Volcanic dinner
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 diseases.

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.

This 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, Shesh Nag.

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.

Bridge over troubled water
Eva from Denmark together with her Indian sisters.


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