Manikaran Sahib & Mysteries Of Parvati Valley In Kullu


We visited Manikaran Sahib on the last day of our 18th day of the long Himachal Odyssey. It was like saying Thank you before we head home. We started from Manali in the morning after breakfast and reached the holy Gurudwara well before lunchtime. We, of course, knew about the hot springs there and the hippie village of Kasol on the way.

Manikaran Sahib

But then every day that you spend traveling, you get to see things that you never expected.

Manikaran Hot Springs, Himachal Pradesh
Manikaran Hot Springs, Himachal Pradesh

Parvati Valley

Parvati River in Parvati Valley at Manikaran, Himachal Pradesh
Parvati River in Parvati Valley

On the way, we drove along the Parvati River. Parvati River which gives the name to Parvati Valley is like a young girl and the perfect word to describe her would be ‘Alhad’. She is impatient, in a hurry, and full of energy. Cutting through the mighty Himalayan mountains, she makes her way. She is unstoppable. A look at her and you know you can not hold her, control her, and bind her abundant energy. You can only sit back and admire and you can only wish well for her.

On the other side are these rocky mountains. The road is like the central lever of a balance. That balances the steady strength of mountains with the flowing strength of the Parvati River’s waters.

Bridge over Parvati River at Parvati Valley
Bridge over Parvati River at Parvati Valley

We crossed a bridge built on the Parvati River to reach the Gurudwara. It was when I stood on this river that I realized the strength of water with all its force. There was so much force in the water that nothing could have stood in its way. Even my thoughts seem to have stopped. All I could hear was the roar of the river beneath that metal bridge.

Gurudwara Manikaran Sahib

Guru Nanak Dev ji, Gurudwara Manikaran Sahib, Himachal Pradesh
Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurudwara

This Gurudwara celebrates the visit of Guru Nanak Dev at Manikaran in the late 16th CE. Legend is that when Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited the place and asked for Langar from the village. They received all the raw material but there was no fire to cook. Guru Nanak Dev Ji told his disciples to lift a stone. To everyone’s surprise, there was boiling hot water under the stone – good enough to cook food in it. However, the food kept getting drowned in the hot water pond and the disciples looked at the Guru.

Guru taught them a lesson in gratitude when he asked them to offer food to God if they want to have it. And yes, as soon as it was pledged to be offered to God, food started floating.

Maharishi Ved Vyasa in Bhavishya Purana predicted the visit of Guru Nanak Dev

Today, there stands a Gurudwara at the very spot. It is on every Sikh devotee’s wishlist to visit Gurudwara Manikaran Sahib at least once in a lifetime. We spent some time at the Gurudwara where the Gurbani path was being recited. After ages, I ate the Kadha prasad – which is not just the tastiest of the foods. But also holds many childhood memories of growing up around Gurudwaras in Punjab. We said our prayers and set out to explore the hot springs behind the shrine.

Guru Gobind Singh also visited Manikaran with his Panj Payaras

Hot Springs at Manikaran Sahib

Garam Kothi
Garam Kothi

We walked through a long tunnel-like corridor to a room called ‘Garam Kothi’. The stones below our feet were hot. In the room, it was impossible to stand, the heat was too much to bear. We saw many old people sitting on the stone. When we asked them why are they sitting there, we were surprised by the answer. They said the heat here can cure you of many diseases, especially joint pains and related problems. It would take a lot of willpower to sit in that heat.

I guess it would be worth it if you can cure yourself without any pills. We got out and passed through a bustling bazaar – which is a hallmark of any pilgrim place in India.

We were led to the courtyard of a Shiva Temple where we could see many a well-like opening with boiling water. With River Parvati flowing in the backdrop, it was impossible to believe that the two natural water sources next to each other are more or less about 100 degrees centigrade apart in temperature. The water of Parvati was ice cold and right next to it, the hot water springs had boiling hot water. The water was so hot that there were wooden planks kept for people to move around.

