Manikaran is located on the right bank of the River Parvati. It is at an altitude of 1760 m and is located about 45 kms from Kullu in Himachal Pradesh. Manikaran is a pilgrimage site for Hindus and Sikhs, has many temples and a gurdwara. It has perfect examples of the historic temples of Lord Rama, Krishna, Vishnu (Raghunath) and goddess Bhagwati.
About the temple
The Ram Temple was built in pyramidal style by Raja Jagat Singh in the 17th century when the idol of Lord Rama was brought from Ayodhya. The idol was later shifted to Kullu. The temple was renovated by Raja Dilip Singh in 1889 AD. A trust is looking after the temple since 1981. The temple complex has three halls and forty rooms for the devotees to stay in. A 'Langar' (free communal food) is also served here.
Legend and stories
According to a legend, when Lord Shiva and his better half Parvati were walking in the valley, Parvati dropped one of her earrings. The jewel was seized by Shesha-Nag, the serpent deity, who then disappeared into the earth with it. Shesha-Nag only surrendered the jewel when Shiva performed the cosmic dance, the “Tandava” and shot the jewel up through the water. Apparently, it is said that jewels continued to be thrown up in the waters at Manikaran until the earthquake of 1905. According to Sikhs, during third Udasi, Guru Nanak Dev ji came to this place in 1574 Bikrami with his disciples Bhai Bala & Bhai Mardana. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji was with Bhai Bala and Bhai Mardana in Manikaran region and Bhai Mardana felt hungry and they had no food. Guru Nanak sent his good Friend Bhai Mardana to collect food for langar (the Community Kitchen). Many people donated flour (atta) to make Roti (bread). The one problem was that there was no fire to cook the food. Guru Nanak Asked Mardana to lift a stone and Bhai Mardana then lifted a rock and a hot spring(hot water) appeared. As directed by Guru Nanak Dev ji, Mardana put the rolled chappatis in the spring to his despair the chappatis sank. Guru Nanak then told him to pray to god saying that if his chappatis float back then he would donate one chappati in the name of God. When he prayed all the chappatis started floating duly baked. Guru Nanak Dev Ji said that anyone who donates in the name of God, his or her drowned items float back.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. During their stay here, Goddess Parvati lost her mani in the waters of a stream. Upset over the loss, she asked Shiva to retrieve it. Lord Shiva commanded his attendant to find out the mani for Parvati, however, when they failed, he was extremely angry. He opened his third eye, a tremendously inauspicious event which led to disturbances in the universe. An appeal was made before the serpent god, Shesha-Nag, to pacify Lord Shiva. Shesha-Nag hissed thereby giving rise to a flow of boiling water. The water spread over the entire area resulting in the emergence of precious stones of the type Goddess Parvati had lost. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were happy at the outcome. The name Manikaran is derived from this legend. The water is still hot and is considered extremely auspicious. A pilgrimage to this place is thought of as complete. It is also believed that there is no need to pay a visit to “Kashi” after visiting this place. The water of the spring is also supposed to have curative powers. The water is so hot that rice for the “langar” is cooked by putting it into a linen-bag and dipping it into the boiling water.
Budget hotels which offer basic amenities are scattered across the town. Mid-range hotels are also numerous and located at convenient distance from the temple and gurudwara. The town also boasts of a few luxury hotels.
Best time to visit
Manikaran enjoys pleasant weather throughout the year. Best time to visit Manikaran is from March to May.
Linked by air to Chandigarh and Delhi. The airport at Bhuntar is 10-km from the town.
Nearest railheads are Pathankot, 285-km and more conveniently Chandigarh, 258-km.
Well connected by road. Linked to Delhi, 524-km and Chandigarh. Regular bus and coach services link Kullu to Delhi and Chandigarh.
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- Relief from diseases
- Purchase of vehicles
- Gain Knowledge
Achutham Keyshavam Rama Narayanam Krishna Damodaram Vasudevam Harim Shridharam Madhavam Gopika Vallabham Janaki Nayakam Ramachandram Bhajey
Meaning -Oh Lord who cannot be perished, who also has names like Keshava, Rama, Damodara, Narayana, Sridhara, Madhava, Krishna, Ramachandra the beloved of Janaki, let me say your name regularly.
Vasudeva Sutham Devam Kamsa Chanoora Mardhanam Devaki Paramanandham Krishnam Vande Jagathgurum
Meaning -I bow to you O Krishna, the ultimate guru, Devaki and Vasudeva's son, and the destroyer of Kamsa and Chanur.
Adharam Madhuram Vadanam Madhuram Nayanam Madhuram Hasitam Madhuram Hridayam Madhuram Gamanam Madhuram Mathuraa Dhipate Rakhilam Madhuram
Meaning -Meaning - Sweet are Your lips, sweet is Your face, sweet are Your eyes, sweet is Your smile, sweet is Your heart, sweet is Your gait, O Lord of Mathura, everything about You is sweet.
Alokya Mathur Mukha Madarena Sthanyam Pibantham Saraseeruhaksham Sachinmayam Devam Anantha Roopam Balam Mukundam Manasa Smarami
Meaning -I think of this Balamukundan as the one who looks lovingly at his mother's face while taking milk from her, who has eyes similar to the red lotus, who is the embodiment of truth and intelligence and other forms.