Manimahesh

Manimahesh is in the south-eastern edge of Chamba District. It is situated close to the Chamba-Kullu border. This place is approximately 6 km south of Dancho and 6 km north-west of Bajoli. Manimahesh is a perfect trekking location. Manimahesh Lake lies 4800 meters over the sea level. Therefore, it’s a high altitude Lake in Himachal Pradesh.

The Manimahesh Kailash Peak, also called as Chamba Kailash, which appears towering high over the Manimahesh Lake, is believed to be the home of Lord Shiva. The peak is 26 kilometres (16 mi) from Bharmour in the Budhil valley. It’s one of the main pilgrimage locations in Himachal Pradesh. Devotees of Lord Shiva visit Manimahesh Kailash during Shivaratri and also other festivals related to Lord Shiva to obtain the blessings of their beloved Lord. They strongly believe that a dip into the Lake would bring in peace and wash all their past sins.

In the month of August/September the annual famous JATRA of Manimahesh commences from Laxmi-Narayana Temple in Chamba. The CHHARI is taken to the sacred lake of Manimahesh, which is one of the chief tirthas in the district. It is known as the ‘Manimahesh Yatra’. The Government of Himachal Pradesh has declared it as a state-level pilgrimage.

Legends

According to one popular legend, it is believed that Lord Shiva created Manimahesh after he married Goddess Parvati, who is worshipped as Mata Girja.

A legend in which Lord Shiva himself is tricked is narrated. According to this narration linked to Dhancho where pilgrims spend a night on their way to Manimahesh Lake, Lord Shiva, pleased with the devotion of one his ardent devotee Bhasmasur (an asura or demon) bestowed a boon, which gave powers to Bhasmasur under which Bhasmasur touching any one would reduce that person in to ashes. Bhasmasur wanted to try this boon on Shiva himself. He, therefore, followed Shiva to touch him and get rid of him. However, Shiva managed to escape and enter into the waterfall at Dhancho and take shelter in a cave behind the rolling waters of the fall. Bhasmasur could not get through the waterfall. Then, Lord Vishnu intervened and killed Bhasamasur. Since then the fall is considered holy

According to another legend, Lord Shiva performed penance for several hundred years here. The water cascades sprang out from his matted hair and took the form of the lake. The lake as formed appears like a saucer. It has two distinct parts. The larger part has icy cold water, called the ‘Shiv Karotri’ (the bathing place of Lord Shiva). The smaller part of the lake, which is hidden by the bushes, has lukewarm water and is called ‘Gauri Kund’, the bathing place of Parvati, Shiva’s consort. Thus, men and women bathe in different parts of the lake. According to rites, the dip (called locally as naun) in the lake is taken four times, if permitted or otherwise only once.

How To Reach

By Train

Nearest Railway Station is Pathankot (Punjab)

By Air

Nearest airport is at Gaggal in Kangra (170 kms from Chamba)

By Road

Manimahesh is From Chamba (78 kms away) by road. Buses, taxis and coaches regularly plying from Chandigarh and Delhi. Dalhousie is 563 km from Delhi and 353 km from Chandigarh.

Manimahesh is approached from three routes. Pilgrims from Lahaul and Spiti pass through Kugti pass. Pilgrims from Kangra and Mandi take the Karwarsi pass or Jalsu pass via Tyari village, near Holi in Bharmour. The easiest and popular route is from Chamba via Bharmour.

Best Time To Visit

Best time to visit is from May to November. In winter, the temperature gets quite low and heavy woollens are required. In summer, the climate is mild light woollens/cottons are recommended.

Tourist Attraction

Manimahesh Lake

Manimahesh Lake (also known as Dal Lake, Manimahesh) is a high altitude lake  situated close to the Manimahesh Kailash Peak in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas, in the Bharmour subdivision of Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh where pilgrims take holy dip.. The religious significance of this lake is next to that of the Lake Manasarovar in Tibet. Manimahesh Kailash is a virgin peak.  On the margin of the lake is a small marble Shivaling called CHAUMUKHA.

It takes two days from Bharmour with an overnight stay at Dhancho. Between Dhanchho and Manimahesh lake, there are minor places of pilgrimage known as Bandar Ghati, Gauri Kund, Shiv Kalotri and Ganesh Ghati. The trek from Dhanchho to Manimahesh lake is difficult in patches. In the past the first climb was first done by crossing Dhancho nalla. It was so tough that people used to crawl to get across. Since they used to crawl like a monkey in this stretch it was known as ‘Bandar Ghati’ . However, some still prefer to go through the Bandar Ghati.

After the procession arrives at the lake, ceremonies are held all through the night. On the following day, pilgrims take a holy dip (naun) in the lake. After taking bath in the holy waters of the lake, pilgrims circumambulate the lake three times as an act of reverence, seeking blessings of the Lord Shiva. However, before taking a final dip in the Mani Mahesh Lake, women devotees take a dip at the Gauri Khund, which is situated about a mile short of the lake while men take bath at Shiv Karotri a part of the main lake. The belief is that Parvati, Shiva’s consort bathed at the Gauri Khund, while Shiva took his bath at the Shiv Karotri.

Due to extreme winters this lake get frozen fro October through June.

Chhatrari

The Shakti Devi temple in Bharmour is of excellent archaeological importance. This place is 40-km far from Bharmour and 45-km from Chamba via road. The village is populated mainly with the Gaddis ,involved in rearing of sheep and goats. It’s famous for its remarkable hill-style temple of Shakti Devi.

Bharmaur

Bharmaur is a beautiful hill station in Chamba District, Himachal Pradesh. It was the ancient capital of Chamba till 920. Bharmaur is surrounded by high ranges, and delicious apples are grown here in abundance. Bharmaur is a thrilling location providing magnificence views of nature. There are numerous age-old temples at Bharmaur exhibiting the glourious past of the town. Bharmaur is located 17 kms before Hadsar and 31 kms before Manimahesh.

Dhanchho / Dhanchoo

It stands out as the mid-point of the trek to Manimahesh. Dhanchho is located  at a distance of 24kms through Bharmaur. A 17km drive from Bharmour to Hadsar and after that journey of 7km from Hadsar will connect you with the scenic Dhanchoo. Dhanchho waterfall is ideal spot for picnicking. After 5km from Dhancho Gourikund comes. Gauri is another name of Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. A dip in this lake is considered sacred because it’s belief that Parvati used to bath in this lake. About one kilometer ahead is the Shiva Kalotri spring-said to have its source in Lord Shiva’s feet. After a short run reaches the Manimahesh Lake in this shallow circular lake gives it an enchanting appearance.

Hadsar

Hadsar is a picturesque spot from where the trek of 14 km to Manimahesh Lake commences. Hadsar is situated 82 kms from the town of Chamba . Hadsar is the endpoint of the road.The place is flooded by tourist during Manimahesh Yatra.

Accommodation In Manimahesh

Simple tented accomodation is available at Dhanchho and Hadsar. Good Hotels and Lodges are are at Bharmaur and Chamba. The tented accommodations will provide you quilts and blankets.

Manimahesh