According to legends Manu made the first man here. According to myths Shiva and Parvati spent 11000 years in this place. According to the story the lost and found case of Parvati's earring named it Manikaran, yet how it turned into a such a lively pilgrimage for two major religions in India is what makes this place special.
The Gurudwara sahib in manikaran is probably the most visited place in this town , with a 12 hour a day, round volunteering Langar ( free food in exchange of service) working and feeding at least 3000 people a day. The place comes with a free natural hot spring to take bath from and a hot cave that can be your answer to free sauna here. The Gurudwara built in 1500s , was a miracle from Guru Nanak when he felt hungry and used the hot sulphur water to cook. Still now all the cooking is mostly done by the hot natural water.
The boiling water provides best economical way to cook foods. Just putting the pot full of rice or potatoes inside the water and wait for it to be cooked well.
Other than the Gurudwara, this town holds temple to Lord Rama , Shiva and Parvati, all unique in it's own way and architectures.
Manikaran can be considered as the largest village in this region, and I refer it to be town only. With a very active bus transportation, it is easily connected to the rest of the world. A active market and vibrant cultural life of the Himalayas is always on display as you walk around the town.
The whole settlement is by the banks of river Parvati and can be considered as the biggest village of the valley. It is also in a funnel region of the mountains, making it a place where cold mountain breeze keep the place and it's temperature down. On summer days it is a perfect place to cool off, while in winter people are very less to be seen around.
The town has a huge Sikh community and it's culture is vibrant , being a Sikh hotspot. It settles peacefully and coexists in a harmony found with mountain life of Hinduism that is most prominent here.
For photography, I found this town very active and photogenic due to it's colours and rusticness that both imbribe the surroundings. Lots of great shots can be composed with patiance and time here surely.
Once here, must do list will of course have the eating of tasty food of Langar ( kitchen) in the Gurudwara, a hot water bath early in the morning or late afternoon very good for your body, or simply roaming around the market and experiencing the delicious Punjabi foods on offer everywhere.
Also the locals tread here from nearby villages to buy things , as it is found a little cheaper in price, which makes up for the great active market.
A day in Manikaran is surely advisable if you are searching for culture and spirituality altogether in a settlement so high up in Himalayas.
To visit Manikaran or know me, please consult me.
Sometimes the journey teaches you a lot about the destination. The trail called Sarpass can be defined as such in the valley of Parvati. I am not going to talk about the achievement of crossing a tiny laned pass, for to me , now a days any trek is much bigger than it's defined moment of Truth at a single point on mountains. May be this is cause I have walked upon this trail many a times, but even so , I now know, a trek , is not a novel with only a great ending, it is a completion of short stories , with amazing chapters in itself.
So let me talk about the violet rare Iris structured flowers you cross on the way to Grahan on your first day. Filling the air with fragnance and tired minds of trekkers with some relaxing balm, this violet beauties along with yellow ones make the whole trail a song to dance upon.
Grahan village and it's people can be the most beautiful encounters you make. You might come across strong politicians working like any ordinary man , carrying heavy trees to keep their fires inside a temple burning, and inviting all of you to share a meal in his home. You might meet amazingly good looking women and their smiles that could make you blush for a while. You will meet your local friends who shall be your team and guide while crossing this vast trail filled with miracles. Men of courage and guts , yet hearts as innocent as child's.
As you tread uphill for two days from Grahan to Min thatch to Nagaru top, you cross the dense jungle and all it's life with it. You feel their pulse , whenever you hear the winds blowing through the Pine and silver fir trees, making a soothing sound. You hear the birds always singing to you and the gushing river giving a background music.
The campsites and it's small tents are your home and you first feel what is it to be a nomad. Did you realise that home could be such a small space and you would find more comfort and peace than you ever did ?
Walking on snow crossing the tiny pass might be an adventure you dreamt of for long and so did you live. Dreams do come true then ain't it ?
The slides are amazing and so you slip through snow like a child and enjoy my personal favourite part of the trek. The pictures you took , look straight out of Hollywood movies from the sets of fantasy novel you have been reading and you can't stop imagining yourself the prime of an Oscar winning movie.
The green stretches of Biskari and the thatches where you put up for a day , made more experiences than you did for the last whole month.
The songs sung inside the tent , or while on the trek, the blood felt running through your heart when you put that extra step up hill, tired and fatigued. The muscle pain that made you realize how many muscles you have in your body , or you never noticed that it exists before. The headache , the dehydration or the cold. The hunger, and simple rice and Dal filling you up, more than the Pizza ever did in your favourite cafe in your city. The strangers who held your hands while you slipped on snow, or those who lend ears while you opened up all your past and raw soul, over soup , under the starry nights , around a bon fire. Every thing, all of it, each of it, is a life lived a story wrote.
This trail is not about a single point of tiny path , not about a tiny pass covered in snow, not about your achievement of completion. This trail is about every breath you inhale and exhale , every face you meet and smile, every song you sing and dance, every sight you see and forget. This trail is such a magic.
To walk on this trail, join me. Message or connect over to know the next dates.
Note from the Author,
" Travel made me rich and free. Magic and miracles are true , once you wander on the roads to places different and divine. I have collected so many thoughts and stories while being a Tour & Trek guide for last seven years. Sharing with you all, those memories and stories , and wishing you all , that someday you guys travel far and wide too. I am not a great writer , so ignore my grammar and spellings, read it with feelings, and you might just be affected with the wanderlust to hit the road"