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A visit to Manikaran Temple in Himachal Pradesh
There are plenty of tales about the Manikaran shrine. This shrine is situated at the height of 2650 meters or 7956 feet from the sea level, in Manikarn town that is in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.

Every visitor is amazed to get freezing water in the Parvati River on one hand and boiling hot water spring on the other side. Even an atheist is forced to bow his head to God for this divine phenomenon. The visit to Manikaran Temple gives an inclusive mental and spiritual fulfilment to every devotee. During winter, there is snowfall but the climate is very enjoyable during the summer.

More than a century back, these boiling water springs sprang with great force creating a fountain of 10 to 15 feet high. Sometimes precious stones of different colour also come out of these springs. The temperature of different springs varies from 65 to 80 degree Celsius. Even scientists have failed to find out the cause of this warm water source. Water does not contain any sulphur. Rice, dal, vegetables etc can be cooked in this water and the cooked items are more delicious to eat. Bathing in the 'Kunda' cures arthritics and other such ailments.

According to the tales in Brahma Legend, Aashutosh Bhagwan Shankar appeared with Parvati on his visit to this magical place. Mesmerized by the splendour of this place, Bhagwan Shankar and Mata Parvati, vowed to live and practice the meditation here for 11 thousand years. Once, a jewel of Mata Parvati lost in the other world when it fell down in the water while she was playing in the water. Bhagwan Shiva ordered his 'Gana' (angels) to find out the lost jewel (Mani) of Mata. When all failed to find out the lost mani, Bhagwan Shankar became furious and opened his third eye. Entire earth shook with all her creations.  All the gods were terrified.

Naina Bhagwati proclaimed it from the third eye of God Shankar, about the lost 'mani' of Parvati to Patadhipati and 'Sheshnaag', the god of all the jewels. Sheshnag blew a forceful breath, originating a hot water fountain at that place. Along with the lost 'mani' of Mata Parvati, there came out many jewels out of this new fountain. Parvati took her own jewel (mani) and turned the other jewels into stones with her curse. Fury of Bhagwan Shankar was calmed. This tale named the place as Manikaran. In legend, this shrine is described as 'half-woman area' (Ardh-Narishwar) due to the meditation dwelling of both Bhagwan Shankar and Mata Parvati. This pious place became so dear to Shankar Ji that he renamed this place as 'Kashi'.

Once, during the 'Mahabharat' era Bhagwan Shankar concealed as a 'Bhil', to test Arjuna and his 'Pashupatra' that was given to Arjuna by Indra, the King of Gods. He challenged Arjuna for a war. After the war, happy Bhagwan Shankar blessed him in this place. It is believed, that by eating the cooked food in hot springs and taking a bath in the 'Holy Kunda', makes one's life free of sins and disease. This holy place is the sources of many diving blessings. People gets 'Moksha' and achieve 'Nirvana' after a pilgrimage to this place.

Legends are found at a number of in Aadi Epic (ancient) in the Ramayana and many other epics that Bhagwan Shankar and Bhagwan Ram have been worshipping each other.  Manikaran was frequently visited by Bhagwan Ram to worship Bhagwan Shiva. Other than this, Bhagwan Ram visited a shrine of Guru Vashisht to seek Guru's blessings, near Manali.

There is another tale related to this shrine. King Jagat Singh ruled Kullu, in the 16th century. Once, a false complained was made against a poor Brahman of Tipri Village that is at a distance of nearly 2.5 km from Manikaran. It was alleged that poor Brahman had jewels in large quantity and those must be only in the possession of the king. During, one of his visits to Manikaran, he called and ordered the Brahman to hand over all the jewels to the king. However, the poor Brahman had no jewels. He tried his best to convince the king that he was very poor. Nevertheless, the king was fully poisoned against the Brahman.

The king warned the poor Brahman that he must hand over all the jewels, before his return from Manikaran after three days. On his return, the king asked the Brahman about the jewels. Terrified Brahman bolted himself inside his house, with his family and sat it on fire. He sacrificed his life to prove himself innocent but this filled the king with shame and repentance. The king at once suffered from leprosy for being responsible for the death of a poor and innocent Brahman. His food was filled with blood and insects. All the medicines failed and his condition started deteriorating rapidly.

When everything failed, the king went to a Mahatma, named Keshav Dass Phulari, a true devotee of 'Trikaal'. He asked the king to renounce all the worldly pleasures and install the original idol (Murti) of Lord Ram, brought from Ayodhya. The king followed all the instructions of the Mahatma and became a true devotee of Lord Rama. The king sacrificed his palace and body and spent 26 years of his life in this holy shrine.

The world famous Kullu Dussehra festival celebrations started from Manikaran, during the regime of King Jagat Singh. The God and Goddesses along with their devotees (ganas/bhakts) from all part of Kullu and Himachal region come to seek the blessings of Bhagwan Rama and go back blessed with a message to serve the humankind. The temple of Bhagwan Rama and Mata Bhagwati is a village at Manikaran is also visited by lakhs of devotees. Temple administration is still run by the staff of the king.

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