Manikaran !

The night was spent nicely at Bajaura and next day we were fresh to start our journey further.  From Bajaura we reversed towards Kullu and after about 4 Kms we reached Bhuntar from where a road on the right goes to Manikaran.  I had last come to Manikaran in 1992 and now after 22 years I was again on this road.   In 1992 the road was very narrow and dangerous now the road was quite wide.   The forests have given way to houses and the empty roads were filled with traffic.



आवारा बादल

But I must admit, that Himachal had become very rich in all these 22 years… beautiful houses, trees laden with apples and pomegranates.  The small villages had turned into bustling towns.   Due to off season and no festival time, there was not much crowd towards Manikaran.


Beautiful road to Manikaran

In about 3 hours we reached Manikaran.   I was surprised to see the progress here too.  The Gurudwara committee had erected a big multi-storey parking, many new constructions were taking place.   It had been raining since morning and it was very difficult to freely move around.  We parked our car in the Gurudwara parking and entered the Gurudwara.


Near Gurudwara


Although the visibility was poor due to continuous rain, yet Parvati valley with Parvati river and steam from the running hot water was mesmerising.  All of you know the story of Manikaran… I think Mukesh Bhalse and Ritesh have given details in their stories… still to refresh I am giving its significance from the net

“According to a legend, when Lord Shiva and his better half Parvati were walking in the valley, Parvati dropped one of her earrings. The jewel was seized by Shesha-Nag, the serpent deity, who then disappeared into the earth with it. Shesha-Nag only surrendered the jewel when Shiva performed the cosmic dance, the “Tandava” and shot the jewel up through the water. Apparently, it is said that jewels continued to be thrown up in the waters at Manikaran until the earthquake of 1905.

According to Sikhs, during third Udasi, Guru Nanak Dev ji came to this place in 1574 Bikrami with his disciples Bhai Bala & Bhai Mardana. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji was with Bhai Bala and Bhai Mardana in Manikaran region and Bhai Mardana felt hungry and they had no food. Guru Nanak sent his good Friend Bhai Mardana to collect food for langar (the Community Kitchen). Many people donated flour (atta) to make Roti (bread). The one problem was that there was no fire to cook the food. Guru Nanak Asked Mardana to lift a stone and Bhai Mardana then lifted a rock and a hot spring(hot water) appeared. As directed by Guru Nanak Dev ji, Mardana put the rolled chappatis in the spring to his despair the chappatis sank. Guru Nanak then told him to pray to god saying that if his chappatis float back then he would donate one chappati in the name of God. When he prayed all the chappatis started floating duly baked. Guru Nanak Dev Ji said that anyone who donates in the name of God, his or her drowned items float back. ” ( from Kullu tourism site)



Beautiful Parvati river

Just after entering there was a covered hot water pool.   JP was more than happy and in no time was inside the hot water, removing his fatigue. :)


Hot water kund in Gurudwara

We  put our head scarfs on and entered the main gurudwara.  It was magnificent and was echoing  with the deep voice of the granthi reciting the holy Granthh Sahib.  I asked a sevadar, If I could take a foto, he allowed saying it should not disturb others.  Well that was a good thing.  I snapped a foto of the darbar.  After seeing me taking fotos, some others started taking photos…posing before darbar and creating a crowd.   The sevadar came running and stopped their photoshoot…saying that was the reason they dont allow people to gather for photo shoots…. we should simply take fotos around and vanish without troubling the recitation.  Very sane advice… and we should follow it.



Inside Gurudwara

On the walls of Gurudwara Manikaran sahib, I saw the fotos of Hindu gods and goddesss.  I was surprised because after the khalistan movement, photos of hindu gods have been removed from almost all Gurudwaras including Golden temple…this was the best I liked about this Gurudwara that they showed respect for their original faith i.e. Sanatan Dharma and did not remove photos of Shiva, Durga and Kali etc.   In fact in Dasham Granthh, Guru GovindSinghji has mentioned about his tapasaya of Kali at Hemkund Sahib…


Shiva Temple, Manikaran

Adjacent to the Gurudwara is the Shiva Temple, which is the oldest and presiding deity at Manikaran.   The temple had a hot water kund where all the food for Gurudwara langar is cooked… beautiful example of hindu-sikh unity.  The rain started heavily and we had to wait inside Shiva temple for some time.   The views from backside of the Shiva temple were mind blowing…the rain was giving it more beauty for the eyes and troubles for the camera.


