The Temples and Hot Water Springs of Manikaran

I started early on a Tuesday morning and it was chilly outside in the morning, the better to want to warm up I thought! After a quick breakfast of vegetable parathas some mango juice and cornflakes, not your everyday English breakfast at that. I checked out of the Piccadily Hotel that had been my home at Manali and headed straight for my taxi for Manikaran – a mysterious land I was told. My driver all eager to go whisked the car through the mountain pass which was lush green.The Beas river flowing and keeping me company. Breathtaking as it was I had to keep stopping to capture the breathtaking view of the icy mountain ranges in my camera. The blue sky and the Beas river flowing underneath. After a while the beauty of nature lulled me to sleep and before I knew it, I had slept through half of the journey. The driver dutifully woke me up once we reached our destination Manikaran, nestled in the valley between the Rivers Beas and the Parvati. It is a holy place for Hindus and the Sikhs.

I walked down a bridge and a narrow path way to come to Gudrudwara Manikaran Sahib a sikh temple which was right adjacent to a temple to Shiva. This is what was unique about the place. A blend of faiths a Gurudwara Sahib, a Shiv Temple and a Ram Temple all together in one place. The colour’s of the people and their bright clothes caught my attention. I started clicking with my Canon and forgot the phone for a while. I pursued and sought audience with the Gurudwara priests who were carrying Kripans and wore their distinctive bright turbans.

There were smiling local women in their glittering outfits and it were as if everyone was here for a spiritual and a religious party. The steam from the hot water spring broke into the air, as pilgrim’s and local’s bathed in it’s magical and healing waters. I kept walking up to the Ram Temple next at the end of my path and climbed right to the top. It was quite a distance but I managed and perhaps the gods willed it thus.Once there I rang the ghanta, the local temple bell as a mark of my obeisance.

On my way back I stopped at Shanti Da Dhaba for some local mom’s family cooked food and it was worth every penny that it cost. The food though turned out to be spicy and the meat seemed too dry. I had captured the view of the city and it’s winding bazaar’s through my lens and was feeling pretty pleased with my effort though I will warn I have a camera and that still does not make me a photographer. The Beas river gurgling underneath gave the place a tranquil and re assuring ambience .

I stopped at a Hanuman Temple in Kullu , it was in the middle of this garden which had pond with lotus leaves .One had to climb a stairway to get the darshan of Hunuman ji . I got my self a tika and prayed form my happiness for my parent’s departed souls.

I trudged back to my car after spending a few hour’s in the lap of the holy city of Manikaran. We were now headed back to Manali as the evening was approaching. On the way we stopped at the river rafting point and i saw with great delight dozen’s of people enjoying the rafting experience.

But how could the journey through this heartland of Himachal be complete without savouring the taste of it’s apples I thought. I stopped over at the local fruit market to enjoy some apples  and true to their style they where sweet and crisp, all red in colour. We were now approaching Nagar a town about 15 km form Manali.

It had been a very good trip and i was satisfied that I got to see a large chunk of this landscape , indeed it’s natural beauty is as rich and vibrant as that of Kashmir where I started my journeys home town of sorts as it was for me. Famous for it’s Kulu cap’s and warm shales this was indeed a very satisfying and enriching experience for me. Travel they say widens the horizons.

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