A popular pilgrimage site in Himachal Pradesh for both the Hindu and Sikh pilgrims, Manikaran at 1,760 meters is dotted with several temples –dedicated to various Hindu deities, and a gurdwara. There are also many hot water springs where devotees can take a sacred bath. Manikaran is located in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. Kullu is about 45 km away from Bhuntar and Manali is about 85 km away from Manikaran. Tourists to Kullu and Manali make it a point to visit Manikaran, to pay obeisance at the gurudwara and Hindu temples, and also to soak in its hot water springs.
About 5,700 ft from mean sea level, Manikaran lies next to the Parvati River. The river gets its name from mythological stories connecting it to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
According to Hindu mythology, Hindus believe that law giver Manu recreated human life in Manikaran after the flood. Other legends associate Manikaran with Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Once while roaming through the valley, Shiva and Parvati came across the place called Manikaran and they decided to stay for some time. They stayed for over a millennium and during their stay, a jewel from Goddess Parvati’s earring fell in the river.
Goddess Parvati was upset and all attempts to locate the jewel failed. Raging with anger, Lord Shiva opened his third eye. Shesh Naag (Serpent God) was approached by the gods to repress Lord Shiva’s anger. The Serpent God hissed and hot water started oozing from the place where the jewel had fallen which brought out numerous jewels like the one that was being sought. The sight of the jewels subdued Lord Shiva’s anger.
The Guru Nanak Devji Gurudwara also known as Manikaran Gurudwara is associated with Guru Nanak (the founder of Sikhism). There gurudwara has a langar (kitchen) that offers free food.
Temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Ramchandra are other places of worship in Manikaran.
It is one of the most visited temples in all of Himachal. Kulant Peeth in Manikaran is considered to be the most sacred peeth.
Manikaran is famous for the natural hot springs. The hot springs is said to possess curative powers. Many pilgrims take a dip in the holy water to wash away their sins and others seek its curative qualities.