Though in most of the countries in India, many beautiful mountains where one can find, the home place of Lord Shiva but according to Hindu mythology, it is believed that undisputed Kailash Mountain is the main residence of Lord Shiva in our country. The Kailash Mansarovar is known as centre of universe in Indian History and it is physically naturally and economical out of reach for various tourist in India. Before Kailash Mansarovar one can find Kailash or small Kailash in Pithoragarh district India. Similarly there is another Kailash in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. These 2 Kailash are also considered as residence of Lord Shiva and are equally legendary or prestigious like those of big Kailash.
MANI MAHESH KAILASH
The Kailash Mountain which is surrounded by various tourist is famous by the name – Mani Mahesh Kailash. The name Mani Mahesh signifies a jewel (Mani) on Lord Shiva’s crown. The Divine place is situated in the Bharmaur Tribal valley an important pilgrimage centre of North India, in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. It is situated high on the height of 18564 feet from sea level. Here 1000’s of tourists come to visit the sanctified shrine of Lord Shiva. There is sacred Mani Mahesh Lake which is situated at the height of 13500 feet high from sea level. Mani Mahesh Lake is situated at the base of Mount Kailash. It is believed that this mountain retains heavenly powers and would remain unconquered. The Mani Mahesh Kailash peak besides the lake is believed to be the home of lord Shiva. A rock formation in the form of a Shivling on this mountain is reflected as the manifestation of lord Shiva. Mani Mahesh is figured as the heaven of lord Shiva. It is believed that Lord Shiva Created Mani Mahesh after he married to Goddess Parvati, who is worshiped as Mata Girja. It is also said that Mani Mahesh Kailash is unconquerable as no one so far scaled it.
MANI MAHESH TEMPLE
Mani Mahesh temple is the main temple which stands in Chaurasi temple complex. It is the temple of Lord Shiva. The statue of worship is a Shivling positioned inside the temple enclosed by a number of other god and goddess. This enormous temple with high beehive shikhara posture no sculptures on the outer surface is of middle Pratihara type. Nandi bull is, in front of the pedestal of Shiva in the temple.
MANI MAHESH YATRA
Mani Mahesh Yatra is trip to Mani Mahesh Lake. Every year Mani Mahesh yatra is held from Janamastmi to Radhashtami however people start visiting Mani Mahesh from May onwards. There is a belief that Mani Mahesh Yatra (Pilgrims procession) is considered alike to the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra and Amaranth Yatra. The Mani Mahesh Yatra starts from Lakshmi Narayan Temple in Chamba. Chamba (Himachal Pradesh) is a base point from where one accesses Mani Mahesh Lake which is second only to Lake Mansarovar in its significance. A dint in this lake is considered blessed because it is supposed that Parvati used to bath in this lake. Visitors can reach Bharmaur, 65 kilometres from Chamba through bus or taxi. Then from Bharmaur, the distance of 13 kilometres to reach Hadsar, can be covered by Transport bus or by taxi. The rest of the route is to be covered on foot, about 13 km of steep climb by the banks of Mani Mahesh Ganga, which instigates from the Mani Mahesh Kailash peak. The pilgrims walk along the rocky path completely bare footed, singing Bhajans and praying blissfully to Lord Shiva. The next terminus is Dhanchoo 11 K.M. from Hadsar, where tourists spend night. It can be spotted with an eye-catching water fall. Between Dhanchoo and Mani Mahesh Lake, there are minor places of pilgrimage known as Bandar Ghati, Gouri Kund, Shiv Kalotri, and Ganesh Ghati. Shiva Kalotri spring is said to have its source in Lord Shiva’s feet. Gouri Kund and Shiv Kalotri are two different dwellings, where according to legend, the Lord Shiv and his partner Parvati, bathed, respectively, on the Radhashtami day. Hiking to the way of the Mani Mahesh Lake is a delightful experience. One will fail to recall the pains of the tedious journey viewing the pleasing natural background and get drenched in the fascinating atmosphere. This brilliant route not only motivates the pilgrims but also, the adventure lovers and tourists. However, one should be physically fit to tolerate this journey in an altitude of 4080 meters. Local people privilege that the moon-rays replicated from the jewel can be seen from Mani Mahesh Lake on clear full-moon. It is more likely to be the light reflected from the glacier that embellishes the peak, like a serpent on Lord Shiva’s neck. It is prohibited to measure the tip of the peak due to mythological beliefs. It is believed that Lord Shiva’s habitat is forbidden for humans. One can easily identify the stoned figure of one shepherd, snake and crow who dared to measure the Peak. The holy peak is said to be unconquered. After spending night near the sacred Mani Mahesh Lake, pilgrims take the Holy dip, offer prayers to Mount Kailash and make flowery offerings at the image of Lord Shiva, everyday on one side of the lake. The ancient temple beside the Manimahesh Lake is the center of pilgrimage and is visited by thousands of devotees every year. The Manimahesh Festival during the Janmashthami attracts the maximum crowd.