Manikaran is located in the Parvati Valley on river Parvati, northeast of Bhuntar in the Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh. It is at an altitude of 1760 m and is located 4 km ahead of Kasol and about 35 km from Kullu. This small town attracts tourists visiting Manali and Kullu to its hot springs and pilgrim centres. Here, you can also find an experimental geothermal energy plant.
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The legend of Manikaran states that, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, once chanced upon a place that was surrounded by mountains and was lush green. Enamoured by the beauty of the place, they decided to spend some time there. It is believed that they actually spent eleven hundred years here.
During their stay here, Goddess Parvati lost her mani (precious stones) in the waters of a stream. Shesha, the serpent deity seized the jewel and then disappeared into the earth with it. Upset over the loss, Goddess Parvati asked Shiva to retrieve it. Lord Shiva commanded his attendant to find the mani for Parvati. However, when they failed, he was extremely angry. An appeal was made before the serpent god, Sheshnag, to pacify Lord Shiva. Sheshnag hissed thereby giving rise to a flow of boiling water. The water spread over the entire area resulting in the emergence of precious stones of the type Goddess Parvati had lost. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were happy at the outcome.
This legend delivered the name ‘Manikaran’. The water is still hot and considered extremely auspicious. According to a bleief, if you visit this place, there is no need to pay vist to Kashi.
According to the Sikhs, during third Udasi, the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak came to this place in 15 Asu 1574 Bikrami with his disciple Bhai Mardana. Mardana felt hungry and they had no food. Guru Nanak sent Mardana to collect food for the langar (the Community Kitchen). Many people donated atta (flour) 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 he complied and a hot spring appeared. As directed by Guru Nanak, Mardana put the rolled chapatis in the spring to his despair the chapatis sank. Guru Nanak then told him to pray to God saying that if his chapatis float back then he would donate one chapati in His name. When he prayed all the chapatis started floating duly baked.
Guru Nanak said that anyone who donates in the name of God, his drowned items float back.