Manikaran is one of the popular pilgrimage towns in Himachal Pradesh that is tucked along the shimmering banks of river Parvati. Located at a distance of 4 km from Kasol in the Kullu District, this glorious hill town stands tall amidst the mystifying wonders of nature and the sanctity of asceticism. Right from revered Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara, an ancient Shiva temple to the vivid backdrop of majestic mountains, shimmering rivers, therapeutic hot water springs and charming locales, this quaint hamlet offers a gamut of experiences that can easily fascinate every kind of traveller. Besides natural beauty, religious importance, serene environment and mesmerising neighbourhoods, Manikaran is also popular for riveting sagas which pique the curiosity of visitors and pilgrims alike. 

Here's detailed information about this that will compel you to visit this utterly beautiful and untouched paradise near Manali. Check out!

Best Time to Visit Manikaran

Tucked at an altitude of 1760 m above sea level, Manikaran enjoys winters and low temperatures all throughout the year. The summer season, starting from April and lasting till June-end is considered the best time to visit Manikaran as the climatic conditions are favourable for the tourists. People can layer themselves and enjoy all the tourist attractions of Manikaran during summertime. However, people who like chilling winters and snow can visit here any time of the year as it is reckoned as the perfect winter destination of Himachal Pradesh. 

History of Manikaran | Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara

The history of this pilgrimage town in Himachal Pradesh is a high point as it is shrouded by many fascinating legends both by Hindus and Sikhs. 

Manikaran is basically a derivation of two Hindu words - 'Mani', which means gem and ‘Karan' which means ears. There is an epistemological reference that relates its name to the time when Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati lived here. Once the Goddess lost her precious earring in the river and requested Lord Shiva to find it. He summoned Sheshnag for the task. While probing the entire river bed, the surface cracked at some points from where hot water began to ooze out. According to legends, Manikaran hot springs are the manifestation of this rage.

Going by Sikh legends, this divine land was discovered by the founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. It is said that Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited this land with his disciple Mardana and had asked him to set up the tradition of a community kitchen which is prevalent till date. Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara is recognised as a sacred shrine for Sikhs due to its special mention in the Twelfth Khalsa which was written by Giani Gian Sikh. Also, the langar here is cooked in the hot springs which in itself is a unique experience. 

Another popular legend suggests Manikaran was inhabited by Manu after the great flood destroyed the entire human race on earth. Irrespective of all claims, the fact of the matter is that Manikaran shall always remain one of the most intriguing places to discover in India. 

Best Places to Visit in Manikaran

Manikaran tourist places are a delightful discovery for all travellers who wish to experience something unique and awe-inspiring. Check out this ultimate list that might fuel your wanderlust as well!
 
1. Gurudwara Manikaran Sahib: Talking of famous tourist attractions of Manikaran, this majestic ivory shrine reserves its spot at the top and why not, there is so much to admire. Its simple architecture, amazing traditions, langar preparation and of course interesting story makes it a must visit. Manikaran Sahib history is also a major drawcard for tourists and pilgrims alike. 

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2. Lord Shiva Temple: This ancient temple is one of the top attractions of Manikaran as it magnetises a massive footfall. This is among the most revered Lord Shiva temples in India that personify his divinity. This imposing temple located on the Himalayan foothills is believed to be visited even by the demi-gods. Another remarkable feature of this temple which attracts tourists is its tilted structure. In 1905 when the entire region blew into smithereens due to a massive earthquake, this temple was the sole surviving building that remained unaffected by the wrath. 

Also Read. 12 Jyotirlingas In India - Lord Shiva Temples In India

3. Hot Springs: Maikaran is famous for hot water springs which possess therapeutic properties of sulphur, uranium and radioactive substances. People from all over India visit these hot springs for curing their prolonged diseases. The water of these hot springs is also used for preparing langar which is served in Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara. It is regarded as a religious site as there are mythological references that suggest these springs as highly revered in both Hindu and Sikh scriptures. 

4. Kulant Pith: It is one of the holiest piths in India and is regarded as Lord Shiva’s abode. Kulant Pith is a prominent tourist place in Manikaran that is known for life-altering experiences. Right from imposing vistas of majestic mountains, and the pristine ambience of the Parvati river to mythological folklores, Kulant Pith is going to pique your interest. Also, the dip and food cooked in its holy waters are believed to be transformative as suggested by sage Narada.

5. Harinder Mountain: The list of best Manikaran tourist places is incomplete without mentioning Harinder Mountain which is supposedly one of the most fascinating sites one can discover. The magnificent beauty of this mountain transports you to a different world due to its paradisical appeal. It also serves as a great vantage point for the stunning Parvati valley engulfed in the verdant plantations. 

Also Read. Top 17 Temples Of Himachal Pradesh

6. Lord Ramachandra Temple: Another Manikaran temple that is worth paying homage to is Lord Ramachandra Temple. According to folklore, the temple was erected here by Lord Rama while another story suggests that it was built by the king of Kullu, Raja Jagat Singh in the 17th century. In both stories, the common point is that the idols were transported directly from Lord Rama’s birthplace, Ayodhya. The temple is visited by a large number of devotees from surrounding regions, especially during Dussehra and Ram Navami. The temple is also known for its typical Himachali architecture. 

