“I and one of my friends planned to do the Manimahesh Trek in the time of the famous sacred Manimahesh Yatra. We started from Pathankot. We preferred public transport because the distance was large and we had an idea of how tired we would be on the way back after the trek, so driving on our own was not an easy option. We boarded a bus from Pathankot at around 12 midnight. We reached Chamba in the morning at around 5 am. Then, we boarded another bus from Chamba for Bharmour and reached there at around 11am. It took us around 3 hours from Chamba to Bharmour. Then we decided to stay at Bharmour for the day.
It is believed by the local crowd that if one is going to Manimahesh Trek, one must do the Brahmani Devi trek first and take a spiritual bath in the water in the temperature of around -degree Celsius. It is said that one’s Yatra to Manimahesh stays incomplete if one does not take this spiritual bath. So, we first decided to visit Brahmani Devi and take the spiritual bath. It is a very beautiful trek covered by apple trees on both sides and surrounded by mesmerizing landscapes. The trek was quite easy. On the peak is the temple of Brahmani Devi . Before going to the temple, one has to take the spiritual bath. We reached the peak at around 7 pm. When we attempted a dip in the water body there, we realized it was not going to be easy. The water was chilling cold and cold winds were blowing. The water body was 4.5 feet deep. It took us around 15-20 minutes to take the bath and we were ready to go to the temple. We took ‘Prasad’ and started for Bharmour again. By the time we started our walk back, it was all dark around. We reached Bharmour in few hours and stayed at ‘Churasi’- the temple of 84 ‘Devtas’.
Next day, in the morning at 10 am, we started from Bharmour. We reached Hadsar at around 11am. We stopped there for breakfast. Hadsar is actually the place from where the Yatra begins. We went through the checking process there and then finally, we began our Yatra. Without taking a pause, we walked for around first 1.5 hours. The trek was quite steep right from the beginning. We stopped at a place after 1.5 hours to take a break. There was a beautiful river flowing nearby. So I decided to stop and take some shots there. After I was done with my captures, we started again. At a distance of about 3 km was Danccho. There is a beautiful waterfall at Danccho. Since I love photography, this place was a true treat for me. It is believed in Hindu mythology that when BhasmaSur was following Lord Shiva to attack him, Lord Shiva took shelter there. We stopped here and took a cup of tea. Immediately after having tea, we started again. Then we reached Sundrasi. On our way, we met many people who crossed us and some of them whom we crossed. All this while, my Camera was at work. The nature was simply at its best. By this time, it had started raining. So we stopped for a while and because of the rain, we had to take a pause of around 45 minutes. This is, basically, the point after which even on a sunny day one starts feeling cold, so, one must carry jackets or sweaters or warmers. Now next, we were supposed to cross a glacier. This path is totally covered with snow and you have to walk through it. We crossed it. The Sun was setting. The entire view was picturesque. All this while, I was trying to encapsulate whatever was around. Our next destination was Gauri Kund. If Hindu mythology is to be believed, only girls can go and take bath at Gauri Kund. We spent the night there in a tent. We brought a tent for Rs. 400/- . It is advisable to carry one’s own sleeping bags there because the weather is chilling cold there.
View of Bharmour from Brahmani Devi
Due to the weather, my friend preferred going and resting inside the tent where as I was more interested in spending time in nature and taking some shots. I came out of the tent and took some shots including first shots of the galaxy. This is the point from where you can actually see half of the view of Kailash. I took pictures from around 8pm to 9:30 pm. There are few shops here at this point but the price of the commodities is comparatively high. After taking few more shots, we had dinner and we preferred sleeping early due the weather being cold and the other reason being we had to get up early in the morning. We actually had to club 6 blankets together in order to beat the cold weather and even after that we were quite chilled. The good shot here is that Himachal Pradesh Govt. has made all the arrangements of toilets. It was completely comfortable staying here. Also, there is no problem of water even at this height, all because of the successful efforts of Himachal Pradesh Govt. The next morning we woke up at 7am, we freshened up and got ready to continue the trek. From here, we saw two ways going to different destinations one of which we came to know goes to Dal Lake and the other one goes to Kamal Kund. Here, at this point, it becomes little tough to breathe. One must take frequent rest periods after this point. The trek goes on to be steeper. This point is above 12,000 feet where we find more of wild vegetation and it is advisable not to touch the vegetation here. The good thing is that the medical help is quite frequent and effective during the Yatra. We, then, proceeded towards Kamal Kund. The way becomes steeper. The water there was quite less. It is believed that one must neither take bath there nor should speak any bad words here. Here, at this point, one feels like one is actually sitting in the feet of Lord Shiva. From here, one can easily see the Ariel view of Dal Lake. Between Dal Lake and Kamal Kund is a river. Two ways to reach Dal Lake from Kamal Kund is to cross the river and the other is to go back the same way back till Gauri Kund and then trek up 2.5 km more to Dal Lake. We came back to Gauri Kund and then walked towards Dal Lake. The sky was clear. We could see it clear. It is believed that blessed are the beings who can see the clear view of Kailash. All through this, we kept clicking lost of pictures. The trek from Gauri Kund to Dal Lake is again steep. Vegetation is very less. After walking for 2.5km, we reached Dal Lake 14,500 feet at around 2:30pm where we saw lots of shops by local people. We took a water bottle there. We, then, took the sacred bath there. It is the most essential part of the Yatra, from the spiritual point of view. It is important to note that during the time of the Yatra, Police Men and medical help is quite active here. Then we took round of the lake again and then started enveloping the beauty around with my Camera. We, suddenly, saw many people coming from one side from there. When asked, we came to know that they were coming walking all the way from Baijnath, Himachal Pradesh.