Hanuman temple in the premises


After paying our respects at Shiva temple, we moved to the little market and came to Shri Ram Temple.   I was really surprised and happy to see that the area around Shri Ram Temple and Bhagwati temple had been cleared of all encroachments and it was really looking beautiful… in 1992 it was a narrow lane with lot of small shops.


Shri Ram temple was a piece of ancient art.  They had re-constructed the whole thing but kept the Pahadi style of conscturction intact.   Behind Shri Ram temple, there was kund giving steam… the floor there was so hot that it was very difficult to stand there for even a minute.   There was also a havan place where some sadhus were chatting and two of them were smoking chillum.  There was also a board above them, saying smoking not allowed here.  I showed the board to sadhu who was smoking, he told me with red eyes that the board was for mortal creature like me… not for a priviledged person like him.. he also didnt allow me to take a photo of him alongwith the no-smoking board.  :)



Shri Ram temple

The rain had stopped by now but the sky was overcast.   Himalayas have a special beauty in each season and each has a different flavor…  specially during rainy season it has mind-blowing scenes…. clouds wandering like vagabond lovers and kissing the mountains every now and then… and sometimes sticking to a particular hill, as if the Ashiqs have gather around the only beautiful girl of the area :)



Boiling water in Manikaran



Bhagwati temple



clouds love Himalayas or Himalayas loves clouds?

Well after enjoying a lot, we started our journey out of Manikaran. five Kms before Manikaran is the village of Kasol.  Kasol is very beautiful little village with  lot of foreigners.. in fact 90% of them are from Israel, for some unknown reasons.  Kasol is also known for druggies heaven.  The Kasol market was full of Italian, French and continental food restaurants.. .but we all were in a mood to enjoy the punjabi delicacies.   I also saw a Miyanji who was doing wonderful embroidery on T-shirts.   The designs were wonderful and almost all the shirts had hinduism symbols, mantras and yantra.  I was really impressed with his work and asked the price of a blue T-shirt with AUM embroidered on it.  He quoted Rs. 300, and as a pucca Dilli wala I asked to lower the price.  He smiled with his 4-5 left over teeth, red with paan that he charges Rs. 500 from firangis and 300 from Indians and that rate is fixed.   I was impressed with his patriotism and purchased 2 shirts from him (in next part you will see me in that shirt ) :) Nandan will be happy to know that he was from Bihar… some village from Madhubani.

Soon after Kasol, we reached Sanjha Chulha.  I had seen beautiful photos of this place on some blogs and was interested to see it well.



Special suite of Sanjha chulha

Any one who thought of constructing this hotel, had a great taste of Himachali style of construction.   No where the building looked anywhere near city style.  The whole construction was in pure Himachali style.


Sanjha Chulha complex

The hotel part is the most attractive, with lavish rooms and at least two “Machan” suites….  They had beautifully carved gardens… the high taste of owner was visible in everything, everywhere.


Garden of Sanjha Chulha

The garden had trees laden with ripe apples…  we entered their restaurant and ordered punjabi veg delicacies.   The rates of food were very high…as equal to a five star hotel in Delhi…  but the decorum of the restaurant, the style of waiters.. and finally the very tasty food… proved the rates to be reasonable.



Apple laden trees near restaurant

After enjoying the costly but delicious meals, we started our journey back…  before crossing the bridge for Bhuntar, we turned right on the Kullu by-pass road.   Women folks wanted to do some shopping for kullu shawls etc.  There were some emporiums on the bye-pass but all thought them to be costly, to rob tourists and insisted on entering the Kullu city for some good deals.

Kullu city was looking so beautiful from across the river Beas.  I had earlier always passed through Kullu and never found it that attractive.  From a little afar, Kullu looked magnificent.


Beautiful Kullu on Beas river



We crossed the little bridge and entered Kullu city and turned around towards Dilli.  Supriringly there were no emporiums on main road.  I think most of them shifted to By-pass to serve the tourists going towards Manali.  Women entered 2 shops which we saw on the way, but those were not upto the mark.  We left Kullu and continued towards Pandoh.  We crossed the longest tunnel of India…AUT tunnel which is a little more than 3 Kms long.