7. Parvati Valley: Axiomatically the most stunning and idyllic place to visit near Manikaran, Parvati Valley is where you can bask in the lap of nature. Besides offering panoramic vistas of majestic Himalayas, the valley also offers a jaw-dropping view of the gushing Parvati river. The verdant landscape of the valley remains shrouded under mystifying clouds which rejuvenates the senses and unwinds the cluttered mind. 

8. Malana: Located in close proximity to Chanderkhani Pass, Malana is an untouched piece of heaven that delights tourists with its virgin beauty and serene vibes. This remote town is inhabited by the local tribe who consider themselves to be the descendants of “Alexander The Great” and is known to be the oldest democracy in the world. This idyllic haven is also known for its distinct lifestyle and language. Hence visiting this tribal town with a local guide is always suggested to tourists for a safe excursion. 

Also Read. 10 Snowfall Places In Himachal Pradesh

9. Kasol: An idyllic hilltown located on the banks of river Parvati, Kasol is yet another unmissable tourist attraction of Manikaran that is popular for nature trails, scenic marvels, stunning landscapes and thrilling activities. This backpacker destination and a quick getaway in Himachal is where you can spend time close to nature and savour the panoramic views of the snow-covered Himalayas. 

10. Kheer Ganga: Perched at an altitude of 3050 m, Kheer Ganga is an undisturbed land where you can find the wonders of nature at their glorious best. This treasure trove of Himachal Pradesh is popular for trekking and nature walks. Right from grabbing jaw-dropping vistas of the lush green valley to crystal clear skies, the place has an undeniable charm which grabs the attention of all. You can also spend time with locals here as they are hospitable and offer you the best cultural experience.

Also Read. Top 10 Things To Do In Himachal Pradesh

How to Reach Manikaran

Manikaran is in close proximity to Manali which is why it is an easily accessible place. Take a look at some of the easiest options to get transported to this religious and sacred town without any hassle.

You can catch a flight to Kullu Manali at The distance between the airport and Manikaran Gurudwara is 34.8 kilometres. From there you could take a local bus from Bhuntar Bus Stop and you will reach Manikaran in approximately 80 minutes.

  • Nearest Major City. Manali
  • Nearest Airbase. Bhuntar Airport, KUU
  • Nearest Railhead. Pathankot 
  • Distance from Manali. 80.5 km via NH3

By Air. The best way to reach Manikaran by air is to book a flight for Bhuntar Airport which is the nearest domestic airport. The airport is located at a distance of 11 km from Kullu, 52 km from Manali and 35 km from Manikaran. 

There are limited flights available for this airbase hence considering Chandigarh Airport is also a good option as there are regular flights on this route. You can cover the onward journey to Manikaran by road either from Kullu or Chandigarh depending on your landing. Taxis and Buses are easily available from both the airports.

  • Distance from Bhuntar Airport. 34.8 km 
  • Distance from Chandigarh Airport. 292.9 km via NH205

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By Rail
The best way to reach Manikaran by railway is to book your tickets to Pathankot which lies in the neighbouring state, Punjab. You can take a state bus or hire a shared/private taxi to reach Manikaran from this railway station which is roughly an 8-hour drive. 

  • Distance from Pathankot. 280.0 km via NH154

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By Road. Reaching Manikaran by road gives you an opportunity to discover the scenic roads of Himachal Pradesh. The roads on this route are definitely serpentine but well maintained to make your road journey comfortable and truly memorable. It is well connected to the capital city, Delhi which makes it the best getaway. 

Local and state buses plight regularly on this route and you can also hire a private cab depending on your budget. 

  • Distance from Kasol. 5.2 km via Manikaran Rd
  • Distance from Naggar.  61 km
  • Distance from Kullu. 42 km
  • Distance from Manali. 80 km
  • Distance from Mandi. 109 km
  • Distance from Shimla. 233.6 km via NH205
  • Distance from Chandigarh. 292.9 km via NH205
  • Distance from Pathankot. 280 km
  • Distance from Delhi. 524.0 km via NH 44

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Frequently Asked Questions Related to Manikaran

Q 1. What is Manikaran famous for?
A 1.
The prime attractions of Manikaran are Gurudwara Manikaran Sahib, Hot Water Springs the ancient Shiva Temple and Kuthi Pith.

Q 2. What are the best places to visit in Manikaran with your family?
A 2.
Manikaran is the best place for family travellers as there are plenty of places to visit with family. You can pay a visit to Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara, Shiv Temple, Kasol, Parvati Valley and also Manali if you are holidaying in Manikaran. 

Q 3. What is the best time to visit Manikaran?
A 3.
The summer season, starting from April and lasting till June-end is considered the best time to visit Manikaran. 

Q 4. Does Manikaran have snow?
A 4.
Yes, you can find snow in Manikaran between December to February. 

Q 5. Why is Manikaran water so hot?
A 5.
The main reason behind the hot water in Manikaran is the deep fissures on the surface of the earth in the Parvati valley region. Due to the deep cracks, the water of the river comes in contact with hot rocks beneath the surface which produces geothermal energy and increases the temperature of the water. However, there are some legendary religious beliefs attached to this hot spring of Manikaran which are described in the history section.

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