On the last day of our 18 days long Himachal tour, we went to visit Manikaran Sahib. Before going back home we wanted to take the darshan of Manikaran Sahib as a token of gratitude.
We left Manali early in the morning after having breakfast and reached Manikaran long before lunch.
We already knew about the hot springs of Manikaran and the hippy village Kasol you meet on the way, but when you spend every day traveling you get to see things all the time that you never thought Will happen.
On the way, we were walking passing by the banks of river Parvati. Parvati River which gives its name to Parvati Valley is like a little girl.
If you want to describe it in one word, you will not find a better word than ‘Alhad’. He is full of impatience, giddiness, and enthusiasm.
It moves forward cutting its way through the vast Himalayan mountains. He is invincible. Seeing him at a glance, you realize that, you cannot hold him, cannot control him, and cannot bind his immense power.
You can only admire Him from afar and only pray for Him.
So on the other side of the road where the Rocky Mountains. It is the central lever of balance like a road; Which maintains a balance between the steady power of the mountains and the flowing power of the Parvati river.
To reach Manikaran Sahib, we had to cross the bridge over the Parvati river and proceed further. Standing above the bridge of the river,
I felt the abundance of the power of its water flow. There was so much power in that flowing water that no one could stand in his way.
My thoughts in front of him were as stunned. I could not hear anything except the roar of this river flowing under that bridge.
Gurdwara Manikaran Sahib
Gurdwara Manikaran Sahib is a memorial to Guru Nanak Dev’s visit to Manikaran during the late 16th century. According to the legend, when Guru Nanak Dev Ji had come to Manikaran and asked for langar from the village.
They got only raw material from the people here but there was no stove to cook it. Then Guru Nanak Dev Ji asked his followers to lift a stone.
As soon as the stone was raised, everyone was surprised to see the boiling water under it. This water was perfect for cooking.
But, the food got drowned in that hot water pond and all the followers started looking at the Guru. Then the Guru out of gratitude gave him a lesson.
He told his followers that, if they want to eat food, then they have to offer that food to God. And as soon as the oath was taken that this food would be offered to God, then all the food started floating by itself.
Today this glorious Gurudwara stands in the same place. Every Sikh devotee wants to visit Gurdwara Manikaran Sahib once in his life. We spent some time at Gurdwara Manikaran Sahib. At that time the lesson of Gurbani was being read there.
Years later, I ate kadha prasad, which was not only a delicious meal for me, but it was accompanied by many of my childhood memories of growing up around a gurudwara in Punjab. We offered our prayers and went to see the hot spring behind Manikaran Sahib.
hot water source in manikaran sahib
Outside Gurdwara Manikaran Sahib, we passed through a long tunnel-like corridor to reach a hall called ‘Garam Kothi’. The stones under our feet were very hot.
It was impossible to stand in the room. The heat or heat was unbearable. We saw many old people sitting on the stones over there and when we asked them why they were sitting there. We were surprised to hear his answer.
He told that the heat here can cure many of your diseases, especially problems related to joint pain. You must have strong willpower to sit in such heat.
I think if you can heal yourself without pills, that’s great. We left from there and proceeded through the crowded market, which is the hallmark of any pilgrimage place in India.
From there we reached the courtyard of the Shiva temple, where we saw several water bodies resembling boiling water wells.
With the Parvati river flowing in the back, it was impossible to believe that the temperature difference between two water bodies so close to each other could be about 100 degrees centigrade.
On one side, where the water of the Parvati river was as cold as ice, on the other side, there was boiling water in the hot water bodies located just near it. The water was so hot that wooden boards were laid out there for people to move around.
cooking in warm waters
In these warm water bodies, you can boil your own grains by putting them in a cotton bag in about half an hour. We got to see many such bags around here.
The langar of Manikaran Sahib was being cooked in a big pot. When you look at the temple through the steam emanating from the hot water bodies, you get into the thought that,
will we ever be able to understand the mysteries of this world? Are these mysteries spread to remind us how much we know about nature and how much we have yet to know?
Anecdotes related to Manikaran
It is said that it is a matter of those days when Lord Shiva lived here with his wife Goddess Parvati for 1100 years.
Once, while spending some playful moments in the pond, a gem broke from the earrings of Goddess Parvati and fell straight to Sheshnag – about whom it is believed that our earth is maintaining its balance on her hood.
Parvati insisted on Shiva to find her gem and when Shiva could not find that gem, she opened her third eye and Naina Devi was born.
Naina became the eyes of Goddess Shiva and set out to find the gem. Then Sheshnag spit out a lot of gems and asked Parvati to choose her gem.
Then Goddess Parvati took out her gem and cursed all the other gems to become stones. It is said that these hot water bodies were created with the spitting of Sheshnag.
People also say that earlier gems used to come out of these water bodies but it stopped after the earthquake here in 1905.
You can interpret this story any way you want. You can take it as history or myth, or you can think of it as a gesture of our ancestors to pass on a secret story to us.
Manikaran’s Shiva Temple
After taking steam from the hot springs, I went to see the Shiva temple located behind them. This is a simple Shiva temple, which I think would not have taken many years to build.