it is understood that the Manikaran hot spring is said to have got Uranium and other radio active minerals.
Harinder Mountain & Parvati River: On the northern side, there is a mountain, which is named as Harinder. Merely a look at this mountain will make a person free from all evils and on the south is the Parvati River.
Kulant Pith: Out of all sectors 'Piths' of the country, this sector, which is called 'Kulant Pith', is the superior most. Here, the most sacred place of pilgrimage is Manikaran, and in it the 'Vishnu Kund' is the purest of all. Lord Shankara was mightily pleased to stay here and this is absolutely true. No other tank in the world, could be more pure than these high rising tanks. Even a drop of water from the tanks will make one free of all evils. Narad, on account of the influence of the Shankara's eye, said that this sacred place, causes the disappearance of anger and evils. One who eats the food cooked in this boiling water goes to the Vishnu Lok.
Air: Linked by air to Chandigarh and Delhi. The
airport at Bhuntar is 10-km from the town.
Rail: Nearest railheads are Pathankot, 285-km and more conveniently Chandigarh, 258-km.
Road: Well connected by road. Linked to 524-km and Chandigarh. Regular bus and coach services link Kullu to Delhi and Chandigarh.
Hotel Parvati, Manikaran
Apple Valley Resorts, Kullu
Brijeshwar Guest House, Kullu
Ambassador Resorts, Manali
Ambika Resorts, Manali