Manikaran - The Holy Place in Himachal Pradesh
With steam rising from the enormous temple beside the Parvati River, Manikaran is famous for its hot springs and is an important place of pilgrimage for Sikhs and Hindus. The name means 'Jewel from the Ear' - according to local legend, a giant snake stole earrings from Parvati while she was bathing, then snorted them out into the ground. This released the hot springs that bubble beneath. The water emerging from the ground is hot enough to boil rice (as high as 94 degree centigrade) and it has to be cooled with river water for bathing. Locals claim it can cure everything from rheumatism to bronchitis.
There are baths with separate facilities for men and women in the gurdwara and the village, with water diluted to a bearable temperature. The village also has several temples, including the stone hut-style Raghunath Mandir, and the ornate wooden Naini Devi Temple. Keep an eye out for pots of rice and bags of potatoes boiling in the vents, fumaroles and springs around the village and gurdwara.
Hotels and Guesthouses
Manikaran is much less traveller-oriented than Kasol, but there are several budget guesthouses near the gurdwara. Most hotels are on the north side of the river in the main village, reached by suspension bridge from the bus stand.
Moon Guesthouse - Close to the Padha Family Guesthouse, Moon offers a bright, inviting bathing pool. The best rooms face the river.
Padha Family Guesthouse - In the bazaar just before the gurdwara, this recommended budget place has a range of simple rooms with shared and attached bathrooms, a good restaurant and a square plunge pool full of spring water at ground level.
Fateh Paying Guesthouse - Signposted down a rather dirty alley in the old part of the village, this big green house has nice rooms, welcoming owners and a cool vibe.
Country Charm - On the south side of the river near the bus stand, Country Charm has good views across the village and gurdwara, and decent rooms. The upstairs balconies practically hang out over the river.
There are several restaurants in the bazaar, but alcohol is banned on the gurdwara side of the river. Holy Palace Restaurant - Travellers and pilgrims are lured here by the cosy surroundings, pop sound track, and a broad menu of Indian, Chinese and continental veg and non veg food.
GETTING THERE & AWAY
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