The “Mani” of Himachal Pradesh
Manikaran is located in the Parvati Valley in the state of Himachal Pradesh in the Kullu district. It is a small town that lies on the banks of the Parvati River and is located at a distance of around 35 km from Kullu and attracts a large number of tourists every year due to its pilgrim centers for Hindus and Sikhs. The town has several temples of Rama, Krishna and Vishnu, and a gurudwara. The place also attracts tourists because of its hot springs and beautiful scenery. The main attractions of the place are the Lord Ram Chandra Temple; constructed by Raja Jagat Singh at an altitude of 1756m, the hot springs, the temperature of the different springs are 64⁰C to 80⁰C, the Temple of Lord Shiva, which was slightly damaged in the earthquake of 1905, Sri Guru Nanak Devji Gurudwara, which provides free food and accommodation for those who go there for shelter, the Parvati River, on the banks of which the town is situated that adds to its picturesque view, and the Harinder Mountains, which are a range of snow-capped mountains that provide a breathtaking view. The Hindus believe that Manu had created the first form of human life in Manikarna after a flood and thus the place is considered to be sacred by them, whereas Sikhs believe that the gurudwara was visited by their first guru and therefore the place is considered to be sacred by them.
Manikaran is most popular for its hot springs. People from all over India and beyond come to take a dip in these springs as it is believed that these have the power to heal diseases as well as cure muscle pains. These springs are extremely hot and the people can even cook rice in these springs. The people from the gurudwara at Manikaran keep the cooked food in pots and immerse it in these springs. Two legends are believed by the people about these springs. According to the Hindu belief, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati had spent eleven hundred years in the town of Manikaran and one day while strolling near the river, Goddess Parvati had dropped a precious stone which then could not be found, so Shiva became extremely angry and he opened his third eye, which led to certain events that caused disturbances in the universe. Sheshnag, the serpent god, was asked to calm Shiva down and so he gave rise to a flow of boiling water which led to the emergence of precious stones of the same kind that Goddess Parvati had lost. Thus these springs are considered to be sacred by the Hindus. According to the Sikh belief, Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, came to visit this place with Mardana, his disciple. He then asked Mardana to get food for the community kitchen, however, there was no fire to cook the food and so Guru Nanak asked him to lift a stone from where the hot springs started flowing, in which they cooked the food for the community kitchen.
Top things do in Manikaran
How to reach
Manikaran does not have an airport or a railway station of its own. There is however local transport available from one town to the other.
How to Reach by Flight
Manikaran does not have an airport of its own. The nearest airport is the Bhuntar Airport, located at a distance of around 34 km. Tourists can avail of buses that are available from the Bhuntar bus stop or avail the cab services from Bhuntar to reach Manikaran. The nearest airport to Bhuntar is the Chandigarh airport, people can also reach Chandigarh airport and then avail of a bus or book a cab to Manikaran.
How to Reach by Train
Manikaran does not have a railway station of its own. The nearest is the Pathankot Railway Station, which is located at a distance of around 300 km. The station has frequent trains like Jammu Mail, Ravi Express and Dauladhar Express. Tourists can take buses or book a cab to reach Manikaran from Pathankot. However, the best way is to reach Bhuntar via bus or can from Pathankot and then taking a local bus to Manikaran.
How to Reach by Bus
Manikaran is not well connected by bus routes to nearby major cities, however, Bhuntar has local as well as private buses that help people to reach Manikaran. Bhuntar is also connected by buses to nearby major cities like Shimla, Delhi, Pathankot, and Chandigarh.
How to Reach by Road
There are taxi services available and people can also take their cars for a trip to Manikaran.
How to travel within
Some taxis are available to go from one place of the area to the other.
Manikaran does not offer a lot of food options. Certain restaurants offer Himachali cuisine, which includes chapatis, dal, vegetable gravy, and curd, and most of the meal in this region is served with pickles. Tourists can try out the food at the lungars of the temples or the gurudwaras. The gurudwara provides free food to its visitors. These lungars are hygienic and the food is also very tasty.
The place does not offer a lot of options for shopping; however, some shops sell Himalayan handicrafts and woolen clothes. Since it is a sacred place so the shops near the temple generally sell holy items and beautiful images of gods that people can take back home.
Day 1- After reaching the Bhuntar Airport, leave for Manikaran. After having breakfast, leave for the temples and the gurudwara ad the hot springs.