Manimahesh Lake, also known as Dal Lake. It is located in the Bharmour subdivision of Chamba district in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas. It is a very attractive and holy lake.
The importance of this lake is considered equal to Mansarovar Lake. Manimahesh literally means “Ornament of Shiva“.
It is believed that in Manimahesh the Lord appears in the form of Mani. That is why it is called Manimahesh.
Story of Manimahesh
Many different legends are associated with the origin of Manimahesh Lake. It is believed that Lord Shiva created the lake after marrying Goddess Parvati.
It is also believed that the avalanches and blizzards that occur in this region are caused by Shiva’s displeasure. The legends also mention the lake as the scene of Shiva’s penance.
Mythology also considers the land to be the abode of three prominent Gods of the Hindu religion- Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh.
Manimahesh being the lake of Shiva’s abode, a waterfall named Dhenchu in the form of Vishnu and the mound in front of Bharmour town is called Brahma’s abode.
Shiva resides in his abode for 6 months and later hands over the rule to Vishnu for the rest of the year. The day of this spiritual exchange falls on Janmashtami (Lord Krishna’s birthday). The day Shiva returns to Manimahesh is celebrated as Shivaratri.
Mystery of the origin of Manimahesh Lake
The origin of Manimahesh Lake remains a mystery even today. There are many legends associated with the origin of Manimahesh Lake.
It is said that Lord Shiva created the lake after marrying Goddess Parvati. It is also believed that if an avalanche or snowstorm occurs, it is mainly due to the anger of Lord Shiva.
The most prominent attraction of this holy pilgrimage site is the Manimahesh Yatra. The Yatra is held in the Hindu month of Bhadon (भाद्रपद).
The Yatra is organized by the District Administration Chamba and managed by Shri Manimahesh Trust, Bharmour.
A fair is held at this lake, where thousands of pilgrims gather to take a dip in the holy waters.
The Manimahesh Yatra, which runs from Janmashtami to Radhashtami (duration of 15 days). This is done in the month of August or September. In this journey, devotees cover a distance of about 14 km and reach barefoot.
The yatra also involves a procession singing a hymn which is locally known as the “sacred chhari” (the stick carried by the pilgrims).
The Yatra to Manimahesh starts from Laxmi Narayan Temple and Dashnami Akhara in Chamba. After completing the yatra and reaching Manimahesh, the pilgrims take aa holy dip in the lake.
After that, it is circumambulated three times to seek the blessings of the Lord. Women devotees take a dip in Gaurikund and men in Shiva Katori.
Manimahesh Kailash Yatra 2023 will be held from 6th September, 2023 to 23rd September 2023
Janamashtami 2023 is on Wednesday, 6 September
Radhaashtami 2023 is on Saturday, 23 September
Manimahesh Kailash Trek
Manimahesh Lake, located at an altitude of 4,080 meters above sea level. For mountain lovers and trekkers, the trek to the majestic Manimahesh is one of the most beautiful and thrilling treks in Himachal Pradesh. The trek starts from the village of Hadsar.
From Hadsar, the route leads to the hill village of Dancho. This trek can be undertaken even by amateur climbers as the slope is gradual and not very difficult.
This place is situated at an altitude of 2,280 meters above sea level. From Dhancho, the trek leads through the Valley of Flowers and Medicinal Herbs to Sundarasi. From Sundarasi, two trekking routes are available.
The first trek is a comfortable trek. The second one is a bit more difficult which leads to Gaurikund via “Bhairav Ghati”.
If you take the first route from Gaurikund, you cross the Mani Mahesh Nullah over a metal girder bridge. Which finally exits the gradient and from here your destination is 1.5 kms.
Although this trek can be completed in a day. But if you wish, you can stay overnight at Dhancho. The accommodation has kitchen for food.
Water and Scenic Beauty of Manimahesh Lake
Snow melt water from the snow covered peaks near Manimahesh Lake is the main source of Manimahesh Lake. As the snow begins to melt by the end of June, it breaks into several small streams and joins Manimahesh Lake.
Lush green hills and streams of flowers together provide beautiful natural beauty to the valley which is nothing less than a paradise.
The reflection of the snow-capped peaks is clearly visible in the water of Manimahesh Lake. The environment of this lake is pure and holy, filled with the prayers of the pilgrims and the blessings of the Lord.
Tips for Visiting Manimahesh Lake
- Tips to Follow if you are planning to go on Manimahesh Yatra or Manimahesh trek–
- If you are going to visit Manimahesh Yatra, then pay attention that during this time there is a lot of crowd of devotees, so be careful.
- Before visiting Manimahesh Lake, take enough warm clothes, water and food as it is very cold here and there are no eateries available near the lake.
- Before going on your Manimahesh trek, you must carry the necessary equipment for trekking.
- Never travel alone during the trek. Be with your trekking guide and fellow trekkers.
- Do not walk fast while trekking.
- If you are not completely healthy then do not plan Manimahesh Yatra at all.
- The trek is very scenic, so don’t forget to fully charge your camera.
- Manimahesh, situated at an altitude of 4,080 metres, has a network connectivity problem.
Best time to visit Manimahesh Lake
Manimahesh Lake is situated at an altitude of 4,080 meters above sea level and remains completely frozen during winters. That is why you can visit Manimahesh Lake any time from April to mid-November.
Every year, in the month of Bhadon or in August – September, a fair is held at Manimahesh Lake, which attracts thousands of pilgrims, you can also visit Manimahesh Lake during this time
How to Reach Manimahesh Lake
Manimahesh Yatra starts from Hadsar on foot. Manimahesh is 17 kms from Bharmour, about 82 kms from Chamba and 220 kms from Pathankot.
Pathankot is the nearest railway station to Manimahesh Kailash Yatra, while Kangra Airport is the nearest airport.
Helicopter Ride for Manimahesh Yatra
If you are unable to do such a long trek for Manimahesh Yatra or want to see the beautiful landscapes of Manimahesh flying in the air, then you can select helicopter ride for Manimahesh Yatra.
You can book a helicopter ride from Bharmour or Chamba to Manimahesh. The helicopter drops you to Gauri Kund, and from there you have to trek for 1 km.