THE SCENIC HAMLET
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
fr 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
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
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
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
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
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.
HOW TO GET THERE
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
Road: Well connected by road. Linked to 524-km and Chandigarh. Regular
bus and coach services link Kullu to Delhi and Chandigarh