Thursday, July 3, 2014

A visit to Manikaran (A meeting with the Lords - Shiva, Rama & Guru Nanak Dev ji)


How have you been? Before presenting the second part of the story with you, let me share with you the link to the first part of the story here:
A visit to Vishveshwar temple, Bajaura, Kullu

Here is the second part of the story, which I have parted into the two:

  • Reaching Manikaran

After visiting the Vishweshwar Mahadev temple at Bajuara, we alternatively rode our Stunner(Motor-cycle). You have to take a right turn from NH-21 at Bhunter and follow Jari and Kasol the two lovely intermediate stations to finally reach Manikaran.
The bridge at Bhunter connecting the road to Manikaran presented a view of the Sangam(confluence) of the river Parvati with the river Beas.

confluence of River Beas(left) with Parvati river(right)  at Bhunter, Kullu

The road was spacious at start but then it turned into single lane and filled with pot holes.
Sky was cloudy since the very morning, but choosing a bike was having many reasons, freedom of stopping by and clicking at different places was one of the main.

Malana Hydro Electric Power Project, Kullu

A road to Malana caught my eye, solely for the reason, Malana being frequently talked about among trekkers and drug users alike. We stood for a while along the road to get a view of the Malana Hydro Electric Power project behind our backs in the photographs. Road after Kasol gets rough enough to create a pain in the ass of the person seating in the back seat of the bike but luckily now I was seating at the handle.

We exchanged seats after that short halt at the road side view of Malana Hydro Electric Power Project click session. Parvati river accompanied us from the Bhunter to Manikaran all along parallel to the road. River water was silty and roaring high due to the frequent rain showers these days. This was around 35 km from Bhunter to Manikaran, I checked the time, it took us 1 and half hour(including the short halts of 10 minutes) to reach Manikaran at 12:00PM.

First look of Manikaran was kind of boring, except the roaring water of the Parvati, which was of same colour as it was at its confluence with river Beas at Bhunter. Taxi stand was heavily littered with cow dungs and garbage. On the way I encountered such a huge traffic mostly from Punjab that I expected it to be a  perfectly neat and clean place.

There were 2 3 hotel buildings adjacent to taxi stand standing relatively higher and looked clean and beautiful also. There was a 3-4 story building without colors and paints which was serving as a parking space, which I think served a good purpose for the time being, because the stand was almost full.
Hotels adjacent to taxi stand at Manikaran, Kullu

The road doesn't end at the Manikaran, it can take you to Burshaini. If you want, you can start your trek to Kheer Ganga from the Manikaran itself, from other side across the bridge connecting the taxi stand to the places of religious interest.

  • Roaming around the temples and Gurudwara at Manikaran

A Himachal Tourism board at the entrance of the bridge had written on it the following as the places as of interest:

  • Manikaran Hot Springs
  • Rama and Shiva Temples
  • Gurdwara
  • Trek to Mantalai
  • Pulga and Pin Parvati trek
Our plan was to visit the first three of these places. They are one after another in series along the road, once you cross Parvati river via the bridge. First in line was the Ram Temple, in front of the gate was a wooden Rath(Chariot) also having wooden wheels. Vinod told me that this Rath is still functional, and run for the major events.

Ram Rath(Chariot) at Shri Ram Temple, Manikaran, Kullu

We entered the temple Gate where a plan of the temple was painted on one side of it.
There were two hot water baths, 'Seeta kunda' for ladies and 'Ram Kunda' for gents.
There are four to five small temples constructed within the bounds of the gate. As was written in the informatory boards, water was too hot at places, up to a temperature of 94 degrees Celsius. Before the 1905 earthquake, hot water springs used to rise up to a height of ten to fourteen feet.
Shri Ram temple at Manikaran, Kullu

After Ram temple we visited the Raghu Nath ji temple and then through the kind of temporary market shops we reached at Lord Shiva Temple gate. Shiva Temple is just on the right bank of Parvati river, with a transcendental environment all around, one can get the feel of Shiva. The metallic Nandi statue outside the enshrined Shiva and Parvati chamber other than guarding it, had a bigger purpose here.

Hindu mythological tale of Shiva and Parvati linked with Manikaran, Kullu

People were telling him something into his right ear in a secret manner. I inquired about the activity and learnt that people tell their wishes and prayers to Nandi's ear and he forwards the messages to Lord Shiva.

In that way he is the messenger of the prayers of the people. Base floor was too hot at places to put the feet on, so wooden planks were placed. The hot spring was encased inside a short circular wall and a number of raw rice bowls were ready to produce the cooked rice with the heat of the hot water spring.
Shiva sculpted on the temple wall adjacent to hot water spring inside the Shiva temple at Manikaran, Kullu

Adjacent to Lord Shiva temple is the Sikh Gurudwara, which has a historical event linked with the Sikhism founder, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The stories linking both the Shiva and Parvati and Guru Nanak Dev ji with the place can be read at various informatory boards hanged or painted at all temple walls and Gurudwara Sahib.

Taking hot spring bath at Ram Kunda inside Shri Ram temple at Manikaran, Kullu
After assessing almost every hot water bath place, we decided to take bath at the Ram Kund inside the Shri Ram Temple. Along with the spiritual benefits, it was written in the informatory boards that it has medicinal value for the patients of rheumatism, gouts and several skin diseases.

Thank you, please visit again!

P.S. To read the earlier day story of our visit to Vishweshwar Mahadev temple please click here.
Thanks for your kind visit!