Manimahesh Yatra

Manimahesh Yatra is a pilgrimage to the sacred Manimahesh Lake in the Bharmaur Region of Chamba District in Himachal Pradesh. In 2014, Manimahesh Yatra begins on August 18, 2014 ends on September 3. The holy Kailash Peak – the abode of Lord Shiva – is reflected on the still waters of the oval-shaped Manimahesh Lake. A four-faced marble Shivling is worshipped here. The pilgrimage is undertaken annually on the Sri Krishna Janmashtami and ends on Radhashtami.

The Manimahesh Yatra consists of taking a dip in the Mani Mahesh Lake at an altitude of 13,500 feet, worshipping the Chaumukha (four-faced) Shivling and three parikramas of the lake.

The official yatra commences with the start of ‘Chhari’ from the Lakshaminarayan Temple in Chamba town.

Many devotees undertake the pilgrimage during July to September. Those devotees who prefer to avoid the crowd undertake the journey in May, June and October.

Manimahesh Yatra is usually a three-day affair. The easiest route to the sacred lake is from Chamba. There are buses from Chamba to Bharmaur and jeeps from Bharmaur to Hadsar. From Hadsar, the pilgrims have to trek 13 kilometers to Manimahesh. Dhanchho, around six kilometers from Hadsar, is chosen as a halting place during night.

On the way from Hadsar to Manimahesh, there are the twin ponds of Shiva Krotri and Gaurikund. Women take dip in Gaurikund and men in Shiva Krotri. It is believed that Parvati and Lord Shiva bathe in these ponds.

Also Bharmaur Valley has cluster of 84 temples known as Bharmaur Chourasi. The Manimahesh Temple is the main attraction. (Please note that this Manimahesh Temple is not near the Manimahesh Lake but it in Bharmaur.) The 84 temples in Bharmaur are dedicated to the popular deities in the Hindu Pantheon.
Image and map courtesy to Chamba district website