Manimahesh is located in the Bharmour region of Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh, India. The place holds its significance as a pilgrimage spot for Hindus. Manimahesh yatra and Manimahesh fair are conducted every year in this region. During Manimahesh yatra thousands of devotees throng the place every year. As the yatra is very difficult and exhausting, only staunch believers and nearby villagers(used to this kind of terrain) take up this trip. Occasionally, trekkers and chance travellers visit the place once and get enamored by the place so much that they keep coming back to this spiritual and beautiful place.
The place attributes its name 'ManiMahesh' to the mythological belief that there is Mani (a jewel) on Lord Shiva's crown and locals believe that the moon rays reflected from the Mani can be seen from ManiMahesh lake on clear full-moon nights. Infact, the light reflected from the glacier that adorns the peak really looks like a shiny jewel on the head of the mountain. There are many other interesting mythological stories popular among locals associated with this place.
The water of Manimahesh lake is believed to be holy, and pilgrims take a holy dip and pray to the reflection of the Kailash Peak in the lake. There is also a four-faced small marble 'Shivalingam' installed near the lake called CHAUMUKHA.
The yatra is held every year during the month of August/September. Yatra begins on the Sri Krishna Janmashtami day and ends on the Radha Ashtami day. Thousands of people visit the lake, on Radha asthami , the 15th day following the festival of Janmashtami every year. It is a colourful procession that starts from the Laxmi-Narayan temple in Chamba town and goes right upto the lake. It takes about sic days to reach the lake. pilgrims carry a sacred ‘ Chhari' (mace) on their shoulders. On reaching the lake, a night long ceremony is held and on the next day the devotees take a holy dip in the lake. After bathing in the holy waters the pilgrims go around the lake three times. There is a belief that before ManiMahesh yatra Bharmani Devi temple should be visited which is four kilometer away from Bharmour.
The pilgrimage is a tough one and is undertaken by staunch Shiva devotees and adventure trekkers.
The natural beauty of the lake is breathtaking. Beautiful surrounding mountains, clear reflection of lake and wafting clouds give you an impression of heaven on earth. Water of the lake is so cold that only the strong hearted can take a dip in the water. The whole trip is soul strirring. Everywhere you can hear loud chanting of 'bum bum bhole' and you can almost believe that lord Shiva is adoringly smiling at you.
Amongst the various winter carnivals held in Himachal Pradesh, Manimahesh fair is an important fair held in the month of August and attracts a lot of locals and tourists from across the country. The ManiMahesh fair has been declared a state level fair by the Himachal Government.
The place around is also a very good location for trekking.
A beautiful trek towards ManiMahesh lake
Just Before Gauri Kund