There are a lot of scientific rationales that could respond to the inquisitiveness around hot water springs at Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh, India. It may be flowing out due to the heat through the Earth’s crust, some would argue about chemical imbalance and so on, but what most of us have taken fair comfort in, is our mythology. We Indians love to believe in mythology and why not so, many answers to our present day situations have been very well answered by our Gods ages ago. Team Escape Route got an opportunity to spend some time at this heavenly abode and didn’t care if all questions were not answered scientifically.
The Gurudwara Sahib at Manikaran is a seven floor structure right on the banks of Parvati river, that can host and feed upto 3000 – 4000 devotees on a daily basis absolutely free of cost. The whole structure came to life as it is said that the Sikh guru himself was the main architect of this abode.
The hot water boils here at a temperature of 94.4 degrees celsius and flows out in the same form at any given time of the year. All food and tea consumed at the gurudwara is prepared on the hot water spring at this place. Only four things are cooked on fire namely Roti (Indian bread), Tadka (mixing flavor in pulses), Kadhi (Indian curry) and Halwa Prasad (sweet). All langar food is cooked in the hot water springs and it takes around 25 minutes to two hours to cook potato, pulses, rice etc. Samosa (Baked pastry with a savory filling) and pooris (fried Indian bread) are cooked in half an hour by immersing the material in the boiling spring water.
The samosas are referred to as Siddus and a couple of siddus in the evening are powerful enough for anyone to skip dinner. The Siddus have existed since the Sikh guru himself savored the same at this very place cooked in the very same hot spring water. The hot water is pure and has been tested free of any chemical, acid etc. In fact, the water is so sweet that only half the quantity of required sugar is essential to cook tea.
The priest at the Gurudwara Sahib, Manikaran mentions that even if the cooked food is not taken out of the hot spring water on time and is left to stay for extra time or even overnight, it does not get spoiled. The hot caves at basement of the building are known to be a cure for pneumonia, cold and other ailments.
The Sikh guru is said to have visited the place in 1574 with his disciple Bhai Mardana who was hungry. The Sikh guru asked him to remove a stone and there emerged a spring of boiling water. It is believed that the food was cooked with the help of boiling water as it is done today and has been satiating the hunger of thousands of pilgrims since then.
This is also the same spot where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati meditated for over eleven hundred years giving rise to the phenomena of ArdhNarishwar (Half body of Lord Shiva and half body of Goddess Parvati). Once, Lord Shiva got furious on learning that the goddess had lost her precious stone (called Mani) in the water and it couldn’t be traced. Scared of the Lord’s ire, Sheshnag i.e. Serpent God hissed out boiling water and a lot of precious stones similar to the one lost by the goddess. Since then the place got its name as Manikaran and precious stones emerged from the spring till as late as five decades ago. This heavenly abode is also called “Harihar” i.e. collaboration of fire and water.
The destination was finally built in 1940 by a Sikh guru and paved the way for a route to this place allowing more devotees to visit the shrine. The food here is cooked sans garlic, onion etc. Consumption of meat, alcohol and tobacco is forbidden.
Important note by the authorities: Manikaran Gurudwara does not accept any material grants from visitors, neither does it ask for financial grants from anybody. The management very piously prepares and manages everything that is offered at the shrine.
Take a look at the video below where Team Escape Route takes you on a journey across Kasol, Tosh, Manikaran and Malana.