Manimahesh Lake and its Journey.

Manimahesh Lake is situated 21 km from Bharmour in Budhil valley, one of the major pilgrimage place in Himachal Pradesh. The lake is located below Kailash Peak (18,564 ft) at an altitude of 13,000 ft. Every year, on the eighth day of the light crescent half in the month of Bhadrapada, a fair is held at this lake, attracting hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, who gather to take a dip in the holy waters. Lord Shiva is the presiding deity of this fair/jatar. It is believed that he resides in Kailash. A rock formation in the form of a Shivling on Kailash is believed to be a manifestation of Lord Shiva. The snow field at the base of the mountain is called the Chaugan of Shiva by the locals. One story goes that once a gaddi tried to climb a mountain with a herd of sheep. He is believed to have turned to stone with his sheep. A series of smaller peaks below the major peak are believed to be the remains of the unfortunate shepherd and his flock. There is another legend according to which the snake also tried to climb this peak but failed and turned into stone. It is also believed that the peak of Kailash can be seen by the devotees only when the Lord is pleased. Bad weather, when the peak hides behind the clouds, is a sign of displeasure of God. In one corner of the Manimahesh Lake is a marble image of Shiva, worshiped by the pilgrims who visit the place. After bathing in the holy water, the pilgrims go three times around the circumference of the lake. There is a spectacular view of the lake and its surroundings. The reflection of the snow peaks in the calm waters of the lake appears as shadows. Manimahesh is visited by different routes. Pilgrims from Lahaul-Spiti come through Kugati Pass. Some of Kangra and Mandi come through Kawarsi or Jalsu pass. The easiest route is from Chamba and goes via Bharmour. Presently buses ply till Hadsar. There is an important permanent place between Hadsar and Manimahesh, known as Dhancho where pilgrims usually spend the night. There is a beautiful waterfall.

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