Milkyway as seen from Gauri Kund, Manimahesh
Glacier, Manimahesh Trek
Danccho, Manimahesh Trek
Well, then we stopped there. It was quite soothing here because there was sunlight and warmth around and it was a delight to stand in the sun after the cold bath. But, the evening was all rainy and foggy. The visibility was only 400metres. My friend had to leave after this because of a prior commitment. He left for home and I stayed back. I slept a little early and woke up at 2 am. At this point, the weather was clear and the surroundings were beautiful. I woke up and I realized that the weather was very cold and chilly again. But, I had decided to take pictures. So I freshened up and geared myself up myself. I started walking towards Kamal Kund again, but later due to the suspicion of Leopards and other wild animals, I decided to stop and wait. In the morning at around 5 am, I started for Kamal Kund. I took lots of pictures with starts, sky and the beauty around. At around 6:30, the sky was clear. I just turned back and looked at the sky and I was amazed to see a Mani in the sky. I was astonished to see it. I had heard people saying that it is the Mani which shines on the head of the SheshNag of Lord Shiva. I was spell bound and excited at the same time. This is why it is called MANI MAHESH. By this time, some people came up the same path who asked me the way to Kmala Kund. They belonged to Kashmir. I told them the way and they went. This place gifted me some really beautifu lpictures. Now, in order to save up on the time I went through the river, the shorter way. I put my best to save my shoes and clothes from getting wet but I simply could not. I reached Dal Lake and captured the first Sunrise. It was beautiful beyond words. It is rightly said, “Whatever man keeps making, God will always be the best creator.” When the Sun was finally completely out, I took bath. This spiritual bath is called ‘Chotta Nahaun.’ I took the spiritual dips and trust me, it fell amazing.
View from Kamal Kund
View of Dal Lake from Kamal Kund
Kailash Manimahesh & Dal Lake
As they say,
“Best of the feelings in the world cannot be put in words.”
After the bath, I decided to start my way back. Having no option, I had to wear wet socks and wet clothes. By this time, I was really hungry. I ate some food there and sat at a spot for a while because the warmth of the Sun there was really soothing. It is advisable to take food before one walks down. I even saw a person faint there because of weakness. I started my way back and by the time I reached Gauri Kund, I had taken lots of pictures. Walking from Gauri Kund, I realized that walking back was quite easy. It took less effort and was less tiresome. I took some shortcuts on my back. Then, I stopped after a while near the water fall, took rest and took some shots.When I reached Hadsar, I took a taxi for Bharmour and then I took a bus for Chamba.
This travel experience was the most pleasing I have ever had.”
Chamba District, Himachal Pradesh, India
1. Manimahesh Kailash has not been successfully summitted by mountaineers and is a virgin peak.
2. An attempt to climb the peak in 1968 by an Indo-Japanese team led by Nandini Patel was aborted. This failure is attributed to the divine prowess of the peak since it is revered as the holy mountain of Chamba according to the staunch devotees of the Manimahesh Lake and the peak.
3. It is believed that Lord Shiva created Manimahesh after he married Goddess Parvati who is worshipped as Mata Girja.
4. Devotees believe that that they can view the peak only if the Lord wishes so. Bad weather covering the peak with clouds is also explained as displeasure of the Lord.
5. The snow field at the base of the mountain is called by the local people as Shiva’s Chaugan (play field).
Where to Eat?
The trek, if done in the ‘Yatra’ season (from Janamashtmi to Radhashtmi), witnesses a lot of Lord Shiva followers putting up Langars for the people. One can easily eat there. But once the Yatra is over, it is advisable to carry food material with oneself.
How tough it is to trek?
The level of difficulty in the trek is Moderate. If one does it with normal speed, it takes around 7-8 hours to complete the trek. It is advisable to take a carry stick with oneself. And essentially, one must carry nutritional bars, energy drinks and water. Also, private helicopters are available to reach the top whose price goes in thousands.
The local crowd is hugely supportive and leaves no stone unturned in helping a traveller find the way.
At Manimahesh, for an Art/Photography Lover
Manimahesh is a paradise for Art and Photography lovers. Nature walks with you, step by step. Beautiful River flows from the glacier. An artist who loves live sketching will spend beautiful time there. Nature, here, is at its best and there is a huge scope for Landscape Photography.