Situated at a height of 1737 meters, Manikaran is 85 Kms away from Manali and is a popular place of pilgrimage for Hindus and Sikhs. It is located on the bank of the Parvati River. Every year, thousands of pilgrims come to take a dip in the holy waters of Manikaran. There are some hot sulphur springs in Manikaran which are believed to cure all kinds of skin diseases. The food (langar) that is served here is cooked over the hot springs.
The legend of Manikaran states that while roaming around, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, once chanced upon a place that was surrounded by mountains and was lush green. Enamoured by the beauty of the place, they decided to spend some time there. It is believed that they actually spent eleven hundred years here.
According to the Sikhs, during third Udasi, his founder Guru Nanak came to this place in 15 Asu 1574 Bikrami with his disciple Bhai Mardana. Mardana felt hungry and they had no food. Nanak sent Mardana to collect food for the langar (the Community Kitchen). Many people donated atta (flour) to make Roti(bread). The one problem was that there was no fire to cook the food. Nanak asked Mardana to lift a stone and he complied and a hot spring appeared. As directed by Nanak, Mardana put the rolled chappatis in the spring to his despair the chappatis sank. Nanak then told him to pray to God saying that if his chappatis float back then he would donate one chappati in His name. When he prayed all the chappatis started floating duly baked. Nanak said that anyone who donates in the name of God, his drowned items float back.
- By Air – Bhuntar is the nearest airport, at a distance of 44 Kms and has regular flights to and from Pathankot, Delhi, Chandigarh, Shimla and Dharamshala. One can take a taxi from Bhuntar to Manikaran.
- By Train – Pathankot and Chandigarh are the nearest rail heads, located at a distance of 150 Kms and 268 Kms respectively. Both stations are well-connected to major cities. One can get a taxi or bus from both the stations.
- By Road – Taxis are available from major cities like Kullu, Chandigarh, Pathankot and Manali.
Winters are very cold and the minimum temperature is as low as -8°C. Summers are pleasant and the temperature is not very high. The ideal time to visit Manikaran is from April – October.
Places to Visit
- Chandrakhani Pass – A great to see natural beauty with colorful flowers blossoming, this beautiful pass is located on the Eastern side of Katrain.
- Khirganga – Khirganaga is also famous for hot springs which is believed to possess lot of medicinal value.
- Malana Village – Located slightly beyond the Chdrakhani Pass is the unique Malan Village, which is famous for the Jamlu Devta Temple and its distinct culture.
- Pulga – This place is ideal for those who like adventure. One needs to trek from Kasol to Pulga (16 Kms) and it is a pretty difficult stretch.
- Shoja – Shoja is located 69 Kms from Manikaran. One can get some panoramic views of the beautiful Kullu valley from here.