Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh state of India is famous for its Hot Water Springs and is a pilgrimage center for Hindus and Sikhs. It is believed that a visit to Kashi (Varanasi) is not required if one visits Manikaran. The hot spring waters of Manikaran is so hot that rice and potatoes can be cooked by immersing them in the spring waters! The water is also believed to have powers to cure diseases.
Hindus believe that Manu recreated human life in Manikaran after the Great floods during the times of Vaivasvata alias Sraddhadeva or Satyavrata, king of Dravida. Dravida King along with family and seven sages escaped the flood in a boat as per the warnings given by Matsya, an avatar (form) of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver. (As per Hinduism, God Brahma is the ‘creator’ of Universe, Lord Vishnu is the ‘preserver’ and Lord Shiva is the ‘destroyer or transformer’. These Trimurti (three forms of God) is considered as different forms or manifestation of one single Supreme God.)
Manikaran is thus considered as a sacred place for Hindus. Pilgrims to Manikaran take bath in the holy hot spring waters here. It is also believed that Lord Shiva and Goddesses Parvati stayed at Manikaran and Parvathi dropped her earring in the stream waters accidentally. Goddesses Parvati asked Lord Shiva to retrieve the earrings. Lord Shiva asked his attendant to find it out and the attendant failed to find out the earring. On hearing this, Lord Shiva became very angry and Lord Shiva opened his third eye, which disturbed the whole universe. To pacify Lord Shiva, The Serpent God “Sheshnag”, hissed. This resulted in boiling waters to flow and precious stones emerged from these hot waters, likes of which Goddesses Parvati possessed.
Manikaran is sacred for Sikhs as Guru Nanak (15 April 1469 – 22 September 1539), the founder of Sikhism came to Manikaran with his disciple Bhai Mardana. Mardana felt hungry and there was not food. Guru Nanak sent Bhai Mardana to the community kitchen and he came back with flour to make Roti (Chappahi). But there was no fire to cook and Guru Nanak asked his disciple to lift a stone and a hot spring appeared. Guru Nanak asked his disciple to put the rolled raw Chappthis into the hot spring. But the Chappathis sank in the water. Guru Nanak asked his disciple Mardana to pray to God that he will donate one Chapatti, if it floats back. After his disciple prayed, The Chapatis floated in water, fully baked.
How do I go to Manikaran Hot Springs?
Manikaran is at a distance of around 45 kilometers from Kullu hill station. Delhi is at around 535 kilometers distance and it may take around 14 to 15 hours to cover this distance. Chandigarh is at around 280 kilometers distance from Manikaran.
Pathankot railway station is the nearest MAJOR railway station, which is well connected to other parts of the country, at around 190 kilometers distance from Manikaran.
“Joginder Nagar” station on the narrow gauge line is the nearest railway station at around 130 kilometers away. Being a narrow gauge station, there is no direct connectivity to other parts of India.
The Picturesque ‘Bhuntar Kullu Airport’ alias ‘Bhuntar Airport’ or ‘Kullu Manali Airport’ with IATA Code ‘KUU’, on the banks of Beas river in the Kullu valley, is the nearest airport to Manikaran.