Manimahesh Lake situated in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh Chamba District, is at an altitude of about 4100 m above sea level. Manimahesh is in the south-eastern corner of Chamba District near the Chamba-Kullu border.
The Kailash Parvat that stands high close to the lake is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva. This place is only second to the Lake Manasarovar in its religious significance. It is a great source of pilgrimage during Radha-ashtmi and Janam-ashtmi every year when pilgrims from far and wide assemble here. The water of the Mani Mahesh Lake is believed to be holy and pilgrims take a holy dip and pray to the reflection of the Kailash Peak on the Lake . There is also a four-faced Shiva lingam installed near the lake.
Just short of the lake is Gauri Kund where women take a holy dip before returning to home. The pilgrimage to Mani Mahesh is considered sacred like that of Amarnath, Badrinath and Rameshwarm.
Mount Kailash is considered as invincible. No one has so far been able to scale this peak despite the fact that much taller peaks, including Mount Everest have been conquered many times.
How to reach
Traditionally, pilgrims used to start from the Lakshminarayan Temple at Chamba (996m) and covered the 87-km route in seven stages, on foot. Now, most of the travellers take a bus or taxi ride up to Hadsar ( 12 Kilometers from Bharmaur). Travellers generally stay overnight at Bharmaur (65 km from Chamba) and take taxi up to Hadsar the next morning to start the trek. The rest of the 13 Kms path is to be covered on foot.
Hadser – Danchu (3120m)
Duration: 4 hours The trail is a steep and continuous climb up to Dancho, before proceeding to Manimahesh Lake.
Danchu – Manimahesh Lake (4100m)
Duration: 4 hours The trails continues to ascend steeply till you reach Manimahesh Lake.
Manimahesh Lake – Hadsar (2085m) and to Bharmaur by road Duration: 5 hours The descent from the lake to Hadsar over Danchu will be fast – about 4 hours. A jeep ride to Bharmaur from the road head at Hadsar will take another hour.
At the time of Manimahesh Yatra (August/ September, stretching over two weeks from Janamashtmi) many people do the entire stretch of 26 km in a single day.