We passed by the point, where 25 unfortunate students drowned  in Beas… we were really sad to remember those poor kids.   Before Pandoh dam, we saw a beautiful waterfall on the other side of Beas.   We saw a chhole kulche wala standing on this little island on this small road and enjoyed the chholey with lot of chillies..  :)


Near Pandoh


राह बनी खुद मंजिल


Finally we reached Pandoh and decided to stay there overnite before starting our journey to Dilli.  No one was in a mood to go back.  I had suggested Jalori Pass, which we had missed last time, but JP had a date in High Court so he was insisting upon returning tomorrow.  When we settled in the hotel and JP started his fatigue remover… and as usual after 3 glasses he started announcing “Tewari mera bada bhai hai…mein teri bahut izzat karta hun”  I knew that the iron was hot…hence asked JP if he really respected me as bada bhai,  he should stay for another day to let us visit Jalori……to which he agreed and immediately called his assistant to appear on his behalf… who says sharab is bad ? :p :) ;)

ये अपनी मस्ती है जिसने मचाई है हलचल
नशा शराब में होता तो खुद नाचती बोतल


Everyone was cheerful as tomorrow we were going to lesser known Jalori Pass. :)



रोज़ शाम आती थी… मगर ऐसी ना थी


  • Naturebuff says:

    Lovely pics and a good writeup to go with it. Loved Manikaran, Kullu and all the landscapes..

    Had missed Manikaran when I went to Manali some 30 years back. Looks like there is another addition to my list! At this rate I will need more than this lifetime to cover all the places :-)

    • SilentSoul says:

      LOL….we have so much beauty in India, that one life time is not sufficient… I have been wandering in Himalayas since 1977 and have covered only say 25% of it… :( Blogs help at least to fix a place.

      Like I never knew about Parashar, Jalori etc.. but blogs helped me pinpoint these places

      Thanks for your comments :)

  • Its the love of both that bring them close to each other. :) The ambience of Sanjha Chulha is great. Why only the food? Why not the suite also? You could have spent a night over there :-) All photographs are so beautiful that they will surely inspire the travelers for a trip to there. A positive criticism hope you will not mind it The photo with caption A beautiful waterfall on Beas river. It is really a good Photograph with beautiful greenery all around- even the waters on the pebbles/rock stones by the side of road are too green :-)


    • SilentSoul says:

      Anupam, a hotel on high hills of Rewalsar, Sanjha chulaha, a guest house near Jalori pass…were really ideal places to spend a night and I hope, these will be included for night stay in my next journeys.

      Your criticism looked more like appreciation. The stalled water with abundance of plantation around becomes green, due to chlorophyll. No camera catches the exact scene, as seen by the eyes… the foto had no green color, whereas we saw green in pond and river due to reflection of greenery all around…green was thus enhanced to get the correct result… it is possible, it got over enhanced. :) I have faded the extra green in the pool..hope it looks natural now ?

      I have not hidden EXIF this time for you :) … The actual problem in this photo is that camera shook, which is evident from the vegetation around which is looking shaky.. I thought you will catch that… BUT :p BTW how did u like last foto… nothing has been done to enhance the photo except re-adjustment of brightness and contrast

      Thanks for your comments


    Very interesting write-up. Mesmerize photographs speaks about the beauty of Himalaya. Intelligently given captions to photographs are very interesting.

  • Arun says:

    Hello Sir,

    Thanks for showing us the pics of heaven.
    Really all the trailing posts and pics are awesome.
    Going through the posts, I can imagine all the enjoyments….


  • Another Gem from seasoned writer. Nice write up. Beautifully captured photographs. Good editing added flavor to them. Poetic caption are like icing on the Cake.
    thanks for sharing.

  • Shefali Arora says:

    Hello Sir

    Pictures are mindblowing. I liked the last one the most. Will plan a trip to Manikaran soon. Thanks for sharing.

  • ?? says:

    Namaste Sir ji,

    As always your post are so awesome & Pictures are too Fantastic.

    I have remember my visit to Manikaran


  • Nandan Jha says:

    I think it was very nice of Sevadar to allow you to click pics and probably the right thing to do to stop others, who in their excitement forget that the Path is going on. As a community, we have a long way to go in terms of etiquettes.

    That Sadhu under the ‘No Smoking’ board was an illusion. And those continental joins are pretty good. One gets hallucinated just by being there. When I ordered by Beer, I realized that I am in a minority because most of the indulgence is from the dry substance. But it was all natural and kind of good. A lot of non-natives have married the natives and live the local life, running small shops and all that.

    Please contine to use (as well as overuse) all these filters and effects. It keeps my pay-check going.

    Looking fwd to t-shirt.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thanks Nandan for the comments… dont forget to read next part on 18th Nov :p

      I could not understand ” the sadhu was an illusion ” pls elaborate further… btw Miyanji had not married any local.. he had his Bihari wife sitting in shop and ironing the shirts. when I asked her to show a particular t-shirt, she she gave me a Kaatil edentate smile and made my day.