Food being cooked at the Hot Springs
Food being cooked at the Hot Springs

Cooking in Hot Water Springs

You can boil your own grains in a cotton bag for about 30 mins. One can see many such bags hanging around. You would also see big utensils placed there – this is cooking at the Langar. As you see the temple through the steam emanating from hot water springs, you wonder if we would ever be able to understand the mysteries of this world. Were these mysteries left around us to remind us of how less we know about nature and how much more is still left to be understood?

Manikaran Hot Springs, Himachal Pradesh
Hot Springs


The legend goes back to the days when Lord Shiva lived here for 1100 years with his consort Parvati. During a playful moment in a pond, Parvati lost a gem or ‘Mani’ from her earring that landed with the Sheshnag – on whose hood we believe the earth is balanced. Parvati urged Shiva to find her gem and when he could not find it, he opened his third eye, and Naina Devi was born. She became his eyes and went looking for the Mani. Sheshnag then spits out a lot of Manis or jewels and asked Parvati to pick the one that is hers.

She picked hers and cursed the others to become stones. It is said with the spitting of Shesh came these hot springs. People even say that Manis came out this spring until the place was hit by an earthquake in 1905.

You take your call on how to interpret this story. To take it as history or mythology or our ancestor’s way of passing us some coded story.

Shiva Temple

Shiv Mandir
Shiv Mandir

After soaking in the steam from hot springs I visited the Shiva temple behind it. As of today, it is a simple Shiva Temple that I assume has been built not too many years ago.

Video of Manikaran Sahib Hot Springs

Watch the video clip of our visit to the Hot Springs at the holy place.

As I walked back to the car, the mystery of the Manikaran Sahib hot springs, the heat of Garam Kothi, and the roar of River Parvati below the bridge walked back with me.

Recommend you read more about Places to visit in Himachal Pradesh on my Travel Blog.

Chandratal – Blue Lake of Lahaul-Spiti Valley

Drive to resolve the curiosity of Giu Mummy

Rampur Bushahr & its Padam Palace

Naggar – Explore the Art, History & Nature of Kullu Manali

Dhankar – Monastery, Fort & a Village in Spiti Valley

Eternity Stops to see Kinner Kailash at Kalpa


  1. I was just in the Parvati Valley today! Just passing through, I did the trek from Nagar to Malana. Did you visit the hot springs in Vashisht, too? They’re much smaller than these, by the looks of them, but also lovely.

    • Yes Elen, I did visit the hot springs at Vashisht too, though am yet to write about them. I skipped Malana. How difficult is the trek to Malana now after the road has been constructed for power plant?

  2. Wonderful blog… I learn a lot from your blog about different places in india. I also Lean how to represent in articles in blog.

  3. The first time I had visited Manikaran Sahib was when I had gone for a trek with my parents to Sar Pass. Manikaran was midway and I remember we got to bathe after some 4-5 days of trekking in the hot water springs of Manikararn 🙂

    It was like walking down the memory lane going through your blog and reading about the food being cooked in hot water springs and eating at the langar ????

  4. Beautiful Pictures mam. But I need help from you.My family is planning a trek in Jan 18 and we have no idea about an accommodation and local guide.Hope u help me out about this because we have out private car and we are from Jammu.

  5. Thanks for sharing such a great article, I will plan my next trip to India in Kasol. I have listened many things about Kasol, so I would love to go there and this article will defiantly helpful for me. great work!

  6. Wonderful post and a great guide to the tourists. It will surely help many. And a great way of writing a post. You are such a great inspiration. Please keep sharing such posts.

  7. If you are going Manali and you have not visited Manikaran then i think your tour was incomplete. Its actually famous for the its hot springs. It is claimed, that even before 1905, these hot water springs, sprang with full force and there is no Sulfur in these springs.
    Totally recommended for all the manali lovers because the drive from Manali to manikaran makes it more memorable ( prefer bike ride for manikaran ).
    Please keep sharing such informative posts

  8. Thanks so much for all your Great posts. Thanks for sharing those pictures with us. You’re right, this is amazing…

  9. I have never been to Manikaran sahib but the way you detailed Parvati river, I felt in love with it. We had been to kullu Manali in 2022 and Parvati river is the most beautiful river I have seen in my life. Alhad to the core.. mighty and carefree… Keep writing


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