BHADERWAH - Manimahesh Yatra

Manimahesh Yatra

Manimahesh Lake, situated in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas, is a high altitude lake. Manimahesh Peak is located 35 km from Bharmour - the land of the Gaddi shepherds in Himachal Pradesh. It is also called Chamba Kailash. The peak is 5486 m above sea level. The Manimahesh peak that stands high close to the lake is believed to be the home of Lord Shiva. This place is believed to be second to the Lake Manasarovar in its religious significance. The name Manimahesh signifies a jewel (Mani) on Lord Shiva's (Mahesh'es) crown. Local people claim that the moon-rays reflected from the jewel can be seen from Manimahesh Lake on clear full-moon nights (which is a rare occasion). People from all over the country visit this place for Lord Shiva's darshans and to take bath in the holy Manimahesh Lake.

Mani Mahesh Yatra starts from Bhadarwah Lakshmi narayan Temple with "Chari Mubarak"and goes to Manimahesh via Chamba. The Yatra goes in the month of August and takes 7 days to complete. The Bhaderwah - Manimahesh yatra is a total on feet yatra. The route to Manimahesh is via Chamba, Bharmour and Hadsar in Himachal Pradesh. Pligtims from Bhaderwah undertake the arduous journey while remembering their deities and Lord Shiva, and play instruments such as Singharas, Dhols, Damrus, flutes and pipes. They also decorate their idols with flowers. Along the way, the religious folk also arrange for food and accommodation for all the pilgrims. The locals from all over Bhaderwah which includes people from Ganpat baazar, Vasak Dera, Khakkal Mohallah, Haveli Mohalla meet on the Bhaderwah Sartingal road and see off the yatris and wish them good luck for their yatra. From Bhaderwah, yatris reach Chamba and join others from all over the country towards the holy lake.

Walking on the way to the Manimahesh Lake is a wonderful experience. The pilgrims forget the pains of the tiresome journey watching the wonderful natural scenery and get drenched in the enchanting ambiance. However one should be physically fit to endure this journey of an altitude of 4080 meters. The wonderful route not only enthuse the pilgrims but also excites the adventure lovers and tourists.

The three-day yatra to Manimahesh from Bharmour involves trekking from Bharmour to Hadsar on Day 1. On Day 2, yatris begin the climb up stone steps to the local Shiva temple. On the way pilgrims have to climb up and down a thick forest to reach Dhanchho . On Day 3, pilgrims have to walk about 6 kms to reach holy Manimahesh Lake, and return the same day.

At Manimahesh Lake Pilgrims take a dip in the lake, then pray to Chaumukha, a marble Shivaling, before proceeding on three parikramas of the lake. A rock in the shape of a Shivaling, located on the Kailash Mountain, is worshipped as the manifestation of Shiva, the presiding deity of this yatra. Pilgrims feel blessed if clear weather permits a darshan

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