At 1,737m, just 3km from Kasol, Manikaran is located by the roaring
Parvati River and the waters of the joining Penal River. Manikaran
is a famous pilgrimage place for both Hindus & Sikhs. Hot
sulphur springs bubble almost everywhere in Manikaran and it is
fascinating to watch the locals cook their dhal, rice & vegetables
in pools of hot water. The food is placed in a bag or tied up
in cloth and then dipped in the boiling water.
Hot healing waters
But the hot water has also other purposes. Thousands of people,
both Hindus and Sikhs take a holy dip in the volcanic waters because
of their curative properties. Some locals even claim that the
water is slightly radio-active and can cure certain types of skin
The stout and Honest Sikhs and their Temple
Beside the Ram Temple and a temple for Shiva there is a very big
shrine for the Sikhs, a "Gurudwara". This temple was
renovated by Raja Dilip Singh in 1889 AD. This shrine is called
"The Nanak Devji Gurudwara" after the renowned Sikh
Saint Guru Nanak. And even as a non-Sikh you can get a free community
meal here - a so called "Lunga". This temple is absolutely
worth visiting and can give you a glimpse of the religious world
of Sikhism. The tradition of the Lunga functions in many places
in India as a kind of social security system for the destitute.
The lost earring and the terrible Shesh Nag Demon Snake
Manikaran means "jewel from the ear" in Sanskrit. According
to mythology the ancient Indian God Siva and His Goddess Parvati
remained here for eleven hundred years. Once a giant snake, the
demon "Shesh Nag", stole the ear-rings, or 'manikarna',
from Parvarti while she was taking a bath. She was (as every woman,
ha ha ) very distressed by the loss of her earrings but her search
was in vain. The snake Shesh Nag was too clever. Then Lord Siva,
as ancient Indian Sages often did, got into a state of Divine
Rage. As a result of this Cosmic Anger His Third Eye opened. With
the opening of the Third Eye of the Lord the whole of creation
was shaken in its foundation. In fear of Lord Shiva´s terrible
Third Eye "weapon", the snake "Shesh Nag"
hissed and hissed from his underground Kingdom, the Pathal Lok
and created through this snorting the places where the hot springs
spewed forth. And out of the snakes volcanic nostrils came the
lost ear-rings plus a lot of other precious stones. Now Parvarti
was happy again.
According to Rattan Singh this Myth might actually
indicate that this area is full of precious stones. And he might
be right. When I was taking a bath in the small Kasol
Nallah just 3 km from Manikaran, I found small semiprecious
stones at the river bank.
Ram Temple was built in pyramidal style by Raja Jagat Singh
in the 17th century. An idol of the Indian God Lord Rama
was brought from Ayodhya but was later shifted to Kullu.
And here you see Danish Chistoffer with the Devine Snake,
Shiva´s anger is still powerful. To the right
you can see the ruins of a Government Hotel. It was washed
away by the river 2 years ago.