  • Kathie Brobeck says:

    such an attractive hotel! Accomodations in India are improving all over, so many lovely places to stay now – very different from my 1st visit in ’86!

    • SilentSoul says:

      Tks Kathie for your comments… yes the accomodation and other touristic facilities are fast improving in India, specially in hills. The present boom in economy, more and more tourists are venturing into these touristic places and locals are fast understanding the need of proper infrastructure..

  • Ramta Jogi says:

    Beautiful pics…!!!!!

    Sanjha chulha , Parvati river & bhgwati temple’s capture seems like a wallpaper. the last pic is icing on the cake…

  • SilentSoul says:

    Thanks Ramtajogi… your name is so beautiful, you will only see beauty around !

    thanks for your comments

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    SS Sir,

    Really beautiful post with very very entertaining narration and awesome pictures. In this post I specially liked the captions written in poetic form in Hindi. I also liked the way you portrayed the T Shirt Wala, I couldn’t stop myself from laughing after reading “4-5 leftover teeth”.

    In all I enjoyed the post thoroughly. Waiting for next part and to see you in That T Shirt.


    • SilentSoul says:

      Thanks Mukeshji.. for your encouraging comments… there is another jovial comment about miyanji’s wife in reply to Nandan :)

  • Avtar Singh says:

    Hi SS Sir

    Its always been a difficult task, when you come late on the post of a very popular and favorite writer, because till that time whatever you think in your mind while going through the post, have already mentioned by someone in his/her comments. Moreover my dilemma is, SS Sir instructed me to write a ‘Sher’ in my comment but I, like a typical Indian read and listen ‘Shers’ only which are soaked in the love of wine and the beauty of a beloved…
    Although a couple of lines from an old Hindi film, which i was crooning while seeing the beauty of Himachal through your eyes

    ???? ????? ?? ???? ????? ????
    ??? ???? ??? ?? ???? ???
    ???? ??? ?? ?? ?? ??? ????
    ?? ??? ????? ??????? ???? ???

    As Shakespeare in English touched most of the aspects of human behavior, so did Galib in Urdu.
    Whatever I wanted to say about the post, your fluent style of writing, the pics, the captions, your chemistry with Himalaya and love for Himachal, the amazing comments of various readers…. all have been summed up in these four lines of Chacha…

    ?? ?? ?? ????? ??? ?????-??-?? ?? ????? ???
    ??? ??? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ????? ???

    ???? ???????-???????-??? ?? ???? ?????
    ?? ??-?-????-?-???? ?? ????? ???

    For those, who find it a little difficult to understand some of the Persian words, I am trying to write their nearest English synonymous.
    ????? – Separation, ??? – Fresh Air, ?????? – Messenger
    ???????-???????-??? – A diamond in the Emperor’s crown
    ??-?-????-?-???? – Fate/Destiny of the diamond

    Everything is wonderful about this post… :)

    • SilentSoul says:

      Avtar paahji…. when a sahityakaar replies to a post, it is not merely a comment, but a pleasure to read and lot of new things to be learnt.

      People like you must reply “Dil se” at least on my posts… so that the satisfaction of writing a post is achieved. Thank you so much for making my day Avatar ji

      A sher in return, donno if it would be relevant but certainly has a connection

      ???? ?????? ???..
      ?? ?? ??? ????? ?? ????
      ???? ?????? ???? ????? ??
      ?????? ???? ??

  • Nandan Jha says:

    ???? ?????? ?? ?? ??? ???? , ?? ????? ?? ???? ???? ?? ?????? ? ??????? ?? ??? ???? ??? ?

    • SilentSoul says:

      ?????.. ????? ?? ???…????? ????? ?? ??? :p

      this one is for you Jha sahib.

      ???? ????? ?? ??????? ??… ???? ???? ?? ???..
      ???? ???? ??? ?? ???? ???… ????? ????

  • Pamela says:

    Excellent writing :)

  • om prakash laddha says:

    Again a amezing post and so beautiful pics.

  • Shyam says:

    A very interesting post. Visited Mani karan in year 1980. At that time the road was very narrow & I thought that it was one of the most difficult road. I found it more difficult road than the Badrinath Road at that time. From your post it appears that the road and infrastucture has improved a lot.

    You revived lovely memories of Manikaran Visit. Photos are superb !!!!

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