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.
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"